How diverse are you?
How diverse are you?
What even is diversity? No doubt it’s a word you’ve heard a lot, and you probably have something of an understanding of what it means. But going beyond that, how do you put it into practice in your workplace?
Having a diverse workplace shows that you value each individual, and not only that, it adds value to your business, by having a range of views and ideas that people from different backgrounds can bring.
What does having a diverse workforce say about you and your business?
Candidates are drawn towards diverse businesses as it’s clear to see they don’t discriminate on the grounds of any particular category. It’s important to people to know they’ll be treated fairly, no matter their circumstances.
Let’s break it down a little so it’s easier to digest…
Age – more than just a number
It’d be easy to fall into the trap of recruiting people that are all fresh from university, or deciding you need a set amount of how many years of experience someone has. But what is that going to make your team look like, and does that give you the right amount of skills and experience that will benefit your business?
People are staying in work longer than they once did. The ‘Office of National Statistics’ reports that since records began in 1991, the number of people in work over the age of 65 or over has more than doubled, and as of June 2019 11.4% of the workforce is currently 65 or over.
Older people have been in the workforce longer, and as such their skills and experience will be wider and more varied than those of someone fresh from university. Think about how some of these skills could be put to use.
It will also often be the case that the older generation will have more out-of-work requirements, such as looking after family members. In these instances, the possibility of flexible working becomes more and more important.
What sort of background do your team have? Did everyone go to the same sort of school? What about university? Are you restricting potential team members by stating the necessity for a degree?
As with anything in life, having a wider field of vision, allows for more to be seen. That’s true of a more diverse workplace. Bringing together people from different environments, not only gives people the chance to grow where they otherwise might not have, it opens up the possibility for conversation that may not have been there before.
To make it possible for some people to work alongside you, you may need to consider how you’ll adapt the working environment. For people with disabilities this could be anything from making an office wheelchair accessible, to installing a hearing loop, to having screen reading software. Think about the adaptations you could make now to make your business ready. Remember, it is the law that employers must make a reasonable adjustment to account for an individual’s disability.
How do you attract a diverse workforce?
To make sure your recruitment is inclusive, there are some key questions you need to ask yourself. Let’s have a look…
Where are you advertising?
Are you using websites designed for recent graduates? What about more traditional methods of job searching, such as local newspapers and the job centre? Think about the different places people look for jobs.
What language are you using?
Are your job advertisements inclusive and not exclusive? Do they demand qualifications that could easily be exchanged with experience? Think about the audience you want to attract – do the words you’re using speak to them? As mentioned earlier, there is often an inherent gender bias in some job adverts.
Research has shown that women consistently underestimate their abilities and, when it comes to new opportunities, can focus more on what they cannot do than on what they can offer an employer. So, presented with a list of duties and responsibilities, and a list of essential criteria, which are studded with stereotypically masculine traits like ‘competitive’ and ‘ambitious’, women can be turned off. Consider this when writing your job advertisements.
Who do you want to attract?
Where are the gaps in your workforce? What voices do you want heard that you think you currently have missing? If you know the answer to this before you plan your recruitment activity, you’ll find it much easier for the rest to fall into place.
You may have heard the phrase: ‘Diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance.’ I think true inclusivity is getting to choose the music and dancing. So, is your business diverse? If not, what actions are you going to take to make sure your future recruitment is inclusive?
Chew on this:
What benefit do you think hiring someone long-term unemployed could have on your business?