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Recruitment professionals have a major role to play in helping companies improve the diversity of their talent pool
Too often, diversity is used as a buzzword to boost a business’s image or for PR purposes. Aside from the moral reasons for creating a workforce that attracts and includes the broadest range of people possible, diversity is a key driver for success.
If a company is unwittingly off-putting to candidates of different genders, ethnicities, sexualities or backgrounds, or is failing to provide the working conditions required by single parents, those with disabilities or workers of a certain age, it is greatly limiting its talent pool, and the different perspectives and ideas these candidates could bring to the table.
Achieving meaningful diversity within a company begins at the recruitment stage. Where and how potential employees initially interact with a company plays a huge part in their decision to accept or turn away from a job offer. So, how can recruitment professionals ensure their strategy will let their client reap the benefits of a diverse employee base?
Diversity and inclusion training are vital for getting it right. Recruitment professionals can encourage their clients to enlist external professional support to explore areas where they and their employees could be doing better to build a more diverse workforce. Coaching programmes that educate management and employees in how to cultivate diversity within the business can challenge any prejudices or misconceptions that need to be tackled. And, through diversity training, recruiters may find ways they, too, can play their part.
For example, there’s now technology that recruiters can use to analyse the language and content of job adverts, and detect any unconscious bias, or phrases that may be off-putting to a certain demographic. One example is Textio, which offers a ‘bias meter’ feature that highlights where language could be more gender neutral.
Recruiters may also consider building relationships with certain organisations and institutions to reach demographics of people they may be failing to appeal to. By approaching relevant networks and groups, the recruitment process becomes a proactive commitment to improving inclusivity, rather than leaving it to chance.
As well as training, flexible working culture is a key part of improving company diversity. Talented employees who would otherwise turn away from a career opportunity – because they have childcare needs, disabilities or other physical requirements – feel more able to apply for a position if they know they will be able to overcome the barriers that come with commuting to work in a fixed office from 9 to 6, five days a week.
Having the option to work flexible hours, job share, work remotely or work reduced hours is invaluable not just to candidates from the above demographics, but for the global workforce in general. According to the 2019 Global Workspace Survey from IWG – Regus’s parent company – 81% of respondents said that a flexible workspace policy lets them employ a diverse range of people and boosts diversity across the business.
If, from the off, recruiters demonstrate an understanding of candidates’ needs and their clients’ commitment to fulfilling them through a flexible workplace policy, this can go a long way in instantly attracting the right people for the job.
All in all, it takes time, care and commitment to developing a recruitment process that leads to a more diverse workforce. By identifying areas to improve, taking action and finding ways to demonstrate a flexible, inclusive company culture to candidates from the first meeting, recruiters will soon see the results.
Why not demonstrate your client’s commitment to flexible working by interviewing candidates at a Regus interview room? Find out more here