Inclusion | Hiring diversely - a recipe for success

Hiring diversely - a recipe for success
Promoted by Hiring diversely - a recipe for success

While diversity has been important for hiring managers and decision makers for years, recent developments, such as the compulsory gender pay gap reporting and the #MeToo movement, have pushed it right to the top of the HR agenda.

The statistics, like the fact that 78% of the companies that reported their pay gap pay men more than women, are demonstrative of just how far we’ve got to go.

Innovative businesses have already recognised that efforts to increase diversity go beyond reaching a quota; it’s about re-designing the hiring process and then the company culture to ensure it’s as inclusive as possible. This will in turn increase employee engagement, assisting in attraction and retention. So how can you ensure you’re giving yourself the best chance of hiring diversely?

1. Look at your language

There’s been comprehensive research around the way men and women use everyday language – generally, females use more social and emotional vocabulary, while men adopt more ‘standout’ words, such as ‘outstanding’ and ‘unique’.1 This also extends to job advertisements, where biased language and phrasing can turn off the best talent. For example, when advertising for a PA, phrases like ‘someone who is going to look after me’ appears very nurturing and biased towards females, whereas focusing on organisation skills and attention to detail is more gender-neutral.

However, sometimes it’s not as obvious – AI platform Textio found that the word ‘exhaustive’ attracts more men; ‘loves learning’ is more appealing to women and ‘synergy’ turns people of colour off. Therefore, when writing your job advertisements, it’s essential that you consider what message – unconsciously or not – you’re communicating.

2. Reset the lowest barrier to entry

A study conducted by Hewlett Packard revealed that most women won’t apply for a role unless they meet 100% of the criteria. In contrast, men will apply for a role if they think they meet 60% of requirements.2 Therefore, instead of writing a job advertisement that describes a unicorn, start with the bare basics, dropping the requirements to the lowest barrier of entry. This means differentiating between what requirements are ‘essential’ and what is ‘desired’.

3. Revamp your visuals

Your careers page is often the first port of call for potential employees trying to find out about your company. Therefore, it should reflect the diverse workforce you either already have, or are looking to attract. Your content should reflect all employees, as well as emphasise the inclusive benefits that would make your company more appealing, such as healthcare, emergency childcare, flexible working and career progression opportunities.

4. Work with your recruiter

If you opt to use a recruiter in the hiring process, don’t be afraid to ask them to sign a diversity charter, which states that they will present a wide range of CVs. Make sure your brief focuses on the specific skills you need, rather than any particular personality traits, as well as the people that your new hire will be working with.

5. Train your staff

A recent study by Chartered Management Institute found that 61% of managers had never received diversity and inclusion (D&I) training or hadn’t had any training in the last 12 months.3 The survey also found that just 52% of junior managers were uncomfortable with addressing discriminatory language. There are a number of diversity consultancies across the UK that offer training on unconscious bias, workplace discrimination, fair appraisals and career development.

6. Examine your benefits

Salary packages are now going beyond base salaries to include comprehensive benefits strategies, offering yet another way to attract diverse talent. Consider how your offering could appeal to a range of audiences – for example, could you offer childcare vouchers, emergency childcare or flexible working for return-to-work mums? For something completely holistic, consider introducing a flexible benefits scheme that allows employees to pick and choose their benefits.

7. Re-design bonus processes

The biggest gaps in pay aren’t usually in the base – they’re in the bonus. The subjective nature of this decision allows unconscious bias to creep in and a discrepancy to appear.

Consider re-designing your bonus processes to prevent this happening. For example, rather than focusing on personal performance, could a transparent company-wide scheme work for your business, where everyone receives the same bonus? Alternatively, have an independent party assess the decisions before they are finalised, ensuring bonuses are based on performance alone.

Find out more from diversity experts in Tiger’s e-book An Exceptional Working Life: Creating Better Workplaces. Pre-order your copy here.

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