With this spotlight on diversity, there’s an opportunity for organisations to place some focus on their own Diversity and Inclusion strategies, think about what they need to be doing to attract more diverse talent and ensure they are doing all they can to integrate diversity into their business.
But there’s a long way to go...
BME individuals represent just 10% of the workforce and only 6% of management positions *1
Only 15 BAME people hold the position of Chair or CEO *2
The issue of Diversity and ensuring it is part of every business starts with tackling some deep routed feelings and behaviours of human beings.
Homophily – “the concept describing the tendency of individuals to associate and bond with similar others”
Unconscious Bias - prejudice in favour of or against one thing, person, or group compared with another,
So you see we all have and form behaviours and opinions that we don’t necessarily know we have and it’s these that we need to work on first in an organisation to start to attract and retain diverse talent.
Fear and lack of understanding; Tony Bates, Managing Director, Financial Services at IDEX works with a number of clients advising them on D&I recruitment, comments “I could ask 100 businesses if they are committed to improving their D&I strategy and all 100 would say yes, but probably only 10% of them are doing it well”. This is due to a lack of understanding of knowing where to start but also the fear of getting it wrong, saying the wrong thing or inadvertently referring to a minority group incorrectly.
How to attract more diverse talent – where to start?
A D&I Audit
This is critical before you begin to look at your talent acquisition practices. An audit will review how diverse you currently are, how inclusive the working environment is and will review your business externally and internally, from your website and social media to your staff communications. It's then important to set goals and targets to ensure the D&I strategy moves forward.
Talent acquisition practices
You’ll need to start by looking critically at your organisation’s entire acquisition practices in order to understand how improvements can made to the hiring process. There will always be innate bias throughout a business that will be giving some an unfair advantage and some an unjust disadvantage.
A good one can leave an applicant excited, a bad one can leave someone feeling underqualified and disinterested.
Avoid using gendered language – language typically associated with a male or female, for example, 'support' or 'collaborate' are traditionally feminine words.
Review the role’s core requirements, what are the absolute must have skills and qualifications for the role? Typically you won’t need to have the vast majority of the skills outlined in the job description. Studies *3 show that men will apply for a role if they meet 60% of the criteria, whereas women and minority groups will remove themselves from the process if they don’t meet 100% of the criteria.
The interview process
Make a diverse talent slate a priority, for example out of a final stage slate of 5 candidates, a commitment is made to having at least one female and one black individual.
We now accept that bias exists, so ensure that the interview panel and the wider business are trained on bias awareness, what not to ask and remaining objective.
Create a diverse interview panel, it’s important that an interviewee can picture themselves in the business. Minority groups may be turned off if they can’t see a reflection of themselves on the interview panel.
Standardise interview questions, our unconscious bias may mean we ask harder questions to, or be more critical of the answers of those we can’t identify with. Ensure each person on the interview panel has 1 or 2 questions to ask about core competencies to give every applicant an equal playing field.
A Commitment to Diversity & Inclusion
Making a commitment to improving your Diversity & Inclusion strategy is the first step on the road to attracting more diverse talent. But, do not underestimate the length of the road, it can never just be a tick box exercise and the whole business must be bought in to make real in roads.
As a business IDEX are committed to D&I and are investing in our own D&I recruitment strategy. Tony Bates, Managing Director, Financial Services at IDEX commented “It’s really important to us, but we understand how hard and complex it will be, however as a black man I have seen first-hand how valuable my input & experiences have been to the business at IDEX”.
Hewlett Packard Survey https://www.hpe.com/us/en/about/diversity.html
*2 The Sir John Parker Review of the Ethnic Diversity of UKBoards
*3 Hewlett Packard Internal Survey