Employers have long known the benefits of a diverse and inclusive workspace – when applied correctly, engagement, productivity and culture can all benefit from inclusivity.
Equity, diversity, and Inclusion (ED&I) is a key issue for employers and employees alike as evidenced by the widespread support for ED&I campaigns and the frequency of conversation about ED&I related issues. The adverse impacts of not having a diverse workforce are widely understood. Well over half of respondents (63%) to our Hays Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Report for 2021 stated that a lack of diverse talent has either a minor or significant negative impact on their organisation.
Despite this, our report found that although nearly three-quarters (62%) of professionals say their employer actively talks about the importance of ED&I, only 48% of organisations are taking action.
Similarly, less than half (46%) of professionals believe there are sufficient efforts across their organisation to recruit diverse talent. What’s even more concerning is that over half (51%) of professionals don’t believe people from all backgrounds will ever have equal opportunity to succeed within their organisation.
It’s clear that despite good intentions, action isn’t being taken to create substantial change. Not taking positive action to progress your ED&I commitments damages talent attraction and retention – with competition for talent so high, these are two areas organisations can’t afford to be weak.
How can employers step forward and take action?
With over half (56%) of professionals saying they will only consider applying to an organisation that has a public commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion – there’s action employers need to take to ensure their ED&I strategy is put into practice.
- Offer flexible/remote working arrangements: close to three-quarters (65%) say their employer offers flexible working arrangements, whilst 48% are offering remote working roles to access more diverse talent
- Analyse job application data: 41% say their employer analyses job application data to understand which advertising channels produce a diverse mix of applicants
- Work with professional associations: 29% say their organisation works with professional associations that support the needs of underrepresented groups
- More training for managers: looking towards what action professionals would like their employers to take in improving ED&I, close to half (48%) would like to see more training for managers, and 42% would like to see more training for employees.
Read our four recommendations for turning ED&I talk into action:
Address recruitment plans and promote ED&I efforts across the recruitment process:
Reviewing your recruitment strategy right from where roles are advertised, how you engage with jobseekers and who applicants engage with in your organisation is essential to attract a diverse range of talent.
Additionally, ED&I policies including flexible working need to be promoted at key points such as in job adverts and on your organisation’s website as well as during the interview process.
Given that over half of organisations say they are offering flexible working and nearly half are advertising remote working roles to access diverse talent, it’s evident that this approach is starting to happen, increasing the talent pool employers can hire from.
Review your policies
Ensure you’ve mapped out ED&I policies in your recruitment strategy to provide better clarity to jobseekers on your organisation’s commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion. Having this type of recruitment process in place gives you a chance of attracting a more diverse range of applicants.
Consider investing in training:
Training for both managers and employees was highly rated by professionals as a way for organisations to improve ED&I. Hiring managers should be provided with support and training to recognise and mitigate the impact of unconscious bias. Helping hiring managers and interviewers identify bias can positively encourage equity when professionals are looking to work with your organisation.
Similarly, providing unconscious bias training to all staff can help emphasise the focus on ED&I and allow staff to learn about biases they may be unaware of which impact their interactions
Strengthen your communication about ED&I progress:
Keeping staff in the know about the plans and progress of your organisation’s ED&I focus should be an essential part of your ED&I strategy. Over a third (34%) of professionals told us that their employer does not internally share the progress they are making towards improving ED&I, leaving many unaware of the action their employer might be taking.
One example would be if you are capturing diversity data within your organisation, making sure key stakeholders are regularly updated on how the data is being used to inform better business decisions and outcomes. This open line of communication will mean that key people within your business will continue to champion the programmes needed to deliver change.
As the working world continues to evolve with more employers providing opportunity for hybrid and remote working, now is the time to drive momentum in creating more equal, diverse, and inclusive workplaces. Implementing changes isn’t always easy, as our research found there may be obstacles you need to overcome. Getting support and advice from ED&I experts can help you navigate potential challenges and make changes that really make a difference. Whether that’s workplace adjustments that support the inclusion of underrepresented groups or working with a recruitment partner who can ensure your job adverts are seen by a broad range of jobseekers.
If you’re interested in hearing more from Hays, join the CBI's Annual Conference on 22-24 November.