Equality, Diversity & Inclusion (ED&I) has been brought to the fore of many industries due to the issues brought out by the pandemic, the “Black Lives Matter” and “Me Too” movements and the Parker Review. In public and non-profit sectors, issues over ED&I cannot be ignored as the important work such organisations achieve needs to best reflect the communities they serve.
What’s more, hiring with a true ED&I policy in mind should not simply be a tick-box exercise but needs to be considered and reflective of the core principles and values of your organisation. Whilst public sector organisations are most likely to already have a formal diversity strategy (79%), non-profits sometimes fall behind at just 54%, according to the CIPD. However, even though many organisations attempt to implement an ED&I hiring strategy, they often fall prey to a few major, yet common, pitfalls along the way. With a better understanding of the wider relevance of ED&I within your public or non-profit organisation, you can create an effective and fair ED&I hiring strategy and reap the benefits that such a workforce provides.
Key issues when implementing ED&I recruitment in the public and not-for-profit sectors
Narrow hiring strategies
Often organisations unconsciously limit their talent pool by using biased words or phrasing which is skewed towards a particular gender, age, or ethnicity, or sets the bar too high regarding qualifications, skills or experience.
Similarly, by only advertising in traditional spaces such as unselective recruitment boards, or internal channels, organisations restrict the reach of their job posting. Such a strategy can mean that candidates that are attracted resemble one another with limited diversity. Recruiting on a wider range of channels or engaging a recruiter that specialises in your required fields will be able to advise you on the right recruitment channels to use to attract the right diversity of candidates.
Not offering relevant compensation
Pay gaps remain endemic, especially at higher levels. Rolling back compensation levels when a position becomes available, due to the perceived inexperience of the incoming employee, means organisations offer non-competitive and inaccurate salaries. This can be particularly difficult for female applicants who can be perceived as less experienced or committed to a role if they have a gap on their CV from maternity or care responsibility needs.
Unpaid internships or work experience positions also leaves many people from underrepresented groups unable to gain experience and access to roles.
Not modelling change from the top
Candidates may be put off working for an organisation that they do not perceive it to be inclusive at the highest levels. Ensuring your leadership are as diverse as your lower employees is vital to creating an authentic ED&I policy and hiring strategy.
Lack of inclusivity in other areas
Hiring inclusively without addressing wider company culture can leave employees feeling isolated, unengaged and as though their needs remain unaddressed, particularly if company culture does not reflect inclusive values and leadership remains homogeneous.
All aspects of a public or non-profit workplace and its culture need to be inclusive and reflect the diversity of that organisation's employees, including:
- The perks and benefits available
- How reviews are structured
- The nature of professional development or mentorship schemes
- How meetings are conducted
- The language employed in internal and external communications
Tips on implementing an effective, holistic hiring strategy for equality, diversity and inclusion in public and non-profit sectors
Educate staff in unconscious bias
Employees at all levels, particularly leadership and hiring managers, should undergo training in unconscious bias. Raising awareness of how unperceived prejudice permeates an institution
beyond formal policies such as interpersonal interaction, biased language in internal/external communications and decision making will show your employees how they can be a part of the solution and contribute to the bettering of their workplace.
This is particularly important for hiring managers who may not be aware that they are projecting certain biases without meaning to. These can range from:
- Confirmation bias, a tendency to find ways to justify new information so that it confirms existing beliefs and assertions. Often a small feature on a CV will colour the reader’s opinion of them and then all interview questions will seek to confirm that opinion or belief.
- Personal similarity bias, a preference to interview and hire people who most closely resemble your own professional CV, or educational background.
- The halo effect, is when your first impressions create a favourable perception of a candidate’s ability to the job well. This can lead to unqualified but charming individuals getting jobs that others would be more suitable for.
Being aware of personal similarity bias will most effectively enable your hiring managers to objectively assess diverse candidates and not be swayed by those that most similarly reflect their own experiences and background.
View differences as an asset
According to a seminal study by McKinsey, ethnically diverse companies are 35% more likely to be in the top-performing quartile. Finding candidates from different ethnicities, religions, cultures, nationalities, genders, sexualities, physical or mental abilities, age, educational and economic backgrounds, will allow your organisation to best capture the needs of your equally diverse communities of customers, clients, or service users. This is particularly pertinent for public and non-profit sectors who need to ensure they’re service offering and messaging perfectly reflects user needs.
Model change from above
ED&I recruitment policies should extend to your organisation's leadership team, Board of Directors and trustees. A diverse board will also better reflect the community it serves, will be able to access resources within the community such as potential donors or partners, and will be better able to respond to future opportunities and risks.
How can Morgan Law help you promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace?
Morgan Law specialises in interim, temporary, contract and permanent recruitment across business support, middle and senior management level positions. Whether you’re looking for a talented professional for a key role, or help with bespoke campaign management, we’re the public and not-for-profit sector recruitment specialists.
By taking the time to develop a full understanding of your requirements, helping you understand challenges and advising you on the state of the talent market Morgan Law is well positioned as a consultative partner to implement a sensitive and well-thought-out ED&I strategy when hiring at all levels, providing insight for hiring top to bottom.