Equality and Diversity – Are we always ‘Walking the Walk’?

Even though we are seeing many articles written on Equality and Diversity, respecting differences and accepting disabilities, are we doing the most we can or are some of us just walking the talk?

Employer Bias And Selecting Candidates For Interview.

On this occasion I would just ask you to consider the area of recruitment. If you want to take people on board based on their skill set for a particular role, have you considered altering what type of information is collected prior to selecting candidates for interview?

Afterall, in what way does someone’s name, gender, marital status or even area of residence affect their ability to add value to your business?

Is this something you have changed, or even given thought too? Well if not, you aren’t alone. Many employers we speak to are blissfully unaware that they are allowing their unconscious bias to creep in – or could be seen to be.

In doing so, can an employer ever really fully live up to the values of Equality and Diversity and non-discriminative behaviour? And what does this leave you open to as an employer?

Are Employers Biased? And If So, How?

During 2017, a study was carried out by the digital recruitment platform ‘Someone Who’ into potential selection bias.

The results revealed that half of people involved in recruitment admitted that bias does in fact have an influence on their choice of candidate. A further 20% actually did not know whether it did or not.

This is quite startling when you think about that for a second. This means that statistically, 70% of people who read this article and who employ staff could either subconsciously be using some form of bias – or at least be perceived to be – or, aren’t sure if they do or not!

In recent headlines, It has also been noted that candidates have had the rug pulled from under them feeling they were rejected for a role, not because of their lack of skill set but because of their gender, name or even down to them being tattooed.

How rigidly is Equality and Diversity being enforced?

You may or may not believe that the above really can influence some individuals. It was only recently that an article was produced in a magazine reporting that a male – Ziyad Marar – had been rejected for interview 100 times. When he reluctantly changed his name to Paul, he was then invited to four interviews out of the seven job applications he had made.

It begs the question – do employers take Equality and Diversity seriously? Or do employers merely see this sort of thing as
something they have to do because that’s what people want to see or believe they do?

This isn’t just about colour, sexual orientation or being disabled in some form. Women have reported feeling they have been turned down for roles, based on their looks or either their lack of make-up, skirt length or even hair colour!

How can businesses change to ensure they are ‘Walking the Walk’

Ask yourselves, is it time to re-look at how you decide who you wish to interview? Have times not changed where new techniques need to be considered to assess the suitability of a candidate?

Should everyone be trialling more ‘blind recruitment’ strategies?

For example, what if you were not to collect information such as name, age, gender, religion and even, where the individual resides?

What if a decision was made purely based on skills and experience contained in a cv and a detailed covering letter?

Would it be fair to say you would then be adopting a process that leads to a more diverse workforce, where the values of equality and diversity are truly lived up to and not just written or talked about?

Other than complying, what are the other benefits of Equality and Diversity?

In adopting this process, are you not in turn enhancing your brand, attracting and retaining more staff and other ethical businesses to work alongside?

The advantages don’t end there – In addition to employing a more diverse workforce, are you not assisting with lifting the spirits of skilled candidates that receive rejection after rejection just because they don’t fit our ideal preference, a preference that often has very little to do with adding value to a business.

Let’s face it, so many of us promote mental awareness days/months, how ‘it’s good to be different’, how ‘we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover’ and even go as far as changing our logos for the week of Pride, however, unless this is a consistent theme throughout all of our working activities then realistically, can we are still state we are truly ‘walking the walk’?

Leave Your Comments.

How can companies ensure they are not only meeting equality and diversity requirements, but actually embracing them? Leave your comments below.  You can also find out more about equality and diversity as part of our “recruitment consultancy” services.