In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, organisations are increasingly recognising the value of diversity in their workforce.

Former ASDA boss and prolific company chairman, Allan Leighton, argues management teams should focus on recruiting the best brains because that will deliver a business advantage. High-performance companies are blind to factors such as age, gender, sexuality or race.

Companies that embrace diversity benefit from a wide range of perspectives, experiences, and ideas, leading to enhanced creativity, innovation, and problem-solving. However, building a diverse talent pool requires proactive strategies and a commitment to inclusivity throughout the recruitment process. Here, Sam Hameed, co-founder and managing director of SPG Resourcing, shares practical tips and insights to help organisations successfully recruit and retain diverse talent.

 

  1. Cultivate an inclusive employer brand: To attract a diverse pool of candidates, organisations must establish an inclusive employer brand. This involves showcasing diversity and inclusion efforts on the company website, social media platforms, and other relevant channels. Highlight employee resource groups, diversity initiatives, and success stories that demonstrate the organisation’s commitment to creating an inclusive workplace. Consider how attractive a booze-fuelled work party will be to a non-drinker.
  2. Build diverse talent networks: Networking is pivotal in recruiting diverse talent. Attend industry-specific conferences, job fairs, and community events that cater to diverse professionals. Establish partnerships with diversity-focused organisations and educational institutions to tap into their talent pools. Develop mentorship programs that connect employees from underrepresented groups with potential candidates.
  3. Craft inclusive job descriptions: Job descriptions should use inclusive language that appeals to a wide range of candidates. Avoid gender-coded language and jargon that may deter qualified individuals. Focus on the core competencies required for the role rather than strict qualifications, as this allows for a broader and more diverse applicant pool. Additionally, consider the impact of implicit biases in the language used and aim for neutrality and inclusivity throughout the job description.
  4. Implement blind hiring practices: Bias, whether conscious or unconscious, can hinder diversity efforts during the hiring process. Implement blind hiring practices by removing identifying information such as names, gender, and educational institutions from resumes and application materials. This approach enables recruiters to evaluate candidates solely based on their skills, experiences, and qualifications, reducing unconscious biases.
  5. Diverse interview panels: Create diverse interview panels that reflect the company’s commitment to inclusivity. Include individuals from different backgrounds, experiences, and levels within the organisation. A diverse panel sends a strong signal to candidates that the company values diversity and ensures a broader range of perspectives during the evaluation process.
  6. Provide diversity training for hiring managers: Hiring managers should undergo diversity and inclusion training to understand the importance of creating an inclusive workplace and the potential impact of their decisions during the recruitment process. These training sessions can raise awareness of unconscious biases, help managers recognise their own blind spots, and equip them with the tools to assess candidates based on their skills and potential.
  7. Foster inclusive onboarding and retention programs: Once diverse talent is recruited, it is crucial to have comprehensive onboarding programs that create a sense of belonging and support. Establish mentorship programs, employee resource groups, and affinity networks to facilitate networking and provide ongoing support. Regularly assess employee engagement and satisfaction to identify any potential barriers or challenges and take proactive steps to address them.

Recruiting and retaining diverse talent requires a holistic approach that goes beyond mere diversity quotas. Organisations need to foster an inclusive culture, starting from the recruitment process and continuing throughout an employee’s tenure.

By actively cultivating an inclusive employer brand, building diverse talent networks, employing blind hiring practices, and investing in diversity training, organisations can attract, retain, and benefit from a diverse workforce. Embracing diversity not only enhances business outcomes but also contributes to a more equitable and inclusive society.