Diversity in the workplace and recruitment 

Equality and diversity in the workplace can be seen as a microcosm for equality and diversity in society at large. For businesses, getting this right at the recruitment and on boarding phase can set the building blocks for an inclusive and thriving workplace culture, which will in turn lead to a prosperous business.

6 tips to legally cater for diversity in recruitment

The Equality Act 2010 protects employees against discrimination beginning at the advertising and recruitment stage. Below are some simple tips that can assist you to ensure diversity is addressed during your recruitment:

  1. Advertise widely, do not solely rely upon recommendations from employees (who may be largely drawn from one sex, race or social group and so be the product of, or themselves suffer from, unconscious bias);
  2. Do not overstate the level of qualification required and make clear that equivalent qualifications are acceptable;
  3. Do not specify working hours or working patterns that are not necessary to the job in question. If a job can be done either part-time, full-time, or through job share arrangements then why not consider this? As well as avoiding discrimination (potentially against those with childcare responsibilities), this will widen the pool of possible candidates;
  4. Do not ask questions about health or disability before the offer of a job is made;
  5. Consider a guaranteed short list for disabled applicants, where they meet the minimum criteria for the role, along with any reasonable adjustments that might be required for the recruitment phase or during employment;
  6. Think seriously, and do your homework, prior to the use of automated decision-making technology to ensure there is not discrimination ‘baked in’. Amongst other issues, a number of technologies use historic decision-making to assess future decision-making, however these previous decisions may have been discriminatory.

Diversity in ongoing workplace culture

If employers get recruitment right, this will hopefully begin fostering a diverse workforce, however, to ensure this results in ongoing equality, the workplace culture has to reflect this.

Equality and diversity policies, as well as training on these, is very important to ensure that this culture is manifested through the leadership and monitoring of employees. In order to encourage and inspire, mentoring schemes can also assist junior employees to thrive.

Various key areas of employment should be subject to ongoing equality monitoring to ensure compliance with equality policies, such as:

  • pay and remuneration;
  • training;
  • promotions;
  • appraisals;
  • disciplinary action;

Champions and allies

Employers may want to appoint a workplace equality champion who can advocate for and monitor these equality issues, oversee training, and offer support to employees who have suffered discrimination. You might also consider linking with a relevant charity or organisation that promotes those issues which are important to your workplace.

Equality, diversity and inclusion are concepts that should guide a business year-round and throughout the lifespan of its operations. By promoting an inclusive workplace we can set about creating a better world.

This update is not a substitute for legal advice. If you would like further advice on promoting equality and diversity in the workplace, or are involved in claims related to discrimination in the workplace or recruitment, please get in touch directly, or with Colin Davidson, Head of Employment Law, at Edwards Duthie Shamash cds@edwardsduthieshamash.co.uk Direct Dial: 020 7803 3996 Mobile: 07903095593