If you’re not having a conversation about diversity and equality at work at the moment, then you should be.
In the recruitment sector, we’re seeing more organisations asking for diverse shortlists. Diversity recruiting is not just a nice to have or optional extra any more. Diverse teams create a more productive and innovative workplace. In fact, studies show that the more diverse a management team is, the more profitable the company.
We’ve seen an increase in the number of FM and Property companies taking diversity seriously. Major players such as ISS and Mitie have taken steps to eliminate bias from their recruitment process. They're running initiatives such as diversity awareness training, and internal events. These companies are creating clear models for best practice within the sector.
But while some have begun to take diversity, equality, and inclusion seriously, the FM and Property sectors have a way to go.
For those looking for practical tips on their DEI strategy, here’s our advice on creating an inclusive and diverse workplace:
1) Celebrate difference
Don’t just hire people who look and speak and think like you. Actively consider the people who are different from you, and who would bring a new point of view to your team.
The differences people bring will add value. They will increase empathy within your team, and improve your working atmosphere. This will lead to your company being a more attractive prospect for a diverse range of candidates.
Before deciding someone won’t be able to fit with your team, consider what they might add to it.
2) Level the playing field
If you want to increase the diversity of your team, you need to acknowledge that the playing field isn’t level. Giving everyone a fair chance means making a conscious effort to hire blind.
Some quick tips for doing this:
- Anonymise applications – no names, addresses or pictures
- Offer flexible working hours where possible to accommodate parents
- Make it clear that you’re an equal opportunities employer when you advertise jobs
- Actively encourage applications from candidates from all communities in your adverts.
- Sign up to become a disability confident employer and consider adjusting the workplace to be accommodating.
3) Listen to every voice
If you want to create a diverse workplace, it’s important to give your staff a voice, and listen to what they have to say. Give them as many opportunities to feedback as you can and allow that feedback to shape their workplace.
In an inclusive business, every voice matters. Send out quarterly employee engagement surveys or ask for 360 feedback. Set up a simple employee suggestion process and encourage staff to contribute ideas.
4) Champion diversity and equality within your leadership
Leaders need to model diversity from the top. This means committing to putting diversity and equality at the top of the agenda. DEI should always be part of the decision-making process. It’s important that there is transparency around it.
- Publishing diversity statistics and gender pay statistics.
- Holding regular Q&As with leadership.
- Ensuring leaders receive DEI training.
- Setting up a Diversity and Equality Steering Group.
These can all positively impact the way diversity grows throughout the company. Actions like these will help make sure there is accountability for DEI within the organisation.
5) Measure and learn from others
The only way to make sure the things you’re doing are having the impact you want is to measure them. Use both qualitative and quantitative methods to collect data on your efforts. Begin to build a picture of what works and where there are gaps in your strategy.
Take time out to look at what other companies are doing and gather best practice. See what you can learn, not just from your own sector, but from organisations that go above and beyond to improve workplace diversity. Partner with companies and charities that can support and advise you in the work you’re doing.
Diversity and equality - it's not an optional extra
With fewer candidates on the market, and companies vying for the best talent, prioritising diversity is a necessity. It’ll improve your candidate attraction and employee retention, and ultimately create a happier, more profitable organisation.