Marking Black History Month - Time for Change: Action Not Words.

3 Oct 2022

Marking Black History Month - Time for Change: Action Not Words.

Black history month is a great opportunity for the public and government to pause and recognise the contributions of black people to the cultural, economic and political life in the UK.

At Alexander Ash, we set out to work in a way that’s completely collaborative. From how we become an extension of our client’s team, to how we encourage our own team to be themselves at work.

The team at Alexander Ash come from a wide range of backgrounds. As a diverse business we’re able to make better informed decisions. Inclusion is part of our DNA as a business.

Creating an equality culture is the right thing to do because an inclusive future is a better future. We’re committed to going beyond meeting our statutory obligations and strive to foster an environment where our people are encouraged to bring their true selves to work.

As employers, we’re always learning new ways to improve on our own diversity and inclusion practices. Our dedication to striving for a future that’s more equal helps us create a diverse talent pool for our clients. We’re proud of the work we do in this area and firmly believe that inclusion fuels our success.

Finding a diverse candidate pool
It’s crucial we recognise where and how they are accessing candidates, and to acknowledge where biases might have crept into this process. For instance, extraneous requirements written into job descriptions can have a significant negative impact on accessing a diverse pool of talent. If a listing requires a college degree when it’s not needed, this immediately shrinks the pool of candidates and stops a huge number of qualified people from applying. Companies looking to take an even more proactive approach, should also look to partner with D&I oriented recruiters/organisations like Alexander Ash who can introduce them to a network of candidates who they would have otherwise been unable to reach.

Prioritising diversity in the recruitment and Interview process

It’s important to remove the reliance on CVs and instead focus on skills-based assessments. CVs are not a successful predictor of job performance and can actually reinforce biases, with recruiters overlooking candidates for a role due to their name, level of education or location, despite these having little practical effect on the role. Skills-based assessments on the other hand give a much fairer overview of a candidate’s true ability and provide the insights you need to find the best match. When administered in conjunction with the interview, they can also create a more engaging experience that gives candidates room to tell their stories.

Even the best, most highly-trained interviewer can have a bad day, so it is equally imperative for HR teams to implement structured interviews, ensuring that everyone is receiving the same set of highly-targeted questions. This offers far better insight into how each candidate would approach the role.

Talent teams should also look to engage and communicate with candidates throughout the entire recruitment process. Groups who are historically disadvantaged tend to withdraw from the hiring process if confidence begins to wane that they will actually progress. By leveraging a combination of text messaging, WhatsApp and conversational AI throughout the process, hiring teams can prevent candidate dropoff.

Onboarding a diverse workforce
While the hiring process itself is critical, it’s also important to prioritise inclusive onboarding, as well as culturally relevant support during an employee’s tenure.

Creating retention programmes should be a priority for talent teams and will even help recruitment once designed. A good place to start is by gathering qualitative and quantitative feedback to understand whether employee retention is higher or lower for minority versus majority candidates. Once feedback is gathered, talent teams can design retention initiatives.

Investing in unconscious bias and diversity and inclusion training can also be really beneficial, mitigating against any systemic biases within your organisation. Introducing targeted initiatives specifically designed for your organisation will also help with retention, such as the introduction of flexible working hours to support those with childcare commitments; providing time off for the observation of religious or cultural holidays, beyond those observed nationally; or conducting a review of company facilities, ensuring they are inclusive of employees with disabilities.

Now more than ever before, HR teams have a vital role to play in creating a recruitment process that accesses talent from a range of backgrounds and fostering an environment that allows a diverse workforce to flourish. In doing so, they will create a workforce that is reflective of modern Britain and reap the benefits and improvements in business output.

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