For the past decade we have been discussing with clients the moral case for diversity. In more recent times the commercial case for diversity has become an intrinsic part of the diversity conversation. With companies accepting that when your workforce reflects your customer base, your organisations performance will improve.
But how does an organisation with positive diversity intensions actually go about attracting and building a diverse work force?
Simply put – it’s not easy. With a confusing international legal landscape, and a lack of practical training, the tools often feel abstract. That said, there are practical ways to address these challenges, but you need committed talent partners who have practical experience and can support the process.
At Exige, we target two key phases within the recruitment process to improve a diverse candidate response. The first stage is at Vacancy Creation, simply allowing the topic of diversity to be discussed is crucial. Then crafting and highlighting diversity enabling features into the vacancy literature (such as flex working time, childcare support, and stating the firm’s own diversity belief) significantly improves the chances of that vacancy appealing to a wider audience. It may seem simple, but by allowing the diversity vocabulary to be included at the foundation of the role, you set in the mind of every key player the importance of equal access. But more practically your organisation could otherwise be selling itself short by not promoting its diversity friendly benefits – it’s simple, yet effective.
The second is longlist creation. When working with an agency that truly believes in diversity, it is fair to assume that their networks will be, by result, more diverse. By working with an agency that has access to professional diversity networks (Swonet, BPW Switzerland, and Black Professional Network etc.) you can ensure a reasonable level of fair access. Further steps can be taken to include physical disability networks, and advice taken on making vacancy literature even more accessible via enhanced text features.
It should be that all recruitment campaigns focus on attracting and securing the best possible candidate available. But by making your vacancy more accessible, you give those individuals often excluded from the recruitment process an equal opportunity to demonstrate their suitability and be hired on merit. And it’s this fairness which is the key to building a truly representative workforce.
William is the Managing Director of Exige International, with 14 years’ experience recruiting for international financial services firms; he currently covers both the UK and Swiss market for Exige.