“D&I programmes tend to be viewed from a top-down organisational perspective, while D&I is in fact a highly individual human issue.”

What is diversity and inclusion?

Without getting into a definitional quagmire, at its core when we talk about diversity and inclusion we are talking about having businesses and teams that reflect society at large; we are talking about having a wide range of experiences and opinions represented and we are talking about making sure that everyone is respected and included.

What are some examples of diversity and inclusion initiatives that are working well?

There are several companies that are attempting to take a proactive, transparent and accountable approach, including tech giants Google and Facebook. Monzo is often touted as a good example in the UK. They publish annual updates on diversity and inclusion — the 2018 report (published in March 2019) shows their improvements across several diversity metrics including race, age and gender. However, while progress has been made in terms of visible diversity, ethnic minorities and team members above the age of 36 reported being more likely to feel excluded. This highlights the crucial distinction between diversity and inclusion, and emphasises the importance of having a culture and practices that enable all groups to thrive once they are recruited into a company.

What do you think are some challenges with implementing diversity and inclusion programmes and how are they overcome?

Unfortunately, evidence from the UK, the US and across Europe indicates that D&I initiatives haven’t created the significant change they were expected to. The Global Gender Gap Report 2020, for example, offers the sobering finding that none of us will see gender parity in our lifetimes. This is despite diversity and inclusion being a topic of intense focus and investment over the last few years.

  • Increase engagement (mentoring, sponsoring, targeted recruitment drives)
  • Increase contact between different groups through cross-training (e.g. graduate schemes with rotations) and cross-functional teams
  • Encourage social accountability through greater transparency, diversity task forces and diversity managers

What are some creative ways to proactively source candidates from underrepresented communities?

The great thing is that there are already a lot of existing pipelines from which to recruit candidates from underrepresented communities. Sifted has very conveniently curated a list of

  • Invest in an inclusive company culture. This is foundational for recruiting diverse talent.
  • Track diversity metrics in the recruitment process, not just for employees.
  • Address bias in job descriptions such as gendered wording.
  • Adjust the recruitment process to reduce biases that could filter out good candidates. (Unbiased recruitment tools like Be Applied are one part of achieving a fairer and more inclusive hiring process.)

Any final thoughts or comments?

There are a lot of great resources for people wanting to explore these issues further. Here are a few:

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