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5 Strategies for Inclusive Recruitment in an Inclusive Workplace

Diversity, equity and inclusion is important at every level of a business, and at each stage of an employee’s working journey. A truly inclusive recruitment process is the key to increasing the diversity of your team. It’s an important step to improving diversity, inclusion, and equality across your company as a whole. 

A Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) statement of intent is a key step in ensuring your DEI strategy is anchored within the overall business strategy. Organisations that have worked through the processes below are ready to write their DEI statement of intent.

At the Clear Company, we aim to improve the understanding of inclusivity and diversity, and how to foster it in all areas of a business. In this article, we look at 5 ways that companies can promote diversity and engage in more inclusive practices by reviewing and improving their recruitment process. We also explore the many benefits that adopting inclusive hiring practices can bring to employees at every level of an organisation.

What is diversity, equity and inclusion?

Diversity refers to the demographic differences amongst a group of people. A more diverse group of people would include people from a wider variety of backgrounds. Meanwhile, inclusivity refers to how a diverse group of people is treated, and to what extent everyone is equally included, represented, and considered. Equity refers to recognising how our experiences differ and adjusting accordingly, rather than offering everyone the same support or resources regardless – what we would consider equality. 

What is inclusive recruitment?

In the case of recruitment, this means selecting a diverse range of candidates, but also going further and ensuring that all candidates are supported, and given equal opportunities, regardless of their background, identity, or circumstances. This is important from the first stage of recruitment to continuous HR support throughout employment and at the time of exiting a company. 

Why is the distinction between diversity and inclusion so important?

While diversity and inclusivity are closely linked, there are also examples of how they can function separately within organisations. For example, research conducted by the House of Commons shows that the gap between female and male employment rates in the UK is the lowest since records began in 1971. This shows that the UK workforce currently has the highest levels of  gender diversity on record.

However, in 2018, reports showed that CEOs of FTSE 100 companies were more likely to be called ‘Steve’ or ‘Dave’, than to be a woman. This shows that despite high gender diversity levels, workplaces continue to lack the inclusivity to nurture all talent equally. This example alone clearly demonstrates that businesses have work to do in order to tackle unconscious and conscious bias and prejudice within the workplace.

Doing this work to improve inclusivity is the only antidote to homogeneity amongst those in positions of leadership. But what does an inclusive workplace look like for your business? How can you achieve these goals? Here are 5 strategies that leaders can use to drive positive changes within their recruitment strategies, on the road to becoming a more inclusive workplace.


1. Create a DEI strategy that has support from influential people within your organisation

Creating a robust strategy that clarifies your aims and objectives is the first step when you want to achieve anything in business. Creating an inclusive workplace requires the same structured approach. Without a clear strategy in place for all levels of the business, there will be no methods for measuring success, or to tell if progress has been made. 

This is where DEI strategies come in. They provide a holistic approach to improving a business’ diversity and inclusivity, and in doing so, set companies up to succeed. PwC’s Global Diversity and Inclusion Survey shows that many core industries are now creating a dedicated ‘C-Suite’ position for DEI, including leading pharmaceutical, healthcare, technology, and retail and consumer goods companies. Ensuring that there is a corporate role overseeing diversity and inclusion within your organisation ensures alignment between the DEI strategy and the overarching corporate strategy, and that DEI is a priority amongst business leaders.

By following in these footsteps, your business can keep ahead of the curve and build a reputation as an DEI leader within your industry. Benefits include attracting top talent in the field, and increasing job satisfaction and retention statistics.

For more insights into how DEI strategies can create a work culture of high performance and high satisfaction, read our article on D&I Strategies That Work.

2. Don’t just rely on targeted recruitment

Truly diverse and inclusive recruitment and employment is more than just a numbers game. The downfall of many businesses is implementing a strategy that prioritises measurable numbers. Targeted recruitment is one way to hire diversely in the short term. However, as a standalone approach it cuts corners, and fails to tackle the underlying problems. If there’s been a lack of diversity at a business for a long time, then it’s essential to tackle the underlying causes of prejudice and poor work culture. 

Simply hiring a more diverse range of people cannot fix these underlying issues. In fact, failure to address the lack of inclusivity in a company before hiring diversely, can simply exacerbate the issue, and lead to difficulty retaining new hires.

Focussing on making a workplace more inclusive also serves as a driver of diversity – because true inclusion means less bias. Therefore, diversity naturally follows.

Read more about inclusive recruitment methods with Clear Company Guides such as the Language and Tone Checklist or the How to Write an Inclusive Job Description Guide.5

3. Make Organisational Structures Inclusive

Meanwhile, a flat, holacratic or collective organisational structure is often more inclusive from the get go, due to the flatter structure when it comes to core decision-making processes. Additionally, non-hierarchical structures tend to be smaller businesses, where it’s often easier to implement diverse and inclusive recruitment practices. However, this style of organisational structure is not without its problems. Informal hierarchies can experience issues such as ‘cliques’ which also threaten inclusivity. Therefore, a clear DEI policy is just as important here, as with a hierarchical organisational structure. 

Transitioning business structure can be difficult. whether your organisation follows a hierarchical or flat structure, TCC can support with challenges specific to your business and support with getting the processes in place for more inclusive practices. With Clear Audit  and our Inclusive Coaching offerings, our team can help you identify which structure will benefit you the most, review your recruitment process, and improve DEI at your company across the board.

4. Start with inclusive leadership

Inclusive leadership is essential for creating a diverse and inclusive workplace. For a DEI strategy to be successful, it’s essential for all leaders to embody the values the strategy is built on, so that they can be authentic role models in promoting it. This means a genuine belief in the actions and processes, as opposed to a tick-box approach to solving any diversity or inclusion-related matters.

The early stages of research into leader-member exchange show that there is a clear relationship between line managers and employees in relation to inclusion. It highlights the key part that management plays in advocating and maintaining an inclusive workplace. Without management and leaders who are aligned with your DEI policy, employees will not feel the benefit of a DEI strategy. So, training in diversity and inclusivity is imperative for all leaders.

That’s why inclusive leadership coaching is a key part of the Clear Company’s offerings. We offer guided training in group and one-to-one sessions. Contact us today for a demo, and more information. Or,try some of our digital inclusive talent management guides

5. Track your progress

Measuring your progress is another essential part to successfully implementing an DEI strategy in the long term. Without proper tracking, it’s impossible to measure progress and the effectiveness of the strategy you have in place. Equally, if you don’t check in on the performance of different implementations, then key actions may fizzle out, causing progress to slow.

One way to keep inclusivity at the forefront is to regularly speak to employees and see how inclusive they feel the company is. Ask employees to share their own experiences of inclusivity in the business, as well as their perception of the business practices. Providing anonymity can help to create a safe space for sharing answers to difficult questions. Find out more about how we help companies do this with our Inclusion Maturity Index, here. It’s important that leaders don’t shy away from these subjects, and take on feedback, even when critical.

When using this method, it’s essential to consider that if your current employee base is relatively homogenous, then their experiences of the company’s inclusivity may not be indicative of the whole truth. Working with the Clear Company can help you to better understand any biases that may exist within your organisation, as well as in offering guidance on how to track diversity and inclusion in the long term. Read more about our Clear Audit process to get started. 

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