How to build a stronger workforce
The start of a new year is always a time when people think about their career – what are their plans and objectives for the coming months, where would they like to have taken their role by the end of the year, or maybe it’s time to look for a new opportunity.
The way recruitment is undertaken can be key to unlocking
inclusivity in an organisation. So, as well as a time of opportunity for
jobseekers, this time of year is a great chance for employers to look at their
approach to attracting new people to join and enhance their team.
It’s very well documented that diverse workforce results in
a better business; one which has higher levels of creativity, better engaged
staff who stay for longer, and is more profitable. While organisations will of
course aim to recruit based on who is the best candidate for a particular role,
it’s very easy to slip into a pattern of recruiting people who appear an easy
‘fit’ which can lead to a lack of diversity. So how can organisations avoid
The most important aspect is awareness – those involved in
the process need to be aware of the relationship between recruitment and
D&I, whether that’s an internal HR function, an interviewer, or an external
How about the job ad itself – is the language and the
imagery used inclusive and accessible. Is the material available in accessible
formats? Is the application process itself accessible? Is there any mention of
flexible working options that might be available?
These days, it’s common practice for applicant age to be
excluded from CVs, but also removing the opportunity for unconscious bias based
on gender or assumptions relating to a name can be a good idea.
When it comes to the interviews themselves, you will find a
lot of relevant information in the CIBSE Inclusivity Guidance relating to
setting up meetings – think about the timing, accessibility of venue, dietary
requirements, dress code, and support for travel costs. All of these things can
make or break the sense of inclusivity for a candidate.
The interview panel should also be carefully selected to help make the candidates feel comfortable. This might mean someone more junior is included, or someone of a different gender, ethnicity or technical background. As well as helping the candidate this can also be really beneficial for the potential employer as a more diverse interview panel will tend to have a broader range of opinions about candidates helping to avoid group think.
None of these suggestions is difficult, time consuming or
costly. So let’s think about making these small
changes that will help us recruit a more diverse workforce and help our businesses
be the best they can.
by Jo Edwards - Hoare Lea and CIBSE Inclusivity Panel.
Download the CIBSE Inclusivity Guidelines for CIBSE Members and Staff for best practice and advice on fair recruitment.