Equality and diversity are more important today than they’ve ever been. Providing a work environment that’s diverse and inclusive is not only important for your employees, but also for your business’ performance!
Whilst many businesses may have the best intentions, sometimes, the goals and the reality don’t align. That’s why diversity metrics are important. They allow you to see how diverse your company really is, the bigger picture from an unbiased lens – they show you the figures and the facts.
In this blog, we’ll talk about diversity and equality in the workplace, why this is so beneficial to your business, and how you can start making your recruitment process more inclusive.
What is Equality & Diversity in the Workplace?
What do we mean by equality and diversity in the workplace? In a nutshell, it means everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed. It’s about creating a safe, supportive, and inclusive work environment for everyone.
Equality and diversity are two distinct but related concepts. Equality means treating people equally regardless of their age, disability, or gender. That means treating people as individuals and not judging them based on stereotypes.
Diversity refers to differences between individuals or groups. Diversity is about recognising and embracing people’s differences. Things like race, ethnicity, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation, and disability.
Inclusion means creating an environment where everyone feels included. But even more than that, it’s about feeling a connection and belonging in the workplace.
The goal of promoting equality and diversity in the workplace is to create an environment where everyone feels valued and included, and where everyone has equal opportunities to succeed.
Why is Equality, Diversity & Inclusion important?
Equality, diversity and inclusion are important for many reasons. Below are just a few of the reasons why Equality, Diversity & Inclusion can benefit your business.
Attracting & retaining talent
A diverse workforce is more attractive to job seekers, who are often looking for an employer that reflects their own values. According to a survey by Glassdoor, 76% of jobseekers say diversity is an important factor when deciding on job offers.
Having a diverse workforce can help you attract talent from underrepresented groups. Groups who otherwise might not feel welcome in an environment where there’s nobody like them.
Employee engagement & productivity
By creating an inclusive environment, employees are more likely to feel comfortable sharing ideas and perspectives, without fear of judgement.
This leads to better decision-making processes across the board–and ultimately better performance results for your company as a whole! In fact, in one report, 87% of companies believe DE&I efforts have made them more productive.
Positive employer branding
Monster (a UK job board) found that 86% of job seekers base the reputation of an employer’s brand on DE&I. Diversity in a company shows it values its employees and cares about creating an inclusive work environment.
That aside, candidates talk. They share their views with friends, family, and even current colleagues. The better your employer branding, the more interest you’ll have in your vacancies.
A diverse workforce brings a range of perspectives, experiences, and skills to the table. This can lead to new ideas, innovative solutions, and better decision-making. Employees from different backgrounds can challenge the status quo and bring fresh perspectives to old problems.
In the UK, many of the top positions in finance, government, law, and even the arts, tend to come from the privately educated institutions. Schools like Eton, Harrow, St. Pauls, to name a few. A work environment where everyone is of the same background is counterproductive. It means your environment is likely to become an echo-chamber of the same opinions.
Better understanding of customers
New (and differing) perspectives give you a better understanding of customers. By having employees from different backgrounds, a company can start to better understand the needs and preferences of different customers. That means they can tailor products and services to better meet customer needs.
A great example of this is Sara Blakely, founder of shapewear company, Spanx. When Sara first looked to start her business, she found all the heads of the manufacturing companies she approached to be men. As men, they had less understanding of the usefulness for a product like Spanx. All of them turned her down, except one, whose two present daughters convinced him there was a need. The product went on to be incredibly successful.
Having employees and leaders in a business that represent your customer’s persona, will always be a positive.
Key diversity metrics
You might be thinking you already have quite a diverse workplace – but measuring this is important for being sure.
Your recruitment process is the most ideal place to start, as this is the starting point of attracting a diverse workforce to your business.
To calculate your diversity metrics, the first thing you need to do is send out a monitoring form.
Now, it’s important to remember not everyone will answer the monitoring form, some may even select ‘prefer not to say’.
But if you want to calculate the diversity of those that do respond, calculating your diversity metrics is very simple.
This works at the application stage, and even after hire. It’s a calculation you can use to monitor the diversity of your current work force. Look at the image below:
How to improve Equality & Diversity in recruitment
As mentioned, one of the most effective places you can improve your workplace diversity is during the recruitment process. Here are just a few things you can do.
Automatically filter CVs
One way to reduce bias in the hiring process is to use an automated recruitment system that can filter out CVs blindly.
This means the system scans CVs received and selects candidates based on skills and experience, not displaying personal information like name or age.
This can help to reduce the impact of unconscious bias in the initial selection process.
But, it’s important to note that bias can still occur, even with blind CV filtering, so it’s important to have a human overseeing this process. It happened to Amazon in 2018, and the situation was bad enough that they decided to scrap it altogether. As Ziff AI founder and Chief AI strategist Ben Taylor said on the situation:
“Every human on the planet is biased. We all carry an incurable virus called our unconscious bias. I firmly believe that AI is the only way we can reduce human bias with recruiting. Unfortunately, naively using AI for recruiting is a guaranteed recipe for disaster. Racist/Sexist AI isn’t a risk, it is a guarantee if used by inexperienced teams. AI will naturally learn our bias and amplify it.”
That means when employing CV filtering tools, you need to use them with caution. This LinkedIn article tells you how you can make sure you’re using your CV filtering tools effectively.
Identify and fix workplace bias
Companies can also work to identify and fix any existing workplace bias. This can include reviewing company policies and procedures or identifying any areas where bias might be present.
From there, it’s about taking steps to address it. For example, a company could offer unconscious bias training to all employees to help them recognise and overcome their own biases. See an example below:
A Sales Manager believes men have a better track record of making more sales on a month-by-month basis. Therefore, when the Sales Manager goes to recruit new sales advisors, he unconsciously favours male applicants, even over female ones whose credentials may have been better.
Reporting & Analytics
Using a recruitment system with built-in reporting and analytics is a great way to improve your diversity. You’re going to want to find a system that automatically gathers candidate diversity information and presents it to you.
You’ll be able to see who’s applying to your job postings. That way, you can see who’s underrepresented and you can adjust accordingly. Maybe you need to target job posts up North to get regional diversity, or in poorer parts of the country to get class diversity?
Whatever it is, analytics & reporting in your hiring process helps you see who you’re attracting. This is even more important as a recruiter who recruits frequently and for large groups of people.
Create diverse policies
Another way to promote equality and diversity during hiring is to create policies that support these goals. For example, a company could create a policy to ensure that all employees have access to the same training and development opportunities, regardless of their background.
Creating diverse policies could start small, like allowing flexible working or flexible working hours. That may not work for every industry but it’s something to think about if yours does.
Create an inclusive work culture
Companies can also create an inclusive work culture by building a sense of belonging amongst all employees. This might mean encouraging open communication, promoting teamwork, and recognising and celebrating diversity in all its forms.
You can make simple changes, like using inclusive language, being open to employee feedback and expanding holiday days to incorporate days of other religions.
These are a few simple steps than when partnered with the other points we’ve mentioned, can make a workplace feel much more inclusive.
Take part in Diversity, Equality & Inclusion training
Finally, companies can take part in Diversity, Equality & Inclusion (DEI) training. This type of training can help employees better understand the importance of equality and diversity in the workplace and provide them with the skills and tools they need to create an inclusive work environment.
We know that companies with a diverse workforce perform better financially and rank higher in innovation. That’s why DE&I training is important.
To keep your workforce diverse, and retain the diversity you have, you need a system, a process that continually evolves as we evolve as a society.
It’s important recruiters take this training to stay well informed. You may even come up with ideas of how to tackle certain issues by the discussions that often come up in these training sessions.
How can recruitment technology help?
Recruitment technology can be an incredibly useful tool for improving diversity in your business, particularly when it comes to measuring and improving diversity metrics.
A system like occy for example, makes this easier. occy can measure and report on key hiring metrics, including DE&I metrics. This identifies who’s responding to your job posts, giving you the awareness to make any changes to your process.
This means you can put your calculator aside and let occy calculate all the diversity metrics you need to know.
It also comes with automated CV filtering, to help you identify the best applicants with limited human bias.
With the right training and human supervision, and a system like occy, you’re much more likely to improve diversity within your hiring process.
Promoting equality and diversity in the workplace is not only the right thing to do – it’s essential for a modern business. With the above, you can expect to be well on your way to making a more diverse & inclusive workplace.
DE&I is just one part of the puzzle to improving your business’ performance. For more information on other essential hiring metrics, we’ve put together a simple guide, 4 Recruitment Metrics you should be measuring.