How to build an inclusive, refocused recruitment approach

Reed Talent Solutions’ latest webinar, ‘Refocus your approach: building an inclusive talent acquisition strategy, brought together four experts to discuss how to develop a top-class, inclusive talent acquisition strategy.

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“Diversity is a fact, inclusion is a choice.”

On-demand webinar

This statement from Inclusive Leadership Consultant Jackie Handy set the tone for a fascinating discussion around how organisations can adapt their talent acquisition strategies to make them more inclusive and alluring in the current candidate-short landscape.

Jackie was joined by Martin Mason, Founder and CEO of HR consultancy Unleashed, Salma Khan, Senior Manager, Global Mobility Team at PwC, and Annie Parry, Continuous Improvement & Project Lead (RPO), Reed Talent Solutions.

The quartet explored how to improve diversity and inclusion through the recruitment process, how to ensure a positive candidate experience, the importance of an employee value proposition and gave their penultimate top tip for businesses looking to refocus their approach to recruitment.

Improving diversity and inclusion through recruitment

Jackie highlighted that professionals’ priorities with regards to where they work have changed, placing diversity and inclusion centre-stage when people consider what they want from an organisation.

“In terms of prospective talent, people these days are looking for something slightly different; things that are meaningful, purpose driven and people orientated,” she said.

Martin highlighted that removing unintended barriers from process was a key step to make recruitment more inclusive. He cited examples of a client who had created an 18-step recruitment process - from application through to onboarding - with 14 of the stages containing elements of bias because it had adopted vary traditional recruitment processes.

He said: “If I was someone with Asperger’s syndrome, dyslexia or dyspraxia, for example, it would have been nigh on impossible for me to get through, but they would’ve been absolutely perfect for the role, as one of the roles involved data analytics. The people who are going to be strongest with that are people with absolute focus of thought and conscientiousness etc, which people with neurodiverse conditions typically have.”

“It’s the simple, most pragmatic things which make the biggest difference in talent management and inclusive recruitment,” he added.

Jackie concluded that employers changing their mindset on what ‘reasonable adjustments’ should actually encompass, plus the intelligent use of hybrid and flexible working, would provide organisations with a larger talent pool and help them to find talent in new places to diversify their hires.

Bolstering the candidate experience

The panellists highlighted that one way to develop a more inclusive recruitment process and diverse workforce is to examine the candidate experience from application to onboarding. Annie stated that this could be a reason why some organisations are struggling to acquire talent at present:

“So many candidates have a poor experience during the acquisition process and then companies wonder why they aren’t joining. Did you think about how you were looking after these people every step of the way?”

She noted that companies may need to change the way they approach the selection process by examining what prospective candidates can do, rather than what they can’t do:

“At Reed Talent Solutions we talk about equity rather than equality: has everybody got the opportunity to really show the very best of themselves during that selection process? Is the process designed to allow candidates to turn up and show what they’re made of, or is it simply designed to filter people out at every opportunity?”

Jackie added that organisations should make sure that their representatives in the selection process understand how to be inclusive.

“How can you ensure the candidate experience is truly inclusive? Train your people who are going to be interviewing and hiring to do so properly,” she said.

Developing an excellent employee value proposition (EVP)

With organisations fighting to secure talent , developing an EVP has become a critical attraction tool. Annie stated that the current battle for talent was fiercer than she has known her 23-year recruitment career. She explained that while having an EVP was essential, it is also important for organisations to be true to themselves, or risk going back to square one.

“An EVP has got to be unique and authentic – you can’t just cut and paste what everyone else is doing,” she said. “It’s nice going to market and saying this is what we’re all about, but if the reality is very different, then people will find that out, either during the interview process or when they join, and they’ll be disappointed – it’s not going to help attraction and retention.”

On top of retaining authenticity, there are other elements which companies need to include in their EVP in order to stand out.

“Your EVP should offer choice, recognition and reward in areas that are increasingly important to the emerging workforce,” Salma highlighted. She added that “the way people work, where they work and the nature of your workplace must all underpin your EVP.”

Top tips to refocus a recruitment process

To conclude the session, each speaker was asked to give attendees one piece of advice on how to refocus their approach to attract talent in a difficult market. They gave the following answers:

Martin: “Start with a diagnostic and remove the barriers to entry.”

Jackie: “Look outside of the box, speak the candidate’s language and don’t be lazy with the process.”

Salma: “Incorporate corporate flexibility within your talent attraction strategy and pull together a policy around it.”

Annie: “Look at every part of the process, really question if it’s necessary, and if it isn’t, then take it out.”

Find out more about the solutions Reed Talent Solutions offers to support you with developing a refocused, inclusive recruitment process.

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