September 2, 2022

Understanding and improving diversity and inclusion in recruitment

Employing people from varied backgrounds can make your business more innovative, expand perspectives, increase productivity, sharpen customer focus and improve decision-making – giving your brand a competitive edge and making your workplace attractive to your target talent pool.

85% of employers say that increasing diversity in their workforce is a priority

With so many benefits, it comes as no surprise that companies across the world, in every sector, are looking for ways to create a more diverse and inclusive workplace. 85% of employers say that increasing diversity in their workforce is a priority, with 73% adding that they think it would give their business a creative boost.

Yet, almost half of employers don’t have a programmes in place to attract diverse candidates. As a recruitment agency in Basingstoke, the conversations we have with clients and candidates often illustrate just what a complex concept diversity and inclusion (D&I) can be.

Despite good intentions, a lack of clarity around the topic can seem to stall tangible action. If you’re asking how to be an inclusive employer and recruit with D&I in mind, let us break down some of the basics and offer up a few suggestions for practical steps you can take…

What D&I is (and what it isn’t)

D&I in the workplace involves employing a diverse team of people, reflective of the society in which your business exists and operates. It doesn’t just mean hiring workers from different races, religions, gender or age groups – it also includes interviewing and recruiting those with different skills, experiences, lifestyles and viewpoints.

To get the best out of a diverse workforce, inclusion must go hand in hand. The Chartered Institute of Personal Development explains inclusion in practice:

“Workplace inclusion is when people feel valued and accepted in their team and in the wider organisation, without having to conform.

“Inclusive organisations support employees, regardless of their background or circumstance, to thrive at work. To do this, they need to have practices and processes in place to break down barriers to inclusion, and, importantly, they need to value difference.

“To become more inclusive, organisations need to understand the state of play in their business, celebrate positive practices, and take action where issues are raised.”

Steps you can take to become a more diverse and inclusive employer

45% of employers believe their current recruitment tools are ineffective at helping diverse candidates find their company.

Vincent Gurney is a construction/engineering recruitment agency, and we work with many hiring managers who are keen to help introduce staff with various backgrounds and unique skills into their workforce.

Our agency processes are diverse and inclusive but real change has to come from within the companies we work with too, starting with a clear and collaborative recruitment strategy with a strong focus on D&I.

10 tips for integrating diversity and inclusion into recruitment:

  • Assign a department responsible for championing D&I

  • Run surveys, focus groups and/or employee feedback sessions to get a range of views on practices, policies and organisational norms

  • Create a collaborative D&I strategy based on feedback gathered from staff across the business, at all levels of seniority, as well as using existing workforce data analysis

  • Improve job advert inclusivity – get an external, neutral opinion on the language used e.g. to avoid gendered language and alienating jargon

  • Build your employer profile across a broader range of channelsover a third of employers use of university job fairs to attract talent, but only a fifth promote themselves at job fairs for non-university graduates – so they could be missing some demographics

  • Reach further with social media networks to appeal to a more diverse range of jobseekers

  • Organise anti-bias training for all managers

  • Get a range of stakeholders to assess CVs and consider removing some personal information from them to limit the interference of unconscious bias in candidate selection

  • Encourage an unbiased, inclusive and equal interview process by asking every candidate the same questions in a comfortable atmosphere

  • Consider partnering with D&I non-profits or other organisations which focus on improving diversity in workplaces

Practising what we preach

Vincent Gurney is here to help your business discover the benefits of diversity, by finding you a great mix of candidates for inclusive jobs within your company.

We also run our own business with a commitment to D&I. Historically, construction and engineering recruitment has a reputation for being a predominantly cisgender, heterosexual male work environment. Our company culture transcends those outdated stereotypes, both in terms of who works here and how we work.

Kate Finchett, Business Administrator at Vincent Gurney, comments on this:

“I never feel aware of my gender because diversity and inclusivity aren’t just buzzwords here. Proving their dedication to creating an inclusive workplace, Tom and Johnie provide scope to work flexibly from home when I need to because I have a young daughter. My job here at Vincent Gurney allows me to progress professionally without sacrificing work/life balance.”

Find out more about Kate’s story

A happy and healthy team of recruitment specialists means an even better service for our candidates and clients. Who benefits from a diverse workplace? Everybody. Why does inclusivity matter? It helps you get the best out of people – so your business succeeds.

Say goodbye to stereotypes and start thriving. If your business needs help with diverse and inclusive recruitment or if you would like to learn more about joining the Vincent Gurney team, contact us today.