EngagementDiversity & InclusionHow to supercharge your organisation’s performance by increasing diversity

How to supercharge your organisation’s performance by increasing diversity

Diversity has been the buzzword for businesses recruiting talent for some time now. But with the ‘great resignation’, as well as the UK’s severe skills shortage, organisations are being forced to look at how they can improve their recruitment processes and retain talent. Diversity is no longer just a nice-to-have but an essential requirement for any business that wants to thrive, or even just survive

HR leaders are being challenged at board level regarding recruiting diverse talent. Why?

Diversity leads to innovation – the more points of view you have reflected around the decision table, the more new ideas there will likely be. In certain industries, a lack of sufficient diversity has resulted in ‘group think’ which has not only stifled growth but made recruitment and retention difficult for HR managers. While diversity of thought doesn’t necessarily require the presence of under-represented groups, at Avado, we believe progressive UK employers can enhance their innovation muscle by outreaching to harder to reach talent pools.

A lack of role models who are members of an individual’s ethnic, gender, age or socio-economic group means that a candidate or employee is unlikely to see themselves progressing in that organisation, which further exacerbates the issue. A 2019 study by Adcolor, a community championing diversity and inclusion within the creative industries, found 19% of black employees did not see someone of their own ethnicity making it to a management-level position, compared to just 3% of white people.

Research from McKinsey shows companies which embrace diversity and inclusion are likely to have higher profit margins – 27% higher to be exact – than their competitors. They are also 8.5 times more likely to satisfy and retain customers, and 55% more likely to out-perform their competitors, according to research from The Josh Bersin Company.

Why are organisations struggling with diversity?

The typical workplace is rife with systemic bias from legacy processes that suit only a narrow group of society. Such processes include working hours that mean one parent often needs to compromise their career to be able to pick up the kids from school.

Within early careers specifically, the pace of change can be glacial. Inflexible entry-level requirements – such as demanding specific A-Level grades, a university degree or a certain class of degree, also immediately rule out important parts of the talent pool. Many current recruitment practices still focus almost exclusively on university graduates, despite the Department for Education estimating only around half of young people are choosing the university route.

Organisations are missing out on some of the best and brightest individuals, who are currently put off from applying, despite having all the cognitive and behavioural skills to thrive in the workplace.

Only when adopting a flexible approach, will organisations be able to attract diverse talent. Such an approach might include offering apprenticeships to candidates and valuing those who have good soft skills such as communication, time management or listening skills as much as those who have specific qualifications on paper.

Even if organisations do manage to reach and attract the right candidates, they often fail to ensure these candidates have a fair shot at making it past the early stages of the recruitment process because they are simply not inclusive enough – they have not created an environment where applicants can be who they really are, and one that values their unique talents and perspectives.

Early careers programmes

When it comes to Gen Z however, reaching the right candidates and attracting them to your business are not automatically linked.

Organisations all too often find themselves caught up in a brand war where the ‘trendiest’ companies seem to attract all the best candidates.

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This is where early careers programmes come in. They are one of the best ways of boosting an employer’s reputation, ensuring your employer brand gets in front of the best Gen Z talent, and creating a business-ready, diverse talent pool.

These programmes are designed for the next generation of young talent, to bridge the gap between education and employment by preparing young people with the skills they need for the workplace.

Employers use these programmes because managing ‘early career’ recruitment in-house, and accessing different talent communities, can be time-consuming and expensive. Programmes such as Avado’s FastFutures work-readiness programme provide young people from all backgrounds with the digital business skills organisations need, kick-starting their careers and addressing the skills gap for employers.

Such programmes can not only help reach out to underrepresented communities but involving employer sponsors provides a great opportunity to build a brand with these talented young people or to reset their organisation’s brand image with them.

How else can organisations access and retain diverse talent?

1. Look outside the ‘graduate’ category 

Avado asked 1000 17-18 year-olds in the UK what their career plans were, with less than half saying they planned  to go to university. Reasons for this ranged from concerns about getting into debt, to the traditional university experience feeling irrelevant to them and preferring to develop skills on-the-job.

While graduates have a lot to offer, so too do other young individuals and having a graduate scheme as the sole point of entry means you are limiting your talent pool to the organisation’s detriment.

2. Move beyond CVs

Often, CVs represent how well a candidate can sell themselves, meaning they can be less than objective. Some people are naturally better at promoting themselves than others so future stars can be screened out.

Using AI-powered candidate role matching and behavioural data instead can help ensure you find the right people to fill your vacancies and increase retention rates. This is offered by Avado’s FastFutures programme.

3.Ensure culture is centre stage

Avado’s research highlights that organisational culture is the most important factor for more than three-quarters of Gen Z when starting work, with 41% expecting inclusivity in recruitment practices.

It is no good simply hiring employees from different social and ethnic backgrounds, different genders and sexual orientations if these employees do not feel truly included in your organisation.

They must be given opportunities to progress in their careers through learning and development, be paid fairly, treated respectfully, and given a voice that is listened to and acted upon. If this does not happen, they will simply leave.

4. Allow people to earn while they learn

Apprenticeships allow for on-the-job training, which incorporates real-life business challenges, meaning both employees (new and existing) and employers benefit from skill development. This has a measurable impact on an organisation’s bottom line. Employees are also able to earn a living wage as they learn.

Incorporating the points mentioned and choosing an early careers programme that is right for you will future-proof your business by ensuring you are finding the right Gen Z talent, making those candidates truly want to work for you and helping ensure they stay in your organisation, driving your business forward.

—-

About Avado 

Avado support UK employers to future proof their workforce by building critical digital business and data skills. Our solutions are helping the likes of L&G, AXA, British Airways and McDonalds to:

  1. Win the war on early careers talent attraction by accessing our large community of diverse, work-ready Gen Z learners who have graduated from our award-winning FastFutures programme
  2. Protect themselves from the ‘Great Resignation’ in a high wage inflation market by reskilling talented existing employees in future skills through our digital apprenticeships .

To find out more, visit www.avadolearning.com and FastFutures.

 

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