Bright Network D&I breakfast reveals valuable insight


Bright Network’s Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) Breakfast was held on the 18th May at Gordon Ramsay’s Heddon Street Kitchen.

As part of their aim of helping the world’s best companies find the most relevant, diverse and outstanding internship and graduate talent, Bright Network’s Anu Manthri welcomed 25 key diversity champion firms who have pledged to support a range of diversity initiatives for underrepresented groups.

Having thanked firms for their continued work in the D&I arena, Anu made a short presentation on the attitudes and perceptions of younger people entering the workforce regarding their diversity data. The audience were then challenged with a series of questions designed to invite discussion, share insights, take away best practice and network.

The presentation centred on a figure of 75% that represents the number of people with disabilities who do not disclose that they have a physical or unseen disability as part of the application process. On this issue, both BP and Accenture are working on changing the perceptions that candidates with disabilities have less chance of success when compared to those without disabilities. Both have provision for a range of disabilities and have a team member dedicated to working with candidates who declare a disability.

The open discussion session asked questions around offers being made on recruiting targets versus meritocracy, how early should employers engage with students in order to make a difference, and what are employers and universities doing to welcome more diverse intakes and encourage authenticity from applicants?

On the first point, for example, Teach First blind screen all applications but then discover some diversity groups are underrepresented. Strategic work is currently taking place that looks into how they can ensure all groups do as well as they can during the recruitment process. It was also encouraging to see that many of the companies present do not have quotas, but work to aspirational targets - however, tactical marketing to specific groups can be problematic without it being clear that they are being targeted, because they sit within a specific diversity vertical.

In terms of engaging with students early on, firms such as Vodafone and Bloomberg are educating students from traditionally underrepresented groups before they attend university.  While this is a long term strategy that won’t immediately generate demonstrable ROI, it is seen as a valuable exercise that makes companies more memorable and relatable.

The London Business School discussed how they are putting representatives from different groups front and centre in their marketing collateral (digital and print) as role models to encourage diverse intakes and more authenticity.

Employers recognise the power of internal groups, for example representing LGBT, and are utilising this in their marketing to demonstrate diversity.

Overall, all attendees demonstrated how they are enthusiastic about and committed to treating diversity as a challenge to be overcome though consistency, delivering good content and investing in the technology that will deliver better insights into behaviours.

The take away message was that business as usual means reflecting the D&I agenda, amplifying it beyond the teams championing it within the business, and ensuring D&I is seen as impacting positively on business outcomes and profitability.    

It’s widely anticipated that, as the millennial generation cement themselves in the world of work, the diversity landscape will change organically and in a positive way.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

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Bright Network D&I breakfast reveals valuable insight