Diversity and Inclusion in the workplace is a continuous burning issue and, while many recruiters know the benefits and needs of tracking such necessity, the uncomfortable truth is that diverse candidates continue to be systematically excluded by workplace practices. What are we doing wrong? Or what are we simply not doing to create the right conditions?
At the beginning of the year we saw the launch of Inclusive.Hiring, our first DEI conference which was created to break the ingrained cycle of exclusion within the world of work and to change the way our industry approaches DEI.
At Inclusive.Hiring, the following uncomfortable truths were unearthed:
“Individuals with a disability are twice as likely to be unemployed as non-disabled people” – Lisa Baldock
“25% of the population is living with autism, ADHD or with another mental health issue” – Dr Annie Clements
“Every single person has a responsibility on why we are having the continuous conversation on pay and equality. It’s not just a “men’s conversation”, there are a whole load of women that compensate other women less then they compensate their male colleagues” – Torin Ellis
“People often don’t ask for adjustments, they don’t want to be that part of the process which can be seen as a negative impact for themselves upon their potential future employers – it can be seen as an immediate liability and disadvantage to those individuals.” – Bill Boorman
“As soon as you say you have a disability, people don’t even get past that stage. So if I don’t tell them [recruiters], I find I have a better chance.’” – Lisa Baldock
At Inclusive.Hiring, we saw a wide range of speakers delivering thought-provoking talks and workshops on why we must start taking action, and how to break the exclusion circle. We talked about everything from making accessibility our priority to making our teams more inclusive. The audience gained actionable output to take back to their organisations.
Here are some of the key takeaways from the day:
Bill Boorman delivered inspiring ideas on what we can do to make recruitment better for everyone. Bill showed us how simple actions can make big changes and invited everyone to think about what they could be doing in their process or conduct to make sure everyone gets a fair chance. It is important to consider that most people, when applying for a job, don’t want to feel there is anything preventing them from giving their best performance. So, what can we as recruiters do to make sure individuals are not being excluded?
“If you see disability as a potential blocker in everyday life, you are part of the problem!”
Dr. Annie Clements defines inclusive practice as when employers value all employees independently, whether they have a specific difference or not, and when all employees feel wanted and valued.
Annie recommends 3 main areas of inclusive practices around autism and ADHD that every company should be setting regardless of inclusion:
Dr. Clements also spoke about clarity and expectations. We need to be clearer about what our expectations are. Simple honest statements can be construed as confusing to those with autism, the construct of a sentence or job-related description can often be seen as ‘simple’ but in reality are more exclusive to candidates that have to subjectively understand the meaning.
Torin Ellis delivered a real eye-opening discussion on how we all play a part in this movement and showed us why it is important for us all to start to take action!
‘The first thing we all need to do is find our voice – speak up! We are not doing a great job in D&I because not enough of you are speaking-up…. every single person has a responsibility in the ongoing conversation around diversity and inclusion.’
We need to start talking about the problems. We need to get leadership involved and start curing complacency by erasing excuses within our functions. Everyone needs to look at the DEI at every level of their organisation and adjust as necessary. We can no longer just put a job in front of a diverse audience and think the work is done.
Gareth Jones spoke about the importance of building a two-way relationship of trust between a person and their employer, and not only focusing on building an inclusive recruitment process and doing nothing else to support this.
‘Create an environment of trust, inclusion, respect. Accumulatively, you get a sense of belonging. Belonging is a word that signals we’re taking the industry in the right direction’
Lisa Baldock expressed the importance of making accessibility a priority. Applicants with a disability shouldn’t have to hide information for fear of hindering their chances in the recruitment process. Organisations should focus more on strengths and making adjustments to accommodate people, to see a candidate’s full potential. Some adjustments she proposes are:
Dr J Harrison shared a heart rending story on the art of not fitting in, and how their social identity is constantly challenged within the recruitment process.
They asked the audience to take a moment to think about what one is doing to make space in their team for differences.
Diversity doesn’t have a linear definition; instead, a diverse team is multifaceted and distinctly different in every way. So, how do we make diverse teams inclusive?
Dr J Harrison shows us how simple things can make space so teams are inclusive for all sorts of Diversity.
After an inspiring day full of learnings, emotions, and actionable take-aways, one question remains: as recruiters, which changes are we willing to make when we see people or situations that are excluding individuals?
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