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Diversity of thought leads to improved recruitment

Ensuring your recruitment process is inclusive whilst still attracting talent that meets your organisation’s needs can be tricky. The job of the recruiter, HR manager or talent acquisition specialist to evidence fair processing seems increasingly challenging. One of the issues is potentially how diversity is viewed in recruitment: a box to tick instead of a massive opportunity to improve productivity and profitability. The answer is to switch the mindset to understand how diversity improves organisations.

Culture fit or unconscious bias?

Often key phrases are used in the workplace that initially seems valuable and correctly describe what an organisation is looking for. Culture fit is one example where a term was seen as positive and a key element of recruiting. Arguably some organisations used this term believing they were looking for someone who would enrich their workplace culture. The problem with the term is the unspoken narrative behind it. Any dialogue around this would mean organisations and businesses looked for someone who respected their values but there was also a danger that the selection process would consciously or unconsciously choose a candidate that looked like the panel. The saying people buy people is something that happens whether we realise it or not. Individuals involved in the recruitment process need to take a step back and imagine themselves as part of a body, an organisation and consider who would add to their workplace culture.

Questions that help with the diversity of thought

When we have a candidate in front of us, instead of wondering if they will fit in, we need to be asking different questions such as:

Do we have anyone within our organisation with this set of values or perspectives?

Is there anyone within our business that comes from this underrepresented group or who has this lived experience?

What is it about this candidate that is different to the people who already work here?

The recruitment process therefore completely flips the concept of culture fit and instead actively looks for individuals that bring difference and individuality. Culture add, not culture fit. So why do organisations need to do this, is it to simply be seen to morally do the right thing?

The business case for diversity

Giving individuals a level playing field regardless of ethnicity or gender, for example, is of course fair but there is a strong case for improving productivity and profitability by increasing the diversity of your team. There has been much research on the impact of increasing diversity in leadership teams with McKinsey releasing a series of reports that examined the business case for diversity. In Diversity Wins, McKinsey utilised data from over 1000 large companies and 15 countries. The report found overwhelming that the more diverse the company the more likely it was to outperform less diverse peers. And yet progress remains slow.

It’s understandable that whilst organisations want to increase diversity, they may be unsure how to put together job descriptions or specs that use inclusive language. Our experience, training and commitment to diversity and inclusion have equipped us with the skill set to challenge clients when we feel the wording or elements of the job spec would exclude certain individuals. We can help you cast a wider net and attract a diverse team that will drive your organisation forward.