In organisations with a strong purpose and impact on society, inclusive teams are crucial for success. Teams need to reflect the diversity of the society and communities they work in. And they need to foster innovation, creativity, empathy and more. It doesn’t just happen though. Creating inclusive teams requires focus and clear goals to ensure that this is not just an after thought or something people consider if they have any free time. There needs to be a genuine desire to include people and to work on driving change. 58% of job seekers look for diversity and inclusion in employers and they are looking for more than a statement buried on page 5 of a job description or a bland statement on a website.
Here’s 3 ideas to get you thinking about this subject:
1. Focus on the benefits
We want to live in a fair and equal world where everyone has opportunities to pursue the career they want to. That’s just one of the reasons for inclusive teams. There are also huge benefits for organisations. Research shows inclusive teams have more new ideas and are more creative in problem-solving and decision-making. Inclusion leads to a better understanding of the world so that more ideas are debated, so inclusive teams make better decisions. And if that hasn’t convinced you, those decisions are made quicker with around half the number of meetings. Different perspectives bring different ideas and approaches which enhances the resilience and reputation of organisations who focus on this.
2. Who are you reaching?
To understand where to focus efforts and attention, first look at your data. Who are you reaching with recruitment currently? And crucially, who are you not reaching? Some focus on understanding your current situation will help you understand where to focus efforts and attention to reach a wider range of candidates. Your communications need to speak to what people are looking for. Think beyond the usual inclusion statements on job descriptions. They are important, but for someone to feel an employer is serious about inclusion they will be looking at the team, the work, the communications and more. And people will be looking for what you say about diversity and inclusion and how you back that up with actions.
3. Un-bias your biases
We are all naturally drawn to people more like ourselves. So, it makes sense that, without a focus on this, we recruit people like ourselves. To address this takes some analysis work to understand where there are biases in your recruitment process. Start with the communications and look at where there are biases and get feedback from people. And then look at things like taking names off applications, having different people review applications and training for people involved in recruitment. Each stage of the recruitment process needs to be looked at and considered from different perspectives to understand where there are biases that might be putting people off applying for your role.
We are often asked for quick fixes, or the top thing an organisation can do to ‘fix’ inclusive recruitment. The truth is there is no one quick fix, there are a series and range of actions that need to be looked at to reach more people. And it’s an ongoing process which needs ongoing review to consider how to reach different people. And when you do, the benefits are clear, people are happier, more productive and stay longer in organisations where they feel they can belong.
About Mo Kanjilal
Mo Kanjilal is Co-Creator at Watch This Sp_ce, a multi-award-winning diversity and inclusion company. During a career in international technology corporations leading global teams, Mo worked on creating inclusive teams and engaging employees.
After working in smaller digital companies on similar initiatives, she co-created Watch This Sp_ce during the pandemic. The company works with a range of organisations in different sectors to help them understand what changes they need to make and how to drive those changes and engage people. Mo is also a Charity board Trustee, a Non-Exec Director, a Conference Speaker, and Writer.