Businesses are increasingly recognising the importance of diversity and inclusion. Companies with diverse workforces perform up to 30% better than their competitors, and organisations that are more representative of the population as a whole enjoy better brand image, greater customer loyalty and higher growth potential.
Although recruiters often excel in finding niche skill sets and sourcing diverse candidates for their clients, the staffing industry has historically been less successful in addressing diversity internally. With 67% of job seekers reporting that diversity is a very important factor when considering which staffing agencies they will partner with, recruiters are currently missing out on opportunities to truly understand and connect with untapped talent pools.
Here are four methods that can help recruitment agency leaders to find, develop and retain professionals across all backgrounds and minority groups.
4 Ways to Find Diverse Recruitment Consultants
1. Reassess Hiring Strategies & Requirements
Recruitment is one of the few careers that is most easily adaptable to diverse groups. Although historically a ‘masculine’ environment dominated by men of a certain age and background, the barriers to entry in this career path can be tackled quickly and effectively.
Start by reviewing your current role requirements – does an applicant really need a University degree, or even A Levels or GCSEs? Revamping your assessment centres and qualification processes to focus solely on soft skills and relevant personality traits will see your agency leading the pack in terms of social mobility. Consider proactively hiring candidates who have spent time in the armed forces or prison, and reaching out to older age groups than you would usually approach. These talent pools are significantly underrepresented and can bring a wealth of fresh skills and experience to your agency, providing instant competitive advantage in the market.
Once you’ve refined your requirements, invest the time and effort to write an unbiased and inclusive job ad. Recent research has found that job ads with more ‘masculine’ coded words reduce the volume of female applicants by up to 10%. Describing a competitive culture or portraying the company as inflexible or overly corporate can deter those with a disability, those with mental health conditions and those in the LGBT+ community, who may feel unable to be their authentic selves in such a workplace.
2. Utilise Your Existing Diverse Workforce
The diverse professionals that you already employ will be the greatest source of intelligence in attracting more skilled talent of their background and other minority groups:
- Conduct an Employee Survey – Ask your diverse employees about their experiences of your agency. What do they enjoy the most about their jobs and the company? What could your agency do better to make them feel more included? Use this feedback to cultivate your internal recruitment strategy.
- Run a Referral Scheme – Offer cash bonuses and benefits for consultants who introduce new diverse recruiters to your business
- Employer Brand – Use testimonials and video interviews of your current team to showcase the diverse and inclusive culture you’ve already built, and help recruiters from minority groups feel more comfortable and positive about approaching your agency
- Mentoring – Staffing CEOs are well aware of the industry’s high attrition rate, and of the fact that developing and retaining skilled talent is much more effective than constantly replacing employees. As your company grows, ensure your minority employees feel heard, supported and empowered by matching them to diverse mentors inside the agency.
3. Create a Culture Based on Communication and Respect
Unconscious bias exists even in the minds of those from minority backgrounds: we all absorb subtle messaging about others and ourselves from the minute we’re born. These biases can affect the way we value diverse people and the way they feel about themselves, their professional performance and their career opportunities. Commitment to driving an internal working environment that bravely addresses these biases, including everyone across backgrounds and groups, and exploring feelings and opinions rather than glossing over them, is the best way to create a truly inclusive culture.
Staffing CEOs can work with HR departments on a number of activities and initiatives, including:
- Internal Communication – Vocal, consistent support from the very top of the management structure sets the tone for employees to follow. If the CEO publicly believes in the importance of D&I, employees across departments are more likely to understand the importance, and diverse colleagues will feel more valued and more included (and therefore more likely to remain in your agency)
- Training – Regularly tackling uncomfortable and problematic topics, in addition to equality awareness programmes, and involving people from minority groups in this training to share their points of view on these topics
- Events – Celebrating the different cultures of your consultant teams with internal events that share food, festival activities and knowledge. Individuals who understand more about their colleagues are more likely to actively empathise with and support them.
4. Join Diverse Networks
Even those with excellent employer brands will be best served not by waiting for diverse groups to approach them, but by making the effort to go where the talent already exists.
Think outside the box to investigate different online and offline channels including:
- Industry Lists – Awards and Power Lists recognising diverse recruitment leaders and those from minority groups who have started a promising career
- Message Boards – Online forums for working mothers, individuals from an ethnic minority background, LGBT+ professionals and workers with disabilities
- Social Media Channels & Groups – Digital spaces where diverse people gather to discuss topics of interest, experiences and ideas
- Events – In-person networking events and online webinars targeted towards diverse professionals in particular fields.
Partnering with organisations focused on D&I, such as charities and social enterprises, will position your company’s brand as inclusive, approachable and truly invested in furthering the careers of diverse groups. The PR and networking opportunities afforded by such partnerships will naturally connect your agency with diverse recruiters and their contacts.
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