It's Global Inclusion Week - a celebration of equality, diversity and inclusion across the world!
As a sustainability education charity and Not-for-Profit that specialises in the recruitment of sustainability professions, we recognise the importance of inclusion within the workplace. Here we'll explore why it matters to your organisations future and how you can develop an inclusive recruitment process.
Inclusion at Work
Indeed describes workplace inclusion as "the process of providing every member of an organisation with equal access to professional resources and opportunities." That in turn aids companies to accomplish their objectives.
Inclusion focuses on the idea that all employees should feel valued and safe at work, which is every employers responsibility. It embraces the uniqueness and individuality of all staff, allowing them to reach their full potential and be their authentic self. Inclusivity is a crucial element of the working environment.
Creating an inclusive workplace avoids marginalisation, allowing equal opportunities for all regardless of factors such as race, age, gender, mental or physical abilities etc. It is about promoting an environment where employees feel safe, respected and nurtured. By doing this you will help foster a future that reflects the richness of the global community where all knowledge and experiences are unique and valued.
Research on Inclusivity at Work
Research has found that inclusion at work is beneficial for many reasons:
It strengthens and promotes innovation and creativity within your organisation, often leading to increased productivity.
It ensures that there are equal opportunities for all individuals.
Inclusivity improves job satisfaction and engagement.
It supports employee wellbeing as individuals will feel safe and comfortable within the work environment.
Inclusivity improves employee retention as those that feel included and valued are more likely to stay with the same organisation for longer.
It helps create a sense of belonging.
So, how can you improve the inclusive practices within your organisation? Having inclusive recruitment practices means to go beyond the mere compliance of diversity quotas and to actively engage and embrace differences in backgrounds, experiences and perspectives.
Developing an Inclusive Recruitment Process
There are a variety of principles to inclusive recruitment that ensure equal opportunity for all, and prevents bias and exclusionary recruitment processes.
Preventing bias - by implementing blind screening processes you will minimise potential unconscious bias. This way, your screening will be entirely skills-based and focused solely on a persons skills and qualifications.
Make it clear through your application process that candidates should not upload any photos of themselves, or put any unnecessary personal data on their application, CV or Cover Letter such as date of birth, nationality or ethnic origin, marital status, or sexual orientation.
Talent sourcing - by expanding your recruitment process you can extend the reach of your role to an array of people from all backgrounds. You can do this by using multiple advertising channels, posting your vacancy across social media and LinkedIn and speaking the a recruitment specialist.
Job descriptions - crafting job descriptions can be difficult, but it is one of the most important things you can do within the recruitment process to prevent bias and exclusionary practices. When deciding on the essential and desirable person specifications, it is crucial is that you are sticking to the most essential and relevant qualifications and skills needed for the role.
If Equality, Diversity and Inclusion is a key value and ethos of your organisation (as it should be), having a statement for your organisations commitment within the job description can go a long way - it is your responsibility as an organisation to champion why inclusion (and diversity and equality) matters for your business and what you are doing to promote it.
This also includes avoiding any identifiable language or requirements that may deter qualified candidates.
Pro Tip: On MS Word you can run your documents through an Inclusive language screening which will identify any words or phrases that may not be entirely inclusive. This feature is off by default within the editor, so you will need to change this within your settings.
To do this, open any or a new Word doc > file > options > proofing > under writing style, next to 'Grammar & Refinements' click Settings > scroll down to where you will find the list of Inclusiveness options.
The interview process - training employees on inclusivity and unconscious bias should be essential for all employees but it is particularly important if they play any part in the recruitment process.
When a candidate has successfully secured an interview, you can promote your commitment to inclusion by identifying if any candidates need special accommodations. Importantly, it should be made clear that this will not impact their suitability to the role, as per the Protected Characteristics of the Equality Act 2010.
Additionally, this includes having standardised interview questions which are used for all interviewees - this will ensure fairness and consistency.
An Inclusive Workplace Culture
The foundations of an inclusive workplace are found within training - having regular education and training sessions on equality, diversity and inclusion for all employees will establish the commitment to inclusivity within your organisation and let the team know that its is a key value. By raising awareness about the impact of prejudice, bias, exclusion and discrimination in the workplace you can provide strategies to mitigate them by educating yourself and others. In turn, empowering employees and strengthening an inclusive culture.
Creating an inclusive workplace culture also includes fostering a sense of belonging - making an employee feel like they have a place within the organisation is a vital way to make someone feel valued and worthy of their role. This will allow people to feel comfortable with expressing themselves, boost their creativity, confidence and productivity, and likely increase employee retention!
Finally, you can improve inclusion by promoting equal personal and professional development opportunities to your employees. As an employer, offering opportunities to improve professional qualifications, or by investing in an employees passions will nurture their skills. By creating and offering working activities that align with their interests, goals and skill sets, you will enhance job satisfaction and fulfilment and improve the contributions the person can bring to the role.
For Global Inclusion Week, take this opportunity to reflect on the culture of inclusion within your organisation. Chat with the members of your team and think of where you are currently at and what you can do to improve your practices.