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How inclusion is changing the way we think about recruitment

Male IT professional stands and speaks with group of male and female colleagues seated at table in school staff room. Several open laptops sit on table.

Technology is fundamentally changing the world around us. New generations who have grown up in our digital world have new expectations of their work environment. There’s a widening digital skills gap, and a shortfall of 900,000 skilled ICT jobs across Europe by 2020. Therefore, attracting good people is only going to get more difficult. But by being inclusive, we can start filling these gaps.

Access more talent by being inclusive

Small conference meeting in modern workspace.

How can we attract and retain the right talent to fill this skills gap? A good place to start is with inclusivity. Having a diverse and inclusive approach to recruitment means you’ll gain access into untapped pool of talent. And as a bonus, diverse companies have happier employees and are more innovative.

Far from being an existential threat, the skills shortage is very real, and 79 percent of UK CEOs say that a lack of skills is one of their top business concerns. One way you can strive to fill this skills gap is to widen your talent pool by looking at untapped sources. And with 73 percent of employers saying diversity encourages creativity and innovation, it’s no wonder why they count increasing diversity as a workplace priority.

Inclusive recruitment

One way you can encourage inclusive hiring is to work with you employee resource groups within the organisation. They’ll help create hiring programmes or advocacy. They will be able to give you feedback on their experiences and how you can improve your organisation.

And another great way to raise awareness is to work directly with non-profits, and schools, to create scholarships, events, and training opportunities. (For example, at Microsoft we have an inclusive hiring program that includes an Autism Programme, ability hiring events, and supported employment. We also run networking and community events, apprenticeships, and more, to ensure we employ diverse talents who can help us innovate.)

Make your organisation accountable

Small business team collaborating in modern workplace.It’s important to tie your diversity and inclusion commitments into your organisation’s values. This will help drive change from the inside out. And whilst attracting diverse talent is important, you also need to ensure that you provide opportunities for everyone in your workplace to do their best work. (For example, by making these commitments a core priority at Microsoft, we have introduced expanded parental leave and training and education.)

Most importantly, we’ve made inclusion a ‘core priority’ for leaders and employees. Leaders are held accountable, by tying a portion of their compensation directly to diversity progress. Diversity and inclusion is also part of an employee’s performance review and growth process, and they are able to deepen their learning about diversity, and make inclusion a daily part of their roles.

Encouraging a culture where everyone is heard, valued and included is vital. This includes having employee programs that help advance inclusion and having partners with shared values. Also, empower employees with flexible work opportunities, and provide them with technology that is built with inclusion in mind.

A long-term commitment to being inclusive

By engaging in different perspectives, you will challenge and stretch your thinking. You will enrich your employee experience. And you will ultimately empower the community around your organisation and the world.

But it’s important to remember: change won’t happen overnight. Diversity and inclusion is a long-term commitment, and it takes effort. But by making it a core priority, tying it into business and leadership KPIs, you’ll increase your organisation’s worth. And your workplace will become an even more creative, attractive, and exciting environment to be in.

Find out more

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