Embracing ED&I in recruitment
The Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (ED&I) agenda has picked up significant pace in recent times. Movements such as Black Lives Matter and #MeToo have generated public support that has, in turn, put pressure on businesses to deliver on their promises to become more diverse.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that it’s not been on the corporate agenda before now. There’s been a wealth of data suggesting that more inclusive environments are a breeding ground for innovation and productivity, which translates into better financial and commercial performance. As a case in point, global management consulting firm, McKinsey, has produced numerous research in recent years that showcases the positive impact diversity can have on revenue and productivity.
The business case for diversity is certainly strong, but perhaps more importantly, there’s now a recognition from many employers that ED&I is simply the right thing to do. But it requires more than a look at your own organisation’s internal inclusion strategies. Achieving true diversity and inclusion will need a review of the practices across the entire talent supply chain – including recruitment suppliers.
ED&I in the recruitment profession
For organisations partnering with an external staffing company, knowing that the supplier’s diversity values are aligned with your own is understandably key. If a business is acting as an intermediary between your organisation and its talent pools, you want to know that they share your firm’s cultural aspirations when it comes to inclusivity and equality. There are, of course ways that you can assess this, and most employers will have a PSL of fully audited suppliers who meet specific criteria.
But ensuring that your external partners are consistently working towards your equality standards in their work with your business – and, indeed, that their own workforce is diverse itself – can be time consuming to say the least.
However, knowing that a recruitment business adheres to strict professional standards and is committed to constantly driving best practice can help identify if a potential partner meets your diversity expectations (and those of your talent pools).
Our APSCo recruitment members, for example, follow strict codes of conduct – and that includes meeting specific requirements such as championing equality and ensuring there is no discrimination in their business.
In order to really drive the diversity agenda across the recruitment profession and ultimately support diverse recruitment practices for the benefit of end-hirers, we have also launched APSCo Embrace. This is an all-encompassing Equality, Diversity & Inclusion campaign which includes a number of different strands to support recruitment firms with their own ED&I approaches. This includes:
- APSCo Embrace ED&I Resources hub – a central resource for APSCo members which contains practical information and resources to help members hone their ED&I approach. These include best practice guidance and policies, specific resources relating to all the protected characteristics, support for leaders, research, inclusive comms and accessibility.
- APSCo Embrace events – A quarterly webinar programme focused on ED& I issues, the first of which will look at how to get started with developing an authentic ED&I strategy for a recruitment firm. APSCo is also launching a new ED&I Forum which will allow staff responsible for this area of member businesses to access expert content and share ideas.
- APSCo Embrace Steering Committee – A panel of members, diversity thought leaders and inclusion experts who will look at new initiatives to help the recruitment sector lead the way in equality, diversity and inclusion.
Starting at the source
The launch of APSCo Embrace is just the first phase of a wider strategy which will see APSCo introduce specific ED&I training, a new mentoring programme, an ED&I index and a focus on social mobility supported by member-based research. We are also collaborating with the REC on a research project to better understand the level of diversity in the recruitment sector itself. This information will help us drive change in recruitment that will, in turn, support the equality and inclusion objectives of the businesses that staffing companies partner with.
Hiring process should support the creation of diverse workforces and its APSCo’s belief that the recruitment sector itself has a huge part to play in supporting HR teams and changing the culture within the broader employment market. We will continue to drive best practice ED&I standards across our member-base, using APSCo Embrace to ensure companies are fully equipped to deliver the diverse employment practices that today’s employers need.