Matt is the Social Value Lead at the Growth Company, an award-winning social enterprise that drives economic growth through business support, skills development and employment. As the Social Value Lead, Matt is a member of the GM Social Value Steering Group alongside his role of network member within the Social Enterprise Action Group. Matt also leads the Social Value team within the Business Growth Hub that providers fully-funded business support to GM-based organisations on how to identify, generate, monitor and report on social impact.
Creating an Inclusive Hiring Strategy
Creating an inclusive hiring strategy will allow you to gain a better understanding of your organisations’ needs and provides you with the foresight to be able to choose the best people to bring into your business. Skills for Growth - SME Support have collaborated with colleague Matt Richardson, Social Value at The Growth Company, to bring you expert tips on diversifying your team through effective, inclusive hiring, alongside the training available to help you build the necessary skills to deliver your strategy.
Planning and Preparation
Create an Inclusive Workplace Culture First
You may be proactive in your recruitment practices, but people are not going to stay if this is not embedded within the organisation. Therefore, you should look at developing an inclusive workplace culture before diversifying your hiring strategy, this way, new employees from minority backgrounds will immediately feel welcomed and feel a sense of belonging within the organisation.
Analyse Your Current Workforce
If a vacancy becomes available or you are creating a new role, before you move into that stage, it is worthwhile reviewing the skills sets you have in your organisation and any potential gaps. Understanding the skills and experience needed will help the recruitment process run smoother. We often see organisations lose a member of staff and quickly look to replace that person like for like, this may still be the case, but it is always worth reviewing against your business’ overarching goals before you progress in case there may be a different route to go down.
Optimise Your Job Listings
Optimising your job descriptions will also help make the hiring process run smoother. To improve your job descriptions, try to remove as many acronyms as possible as these will only confuse potential candidates and put them off applying for the job. Try to also use inclusive language throughout as to not make any potential candidates feel excluded from the job or your company. This includes only asking a person’s age, if necessary, not using language that suggests conditions or disabilities being a barrier, don’t use terms that can be linked to harmful stereotypes and assumptions in relation to race and ethnicity. For more information about using inclusive language, you can utilise this government resource Inclusive language - Home Office Design System. Further to incorporating inclusive language into your job descriptions, also mention what your business currently does to promote and embed diversity and inclusion within the workplace.
If possible, also include that your business can offer flexible and agile working to cater to people with other responsibilities outside of work. On top of this, make any important disclosures about the job clear and clarify that any requests for additional support is taken into consideration as part of the recruitment process.
Diversify Where Your Job Listings Are Seen
It is easy to rely on platforms such as LinkedIn and Indeed to advertise vacancies, but not everyone has access to these platforms. Social issues such as the digital divide mean that not everyone has the facilities to properly utilise these platforms. For these people, job listings exclusively listed on these type of platforms puts a barrier between them and access to work, making it much harder for them to find a job to make a better life for themselves. Try to target those in minority groups by promoting across various networks such as LGBTQ+ networks or share job listings with colleges and Universities if relevant to drive applications from young people. By diversifying where your job listings are being seen and bringing people from marginalised communities into your organisation, you can work collaboratively to help shape and improve the culture of your organisation.
Engaging with candidates
Create a Relaxed Interview Environment
It is difficult to act naturally when you feel like you are being examined and inspected by someone. Therefore, if you want to see someone’s true personality when interviewing them, it is important to conduct the interview in a relaxed environment. Try not to create the feeling of an ‘us and them’ situation, instead be more friendly by engaging in small talk, ask follow-up questions, be clear on what the interviewee should expect during the interview, allow time for questions, and give honest feedback.
On the topic of feedback, it is important to remember and be considerate of the fact that applicants are taking time out of their day to be interviewed by you which for many will mean taking annual leave, unpaid leave or changing homelife arrangements for them to be there. To respect them for making time to attend the interview, let them know what they did well and what areas they can improve on, so they are still able to take some value out of the interview.
“Feedback is such a crucial part of people’s development and, if like me, take value from being told of areas to work on or where the successful candidate had just pipped you to the post. These experiences over time have helped me better understand what recruitment teams may be looking for, what questions to ask and ensure I take that feedback and aim to improve in my next interview. There is often a nervousness about giving feedback, but I can assure you providing no feedback doesn’t help either, as the interviewer does not build confidence in giving feedback and the interviewee has no external perspective of how they can develop.” – Matt Richardson, Social Value Lead at The Growth Company
Use the interview process to get the best possible picture of applicants by including different activities such as tasks, scenario-based questions, presentations and potentially group activities to help give a more rounded understanding of the interviewee. Recruitment is a costly process and doing this due diligence in the first part can save a lot of resources in the medium/long term. To make the process as fair as possible, provide inclusive training and standardised question templates for hiring managers to reduce bias and ensure a fair and consistent process.
GM Skills Map
With all the above in mind, you may wish to further develop your skills through workplace learning and training to effectively enact all that we’ve considered in this article. Skills for Growth SME Support’s GM Skills Map platform allows businesses to search and monitor learning all in one place, from top training providers in Greater Manchester and beyond. Below are popular courses to help you create and deliver a successful, inclusive hiring strategy.
- Workforce Development | GC Business Growth Hub
- HR for non-HR Managers | eLearning Plus
- Effective Recruitment | eLearning Plus
- CIPD L3 foundation certificate in people practice | Leoron
- CIPD L7 diploma in HR
- L3 HR support apprenticeship | GC Education & Skills
- HR Masterclass | Progeny
- L5 HR consultant/partner apprenticeship | GC Education & Skills
Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion
- L7 Strategic Approaches to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion | CMI
- Equality & Diversity training | Progeny
- Introduction to Equality & Diversity | eLearning Plus
- Promoting equality, diversity & inclusion in the workplace | Phoenix Training
- Equality & Diversity in the workplace | The Manchester College
- Think Different. A guide to marketing a better way | Royal Flush
- Responding to the advocacy needs of different groups of people | Acorn Training
- Effective Communication Skills | Compliance Training Ltd
- Personal development effective communication | eLearning Plus