Three simple tips to kick-start diversity and inclusion in your organisation

Despite an increasing number of organisations having diversity and inclusion strategies and training in place nowadays, not all companies are as active as they could be in their commitment to workplace diversity.

The 2018 Top 50+50 survey found that 96% of firms have a diversity or equality policy, yet when it came to employing a dedicated diversity director, only 28% of firms have one. Even for companies with a policy in place, with the challenges 2020 has thrown at organisations, it is understandable that diversity and inclusion may be on hold.

How diversity & inclusion impacts employer brand

In a talent market that’s reeling from the effects of a global pandemic, and with calls for increasing diversity, employer reputation is more important than before in attracting quality candidates. Today, candidates have company information at their fingertips, from salary and benefits, to diversity and inclusion initiatives, meaning that strong employer brand-embracing diversity and inclusion is vital.

By 2025, 75% of the global workforce will be made up of millennials who will occupy the majority of leadership roles over the coming decades. They will be responsible for making decisions that affect workplace cultures and people’s lives. This group has a unique perspective on diversity. While older generations may view diversity through the lenses of race, demographics, equality and representation, millennials tend to see diversity as a meeting of varying experiences, different backgrounds and individual perspectives. They are more likely to view the ideal workplace as a supportive environment that gives space to varying perspectives on a given issue.

Three simple diversity and inclusion tips

From candidate attraction and job posts to onboarding, here are three simple tips to consider, even if you aren’t recruiting right now.

1.Showcase a diverse workforce on your website careers pages.

Reports highlight that BAME students are more likely to drop out of university as they don’t feel they belong and it can be similar in the work environment. Creating a sense of belonging and ‘people like me’ as an inclusivity culture can be helpful. Case studies of senior management or recent graduates from diverse backgrounds can help achieve this.

2. Ensure the language in your job adverts is gender-neutral.

A recent LinkedIn Gender Insights Report, showed behavioural data indicates that women apply to 20% fewer jobs than men.  Getting the language and content right is an art–shaped by science. Research shows that stereotypically masculine words can keep women from applying for jobs. Nouns like ‘ninja’ may divert some women, just as adjectives like assertive, decisive, analytical, and independent can.

3. Support LGBT employees - small actions make a difference.

As part of the onboarding process, outline the support for LGBT staff that’s on offer, and ask new starters their preferred gender pronouns – as well as putting people at ease, it’s a sign that your company is an inclusive workplace. Check your benefits; are they appropriate for LGBT employees and families? For example, does your health insurer cover same-sex couples? If not, switch suppliers.

Leading the way

 The Big Four have been leading the way in promoting diversity and tackling under representation head-on, but firms – small and large – are also taking steps to improve inclusivity.  Here are some examples of successful initiatives from professional bodies to finance and IT companies:

The Institute of Chartered Accountants In England and Wales (ICAEW) making adjustments during exams

In response to 1100 requests for exam access arrangements, the professional body made adjustments ranging from a scribe to a sign-language interpreter, to support students in exams.

EY supporting neurodiverse employees

According to EY, some employees with dyslexia, dyspraxia and Asperger’s are among the top 2% in the country for certain skills. EY has networks for those with autism and dyslexia, and for mental health, wellbeing and mobility, all under the ‘Ability EY’ umbrella. These networks provide efforts to identify strengths of those with neurological conditions. ‘Ability EY’ aims to draw out these skills – whether it’s someone with attention to detail who might be suited to their assurance business, or technical capabilities for the IT department, it helps to give workers the support they need to thrive.

Auticon, Microsoft, SAP and IBM employing workers with autism.

Auticon, an IT and compliance business, employs over 100 IT consultants on the autistic spectrum in the UK, Germany and France, and is the first social enterprise to scale this model across Europe. More companies – including Microsoft, SAP and IBM – now seek to recruit autistic people. A strong interest in detail, which can be a barrier to their social interactions, can be beneficial in certain tasks, from checking computer code to monitoring accounts and expenses.

Mastercard supporting female workers

Mastercard was one of the first signatories of HM Treasury’s ‘Women in Finance Charter’. As of October 2017, Mastercard UK met its targets, due to be achieved by 2020. Currently women make up over 40% women in their UK management team.

Aviva supporting older workers

In 2019, Aviva won a ‘trailblazer award’ in The Diversity in Finance Awards. Judges commented on the success of its diversity and inclusion initiatives – from older workers, encouraging age diversity, professional returners and for initiating equal parental leave, setting the bar for the insurance sector.

Lloyds Banking Group achieving ethnic diversity

Lloyds Banking Group was the first FTSE 100 firm to set an ethnic diversity target of 8% of its top 7000 staff to identify as BAME by 2020. Joining them, the FCA also set ethnicity targets of 13% senior roles to identify as BAME by 2025.

Our experienced recruitment team at Meraki Talent works with organisations to help secure a skilled and diverse candidate pool. Our consultants are trained in diversity, and use inclusive language within advertising of roles. The team recruits from a range of sources to target skilled candidates from different backgrounds, while understanding the challenges that companies face today. This helps ensure organisations achieve an inclusive and diverse workforce.

To find out more about Meraki Talent, call us on +44 (0) 131 297 2700 or email hello@merakitalent.com