Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
Our commitment to doing more
What Does it Mean to Us?
It’s more than just changing your logo during Pride month. Being committed to equality, diversity and inclusion is something that must be sewn irrevocably into the beliefs of your business. It’s about taking active steps to counteract the biases – both conscious and subconscious – that would otherwise undercut and undermine the talent of some of your greatest candidates and employees. Ignore it, and you’ll end up with a homogenous talent pool and, ultimately, an extremely narrow set of perspectives in your business.
Who Are We Talking About?
Here in the UK, the seven legally protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010 are Age, Disability, Gender Reassignment, Pregnancy/Maternity, Race, Religion, Sex and Sexual Orientation. By law, no one may be discriminated against based on these characteristics.
However, just because something isn’t technically illegal, it doesn’t automatically make it okay. This wheel demonstrates all of the characteristics that may be used to discriminate against someone at work. While it may not be against the law to treat someone unfairly based on their level of education, their occupation or their communication style, every business should strive to ensure that each and every one of these characteristics is not only respected, but protected under company policy.
It's not just right. It's smart.
Having a Truly Diverse Workforce Results in:
Higher Job Satisfaction
Lower Staff Turnover
Higher Employee Productivity
Higher Employee Morale
Increased Creativity & Innovation Among Staff
Improved Problem-Solving Abilities Throughout Organisation
Diversified Skills, Behaviours and Attitudes
How to Implement ED&I
Make it clear in all branding that the business is committed to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. This way, people from more diverse backgrounds will feel more comfortable applying for positions in the company.
Ensure that any job adverts or social media posts are not geared towards a particular demographic. This means making sure your language isn’t too masculine/feminine or exclusive of certain cultures, and using imagery that doesn’t imply exclusivity (for example, using a photo of a group who happen to be exclusively caucasian/male/able-bodied etc.).
This also means either creating a website that is accessible by default, or an optional accessible version.
We as humans tend naturally to gravitate to and associate with those who are similar to us. Unfortunately, this creates biases, whether conscious or not. It’s for this reason that any hiring campaigns have as wide a reach as possible – if the business relies entirely on referrals, over time the talent pool will become homogenous.
It’s not enough just to say you’ll do something – you have to back it up with action. Ask your recruiters for diverse shortlists, have multiple stakeholders assess applications to reduce bias, and consider screening candidates anonymously (without personal information). This will let their experience and capabilities speak for itself.
"Trusting Your Gut"
Bias is a powerful thing. Unconscious bias, doubly so. Sometimes, when you get a gut instinct that someone isn’t right for a role, it’ll be down to your keen insight into their character. Other times, you’ll actually be falling into the trap of unconscious bias. Having unconscious biases doesn’t make you an awful person – they’re largely taught and automatic, hence “unconscious” – but the way to counteract them is to acknowledge their potential existence and scrutinise your thoughts to see exactly where that gut instinct is coming from. Here are some examples of different biases to which you may unknowingly be falling victim.
We often feel we have a natural connection with those who we deem to be similar to us. While this could be down to something somewhat harmless like a mutual love of Star Trek or an identical pair of spectacles, it can get insidious when things like race, gender and age come into play.
Is that candidate like you? Or are they just like you?
This is your industry-standard stereotyping. Perception Bias refers to how we see a group of people depending on how they’re depicted in the media. Again, this doesn’t have to be something as obvious as race or sex: Perception Bias can affect your views on someone depending on what university they went to, or a company at which they used to work.
The Halo Effect occurs when one positive or negative attribute can influence your perception of someone’s other, unrelated attributes. The most obvious example of this would be that if you find someone extremely physically attractive, you will be more likely to view them as kind, funny or intelligent as well. Conversely, if you think someone is extremely unattractive, you are more likely to assume they are incompetent, unhygienic, boring etc. (This particular example of the Halo Effect has come to be known as “Pretty Privilege”, and is worth reading up on.)
Our Confirmation Bias causes us to pay attention only to information that confirms our pre-established opinions and assumptions. Because of this, we then ignore any information that would contradict those opinions or assumptions. This is what gives rise to most conspiracy theories – a few strands of speculation loosely suggesting that the Earth is flat are believed, whilst literal video footage of the globe is denied.
This Confirmation Bias extends to a person’s assumptions about groups of people. It goes hand in hand with Perception Bias.
Again, it isn’t about whether or not you have unconscious biases. You do. Everyone does. What matters is whether or not you acknowledge and actively act against them.
Applied is a blind recruitment software that measures candidates on their merit alone, without being held back by recruiters’ biases relating to their personal details. Companies like Asos, Penguin Random House and even Her Majesty’s Government use this tool to keep their screening anonymous and purely competency-based.