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‘Diversity’ is a buzz word – but what does it actually mean for companies and what is being done in terms of recruiting the right talent?

Over the past couple of years, the media has paid a lot of attention to the diversity agenda. Much has been made of the percentage of female CEOs, board members and directors of FTSE 100 companies, as well as equality in the workplace for all races and religions. This is a positive reflection of how the world we live in is changing – and how the focus for talent is  becoming more about the most experienced person for the job rather than the ‘best fit’ person for it.

The price of ignoring the diversity agenda

Many organisations are now making diversity and inclusion a priority, with many creating new corporate social responsibility agendas and policies to show how their workplace is an open and fair place to work. For example, a recent interview study found anecdotal evidence that the lack of an equality management policy could lead to high labour turnover, loss of talented employees, employment tribunals and the associated bad publicity (Ozbilgin & Tatli, 2011).

Examples of diversity agendas can include job share programmes, targeted attraction strategies, Return to Work schemes and working networks to support staff through difficult times.

How can recruiters add value?

Due to the evolving nature of the way companies operate, recruitment professionals need to ensure that the service we are providing – both to our stakeholders and to our candidates – is relevant while adding value. Therefore the recruitment landscape has evolved in a way that helps companies attract the right talent by being an inclusive and attractive workplace. An employer’s brand is extremely important in attracting and hiring individuals. The way it approaches all aspects of diversity for its workforce and customers is a significant factor in the choice to join or go to the competitor next door.

As such, the best resourcing strategies ensure that every part of the end-to-end recruitment process is aligned and flexible enough to meet the requirements of all of your target audiences. Some companies have even begun to introduce specific recruitment processes and targets during the assessment and selection period to support their diversity strategies. For example, they might need to have a certain number of females on the shortlist for a particular role and then interview a predetermined percentage of these.

Companies that set specific and achievable benchmarks for their diversity strategies tend to be those who perform best. They help assess performance against equality and diversity aims in the appropriate way.

Finding the right diverse talent

The positive change in our inclusive and diverse culture in the UK brings a change in the customer bases of every company. To be truly customer-centric, you need a workforce that reflects your customers – so having the right attraction strategies in place will ensure the right diverse talent finds its way through your induction doors. A diverse workforce can also help you to become an employer of choice.

However you interpret it, and whichever area is most aligned to your current focus, diversity will remain an integral part of every company’s resourcing strategy and focus.

Written by Louise Gregory, founder, LGO Resourcing

Louise Gregory, founder, LGO Resourcing

Louise Gregory is the managing director of LGO Resourcing, a recruitment and HR consultancy company.

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