Encourage diversity to cultivate success

What happens when you advertise a job vacancy? Do you get a wide range of different kinds of people applying? Do you have a breadth of choice – people from different backgrounds, cultures, sectors and life circumstances? Or do you find you attract the same kind of applicants over and over again?

If you are continually recruiting from the same pool of talent, you could be unconsciously limiting your organisation’s strategic and financial success because there is increasing evidence that a more diverse organisation is a more successful one.

“Research by McKinsey has found that the companies that score highest for gender or racial and ethnic diversity are more likely to have a financial return above their national industry median.”

So how can you change the way you recruit so that you have a more diverse pool of talent to draw from?

For starters, it’s not just about balancing gender and ethnic diversity by setting quotas or launching one-off interventions, it’s about creating a culture that attracts top talent, improves employee engagement and cultivates innovation.

Difference is good

Gender and ethnic balance is crucial along with attracting people from different sectors, with different ways of thinking and behaving. The real value of diversity is in the creativity that springs forth when you bring different minds together to work towards a common purpose.

Recently, we’ve had conversations with leaders in both the healthcare and charity sectors that highlight the challenges they are facing when it come to bringing diverse talent on board.

“People continually move around within the sector, but we want to attract people with experience from other sectors,” said one CEO. “In key areas like communications, operations, technology, development and change management it’s become clear that the only way to move forward is to bring in fresh perspectives and ways of working from outside the healthcare sector.”

For the charity sector the challenges are similar. Positions either attract people who are commercially-minded but not tuned in to the charity’s values, or those with years of sector experience but little commercial appetite. In the changing operational environment, not-for-profits have to find individuals who possess both these qualities.

So how to do it?

  • Market your positions to the right people by offering to provide what they are looking for. To do this you need to understand what your values are and what you want to achieve – what you already have in-house and where the gaps are. Read more about how to do this in our earlier posts about talent management and recruiting today for who you need tomorrow.

You then need to work out what motivates the people you need, and what they are looking for in a employer. A mother returning to work after having a family will be looking for different things than a young person new to the job market. Can you offer what they looking for? That could be challenging project-based work, flexible working condtions, a freelance contract, leadership opportunities, personal development or autonomy. The aim is to inspire those people to want to work for you by delivering on those promises.

  • Use values based recruitment and interview techniques. If you only look at applicants skills and experience then most likely you’ll end up attracting and appointing the same kind of people as before. By being clear about what values fit with your organisation’s culture and reviewing CVs and interviewing with those at the forefront of your assessment criteria you’ll open the path to individuals who might be different to usual, but whose values match up with what you’re trying to achieve.

We have recruited people into senior positions in the healthcare sector who came from a variety of sectors – the audit office, the charity sector and financial services. These people were attracted to the roles by what our client could offer  – senior positions that offered both flexibility and the opportunity to make a difference to the infrastructure of their local commmunity. Their motivations and values were in line with the organisation’s.

  • Work with a recruitment partner who understands your ‘people strategy’. Your recruitment partner needs to invest in understanding your organisational culture, it’s challenges and aspirations, and they should continue working with you to retain and develop the people you find so that you build an organisation that talented people actively seek out.

With 78 per cent of UK companies failing to have a senior executive team that reflects the demographics of the population or workforce, it is clear that diversity is still a big challenge for most organisations.

What we are helping our clients do is to become one of those strategically and financially successful organisations that inherently know the value of diversity – that difference not only helps give opportunities to people who may have experienced exclusion, but also brings enormous benefits to the organisation as a whole. It’s a win-win.


To find out more about how we could help your organisation bring in diverse talent register with us, or drop us an email today nici@talentgateway.net

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