‘All Applications Matter’

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Monday, June 22, 2020

Diversity and Inclusion in today’s HR landscape.

In light of the recent resurgence of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ campaign, I feel it’s topical to discuss how important Diversity and Inclusion are within the HR landscape. It certainly made me sit back and think about my accountability as a Recruiter, when ensuring that applicants are considered without prejudice or unfair bias.

When I am reviewing job applications, I usually scroll straight down to the ‘experience’ or ‘career history’ section of a CV (often before I have even noticed a candidate’s name, nationality, or ethnicity) as I’m keen to identify a skills/experience match as quickly as possible. However, there is the notion of ‘unconscious bias’ that relates to a prejudice or pre-judgement about certain social stereotypes which individuals can often form without willing, and outside of their primary consciousness. Whilst I cannot recall a time where I have been personally guilty, it’s something that businesses are more willing than ever to review.

I am noticing that more employers are implementing Unconscious Bias training with their HR and management teams in order to educate themselves on the subject, thus making stakeholders aware of their own potential unconscious bias. The introduction of this training for relevant employees is just one example of how companies are responding to improving their approach to diversity and encouraging a workplace culture that recognises the importance of diversity and a fair selection process when hiring. The theory being that if a hiring manager is aware that they have a bias before interviewing, then they will be more inclined to consider this during the assessment and make efforts to ensure that the process is fair.

In terms of the HR labour market, it is encouraging to see a significant increase in job vacancies centered purely around Diversity and Inclusion. This is not only a nod to realising we have more work to do when it comes to driving a more diverse workforce, but also a promising sign of the HR strategies of the future. A few years ago, you would rarely see positions titled simply ‘Diversity and Inclusion Lead’ or ‘Diversity and Inclusion Officer’ but I am noticing this becoming more commonplace in today’s job market.

When I’m speaking to employers from varying industry sectors to discuss new hires into their respective HR teams, it is evident that D&I is more frequently noted as paramount to their strategic vision. HR leaders often talk through significant project work they are delivering around improving their employer status for D&I and are striving to ensure that employees are treated fairly from initial application through to interview and on-boarding. When I’ve mentioned these projects to HR candidates who are looking to secure new positions, they noticeably ‘light up’. It’s clear to me that businesses who are proactively engaging with D&I as fundamental to their overall culture, are the same employers that will truly attract the most engagement from active (and passive) candidates on the job market.

A multi-generational, multi-racial, gender-balanced workforce enables businesses to capitalise on a range of soft and hard skills coming from all walks of life and educational backgrounds. The market certainly suggests that organisations who are able to foster a more supportive, diverse and inclusive workplace culture will, in turn, increase their ability to hire the best talent and boast the best levels of employee engagement, retention and bottom-line performance.

If you have any views on this or would like to talk to us about hiring specialist HR personnel into your company, please call us on 01295 262266 (Oxon) or 01926 332277 (Warks).