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Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officers and other Diversity and Inclusion positions have become very prominent and visible in many organisations today, but what do they actually do and are the companies they work for fully committed to having a diverse and inclusive work force? To fully understand Diversity & Inclusion, we would need to establish a satisfactory definition and we would also need to look at what the benefits of having a diverse and inclusive company are. 

Diversity can be described as the various ways in which individuals differ. This can include none visible differences such as nationality, educational background, religion, sexual orientation or life experience as well as more visible differences such as gender, ethnicity, race or age 

Inclusion can be described as valuing individual differences and providing opportunities to enable everyone to reach their full potential. 

Now that we have an agreeable definition, I challenge you to honestly ask yourself the following question about your company “are we truly a diverse and inclusive company?”  Organisations would only commit to being more diverse and inclusive if they saw the benefits and to be a bit more cynical, if being diverse and inclusive reflected on their bottom line. 

We believe that the benefits of organisations having an integrated D & I strategy include the following:   

I. Increased market share - Organisations with an inclusive culture are best placed to understand and respond to changing demographics (marketplace and workplace), as they may connect better with emerging demographic and increase their market share. 

II. Productivity and innovation – A diverse organisation can out-think, out-innovate and out-perform a homogeneous organisation. This translate into delivering richer solutions, obtaining better results as well as maximising productivity, innovation and creativity. 

III. Employee retention and attraction – Employees from diverse backgrounds feel valued and respected in an inclusive work environment and are less likely to leave. This makes it easier for these organisations to also recruit from a diverse pool of candidates. 

For us in the recruiting sector, we often talk about diversity and building inclusive teams. Inclusive recruitment has now gained ground within companies globally.

Inclusive recruitment is the process of connecting with, interviewing, and hiring a diverse set of individuals through understanding and valuing different backgrounds and opinions. Inclusive recruiting should be intersectional and consider more than just gender or race. 

An inclusive recruiting environment considers how different experiences, opinions, and values can work together to achieve a common goal. By creating a diverse workforce, your teams are pushed to think outside their comfort zone and challenge new thoughts or ideas.

Practicing inclusive recruitment can help your team grow efficiently, create happier employees, build strong teams, and help your organization out-perform your competitors. Here are a few inclusive recruitment best practices for your team to adopt. 

1. Educate the team - The first step in creating a more inclusive recruitment program is to educate your team on what biases might look like. A good starting point will be “unconscious bias” training.

2. Widen your candidate search - If you find that your candidate pool is comprised of individuals with similar education, background, and experience levels, your search may be too narrow. After all, similar people tend to use the same channels to apply to jobs.

3. Choose the right supportive tools - It can be incredibly difficult for humans to completely eliminate bias, particularly if it is subconscious. This is where having the right supportive tools, including AI recruitment tools, can come into play.

4. Build a diverse talent pool - Building a diverse talent pool allows you to see different perspectives, as well as recognize that experience can come outside of the workforce. Diverse qualifications can also add something new and exciting to your team, encouraging everyone in the department to think differently.

5. Involve diverse people in the hiring process - In order to create a diverse workplace, it needs to be run by diverse people. When you have a number of different individuals following along in the hiring process, you can get feedback, perspectives, and opinions from people with different needs and expectations.