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How far are we willing to look to source up-and-coming talent?

With the talent drought worsening across sectors, businesses urgently need to widen their nets to find new talent pools. One of the best ways to do this is by hiring more diverse candidates – something most business leaders actively strive to achieve.

Countless studies show organisations that give more attention to diversity and inclusion (D&I) – also known as diversity, equality, and inclusion (DEI) – are able to boost employee engagement, innovation, and profitability.

Many organisations think they want someone different, but the word “fit” often becomes intangible. For years businesses have hired based on competencies and cultural fit; often, interviewers envision working alongside or socialising with the individual. But in practice, unconscious biases can contradict some aspects of diversity and inclusion.

Even with this potential hurdle, why are so many roles still sitting unfilled – and many potential employees facing unemployment or stagnating in their careers?

Three roadblocks to diversity

1. Many companies that are genuinely committed to diversity are struggling to find and attract candidates of different cultural and religious backgrounds, genders, or sexual orientations, let alone disabled or socioeconomically disadvantaged candidates.

2. Automated recruitment software is only as good as the datasets they are trained on. If it is looking for candidates similar to previous successful hires, it may inadvertently reproduce bias, cutting out diverse applicants before hiring managers even consider them.

3. Efforts to hire diverse candidates are often focused on senior-level roles rather than on shaping the workforce at the point of entry–meaning there will continue to be a shortage of applicants for more qualified roles.

To create meaningful change, business leaders need to treat diversity, equality and inclusion (DEI) as a business imperative and not necessarily as a human resources issue. That means creating a systemic change for some businesses.

How to potentially build a more diverse workforce

  • Adjust how you screen and search for candidates. If the majority of employees are from one demographic, increasing diversity through a referral-based hiring program becomes more complex and culturally skewed.
  • Look for non-traditional talent sources like non-profit training providers to recruit more people from a broader demographic.
  • Open roles to talented candidates from less privileged backgrounds, prioritise skills over academic qualifications–and focus on a few important skills/competencies rather than making a long list.
  • Embrace the philosophy of “culture add” instead of “culture fit”. This is a philosophy of acceptance and is when businesses actively embrace employees from all backgrounds and demographics.
  • Conduct pay equity reviews and be transparent with salary increases.
  • Check all your job descriptions, job postings, and web copy for biased or gendered language.
  • Try making hiring decisions via a diverse group, not a single decision-maker.
  • Establish mentorship programs to grow diversity. Weave inclusion into the fundamentals of your recruitment processes, from recruitment fairs to internship programs
  • Take advantage of government funding where it is available. For example, to attract more women into engineering, the government has dedicated a £30 million fund to support women returning to engineering training after a career gap.
  • Blindly review candidate curricula vitae.
  • Celebrate all religions and cultures.
  • Consider more flexible work hours.
  • Recognise and celebrate differences.
  • Make sure employee benefits and training programs are inclusive.
  • Measuring D&I efforts and communicating the goals.
  • Review the parental leave policy.
  • Provide Learning & Development workshops for employees to refine skills like communication and empathy.

When considering employment, many job seekers deem workplace diversity as an important factor in their decision process, especially for Millennials, who are starting to make up most of the workforce. According to a Deloitte survey, 75% of millennials believe an organisation is more innovative when it fosters a culture of diversity and inclusion and are thus more likely to leave if the company does not meet its diversity standards.

Achieving meaningful change may mean changing your culture, not just meeting a hiring metric. Ask yourself what it would take to build a truly fair and equitable company. Do not assume your diverse hires will all hit the ground running. Find out what kind of skills training, peer support, and coaching they need to succeed.

Achieving DEI (Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion) goals will take more than good intentions and more than a few weeks or even a year. Do not give up if your efforts do not bear fruit straight away. DEI cannot be just about metrics anymore; it’s about changing millions of people’s futures, not just because it will boost the profit line, but because it is the right thing to do. Make Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion a strategic business priority, and get all levels of your workforce on board to make it happen.

Redline Group’s mission is to enable high-technology companies to build world-class teams through knowledge-led recruitment. With over four decades of experience, Redline is perfectly positioned to offer advice about future-proofing your permanent, contract, or interim needs.

For more information regarding how we can help, please contact us on 01582 450054 or Info@RedlineGroup.Com To see or latest jobs, register your details, and create job alerts.


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