Five tips on promoting equality and diversity in recruitment

Anonymised applications and diverse selection panels are among the actions employers can take, says R Franka

In the latest of his ‘Five tips journals’, R Franka reviews modern and balanced approaches to encourage EDI in the hiring process.

  1. Positive action and anonymised recruitment: positive action encourages applicants with a particular protected characteristic to apply for a role or to use that characteristic when determining which candidate to appoint in the eventuality of having two equally appointable candidates. According to the Equality Act, positive action does not allow for ‘positive discrimination’, which is unlawful as it gives applicants from underrepresented group’s preferential treatment in the recruitment process, regardless of their ability to do the job. 

    Anonymised recruitment (colloquially known as blind recruitment) refers to a technique where personal details from a candidate’s application are removed. This usually involves applicant names and references to any dates. However, we can go further by removing all socio-demographic details that could affect decision making, such as age, home address and education. This promotes parity and fair recruitment by solely focusing on skillset, capability and suitability for a particular role.

  2. Diverse selection process: encourages applications with all backgrounds by providing opportunities to the widest relevant audience. Employers should focus on advertising platforms that actively engage with people of all scales of social classification as well as a range of protected characteristics. Businesses can also monitor the applicant pool to ensure that it remains diverse as well as offering any reasonable adjustments to those candidates with disabilities.

  3. Guaranteed diverse recruitment panels: this means an organisation is committed to having a diverse recruitment panel for every interview. A panel should include staff members with protected characteristics on every occasion, not only to promote fair and just decision making but also to make the interviewee more comfortable.

  4. Staff network groups: these are groups aimed at empowering and promoting engagement with staff members. All employees, regardless of whether they have the characteristics of the network group or not, can take part. Staff networks provide a platform for employees to raise issues that matter to them, as well as taking a lead on proposing positive actions and solutions. This approach can be appealing for potential candidates and make an organisation more of an employer of choice.

  5. Equality, diversity and inclusion training: this can be conducted in person and/or via e-learning modules. These sessions are detailed training modules on understanding equality, diversity and inclusion as well as their importance in the workplace. Such training sessions are paramount to reassure applicants of the organisation’s stance on EDI as well as sustaining internal awareness of EDI in modern society.

The above tips promote employer brand, organisational EDI and impartial recruitment. At the same time, they mitigate legal risks and unwanted workplace cultures. These measures have been recommended in line with Acas guidelines and CIPD-related research.

R Franka is an independent writer