Schools in Session – Practical Lessons in Diversity

Schools in Session – Practical Lessons in Diversity - People Development Network
Schools in Session – Practical Lessons in Diversity - People Development Network

Lessons in Diversity

Since Lord Davies review of boardroom diversity, the ‘D word’ has been the unavoidable buzzword on everyone’s lips.

And with the recent reports of the governments proposed gender pay gap reports, many businesses are feeling flustered at the thought of having to shift the balance and finally comply with equal pay.

There has never been a more outspoken time to petition for diversity, but despite the statistics and overwhelming information at our fingertips, many businesses are struggling to know how to implement diversity.

After a recent seminar by the reward management agency Paydata, ‘Building a business case for employee equality’, it’s come to light that many businesses simply don’t have the practical guidance to help them strategically begin to encourage more diversity in the workplace. We can all sit around talking about it until the cows come home, but there will be no change if it’s all talk and no action.

Whilst the latest statics and reports clearly show that gender diversity has made real progress, there is still a burgeoning gap to boost overall diversity.

As the old saying goes, it’s now or never, and now is the time to be working on diversity goals to ensure that your organisation reaps the benefits of a collaborative workforce.

Unfortunately, there is currently very little in surveys or statistics on the UK’s overall diversity in the workplace, as it appears the press are preferring a top down approach. But if we took some guidance from our cousins across the pond we might be able to take some useful insights into how we create this ‘dream diversity team’.


It Starts with an Interview

Being open minded about candidates is tough when you’re wanting to hire someone as fast as possible. In the rush to fill the void you can often end up hiring that great ‘culture fit’ rather than truly hiring for talent. But where does this help in the search for diversity?

A rule that companies like Facebook and Pinterest have adopted is to interview as least one woman and one underrepresented minority for every open position.

The basic fact is, you never know who you might find and the talent you might uncover when you pro-actively remove the boundaries.

If you feel that your company is currently massively underrepresented that it may put off those wishing to apply, find them on LinkedIn and drop them an email.

This can have a massive impact on your minority hires, and begin the slow trickle into a more diverse team.


Be Open

Too many businesses currently shy away from their own diversity statistics, hoping that if they sweep it under the carpet no-one will ever notice.

But rather continue down the garden path hiring your stereotypical persona, embrace the data that you have and let people know you have this gap that needs filling.

Pinterest proverbially bit the bullet and published their specific recruitment goals for 2016, shouting out that they wanted to increase the number of engineering for females and those of an ethnic background. Would these groups have applied for these positions without the press? Probably not.

We all like to think we’re opened minded about brands or companies, but in our minds they have a stereotypical employee who we know they’re going to choose.

So by coming out and saying ‘hey we want you’, gives everyone the confidence that there are no stereotypes.

If you’ve got talent, you’ve got the role!


Time to Train

The skills gap for your sector may be holding your company back from hitting its diversity goals, and this can be the where you get stuck.

Google has recently implemented a training strategy in historically minority colleges and universities teaching courses in the areas which they struggle to find the most talent.

Even from the most basic skills of sending a professional email to how to master a technical engineering interview.

If you can encourage a collaboration with a school or college where your most knowledgeable staff can impart their knowledge, you will not only open your brand up to industry recognition, you will be creating an endless resource of highly skilled employee’s from all backgrounds.


Marketing for Diversity

If your target audience won’t come to you, it’s time that you reached out to them, by effectively marketing the roles you wish to fill to your ideal demographic they can envisage themselves working for your brand and being part of the diverse culture you’re promoting.

Seeing yourself recognised and included even in the design of the marketing materials is a powerful feeling. Just think of the effect of the skin tone emoji, people appreciate being represented in world where we have a bad habit of portraying white people as the default.


As legislation continues to change every year to improve equality, embrace these actions and you won’t risk having a company that seems out of touch.

Diversity is not just a HR issue, it’s a worldwide issue that we all need to react upon.

David Walker
As a freelance writer within the business and marketing sector, I've spent many years working alongside SME's in an effort to grow and boost their business in the new digital age of marketing.

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