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Data for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in recruitment – are you using it right?

Data for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in recruitment – are you using it right?

By Neil Armstrong, Chief Commercial Officer at Tribepad

In the quest for creating more equitable, diverse and inclusive (DE&I) workplaces, organisations are increasingly turning to data to inform their recruitment strategies. Because after all, you can’t change what you can’t measure. Yet as we found through our Stop the Bias research, it’s evident that data’s story is as complex and nuanced as the lived experiences it seeks to understand. Our latest iteration of the report showed that 89% of people believe they face bias when applying for a role, and 76% would prefer anonymous applications, with only 33% believing that the diversity data that is collected benefits them as a candidate. The problem isn’t that we’re not collecting enough data – sometimes it can be that we’re not asking the right questions of it.

It’s not enough to just capture any data. It’s not all made equal and you need to have both depth and breadth. So for example, say you have data on recruitment levels and initial analyses might show that ethnic minorities are proportionately represented in the recruitment process. However, a deeper dive might reveal disparities in the seniority of positions offered or the industries involved. For instance, the representation of ethnic minorities in senior roles within professional services might starkly contrast with their representation in entry-level care roles. Similarly, a superficial look at application success rates across different racial groups might overlook factors such as eligibility to work in the country, skewing the numbers making it into recruitment processes.

When you have the data, you need to interrogate it and then do something with it. A holistic approach to recruitment necessitates reevaluating hiring policies and procedures with an ED&I lens. Standard application forms and processes, often unconsciously tailored toward a White British demographic, may alienate potential candidates from varied backgrounds. Ensuring job advertisements are accessible and resonate with the diversity of the community served can mitigate drop-offs before the interview stage. If you find that all your applicants are from a certain demographic, is it because your processes are geared up to them performing well? Investigate why certain candidates drop out. If they get all the way through and come to interview and perform poorly, could it be that your interview panel is not representative and so they don’t feel comfortable? Financial barriers to accessing employment opportunities, such as the inability to afford appropriate interview attire, have emerged as significant obstacles for candidates, particularly among the younger generation. Organisations should consider more accessible alternatives, such as video interviews, to level the playing field.

Despite proclaimed commitments to diversity and inclusion, we see time and again that the homogeneity of leadership within organisations often contradicts their stated values. A genuine representation of diversity at all levels, particularly within the boardroom, is crucial for embodying ED&I principles and bringing them into everything you do. Engaging with employees from ethnic minorities to gauge their perceptions of representation and inclusivity within the organisation can provide valuable insights for improvement. So data doesn’t just come from spreadsheets, but can be qualitative feedback from employees and candidates,

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Achieving ED&I does not conclude with recruitment and getting people through the door extends to how individuals progress within the organisation. It is crucial to examine the processes of promotion and advancement to ensure equitable opportunities for all employees once they start with you. Addressing diversity and inclusion and backing up corporate claims with substantive action requires integrating Talent Acquisition with Human Resources teams and approaches and ensuring their representation in decision-making processes. How often do you sit down as a senior leadership team and really examine what’s going on in your company, looking at all the data and insight available to you?

The value of ED&I data lies not in its ability to enhance an organisation’s’s image but in its power to drive meaningful change. By blending quantitative data with qualitative feedback, organisations can gain a comprehensive understanding of their recruitment processes and candidate experiences. This approach leads to real and beneficial targeted improvements, moving beyond tokenistic measures to genuinely embrace diversity and inclusion within your business, making it a stronger one as a result.

Embracing diversity is not just a moral imperative but a strategic advantage. Organisations committed to understanding and utilising data to help achieve EDI can unlock potential and drive success, embodying the principle that diversity, in all its forms, enriches the workplace and enhances business outcomes. With all the data and insight we capture, it’s crucial to look at what it tells you about your business, not just what it tellsyou about candidates.

The path to enhanced equity, diversity, and inclusion in recruitment is multifaceted and complex. But that doesn’t mean we should give up. What it demands is that organisations to critically engage with their data, policies, and practices. By asking the right questions and committing to genuine change, businesses can leverage diversity as a powerful driver of innovation and success.


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