Equality, diversity and recruitment

Equality, diversity and recruitment

At the latest Recruitment Society event, held at the attractive riverside offices of law firm LG on Wednesday 25th March, Isabel McKenzie and Mike Burnitt of HR consultancy McKenzie delivered a practical, interactive session focusing on the impact of equality and diversity on recruitment.

They stressed the importance of organisations having "a diverse and equal talent pool", and noted that today's focus on diversity is by no means restricted to the public sector.  One of the biggest practical problems that commonly needs to be addressed is that of untrained or unaware line managers (hence the current popularity of the consultancy's diversity awareness-raising programmes).

A comparison of the consultancy's principal activities ten years ago and now showed how the emphasis has shifted from basic compliance-related issues to more proactive and strategic interventions.  The presentation also outlined some of the key drivers of equality and diversity initiatives, and highlighted some of the more common causes of discrimination claims.

The point was firmly made that equality and diversity should be integrated into all recruitment and selection processes.  Aside from mere legal compliance, this helps organisations to become more diverse employers, and can also protect them from external scrutiny.  (It's worth noting that public-sector organisations now have to follow the ‘audit trail' right through to their external private-sector recruitment partners.)

Common generic failings - still surprisingly prevalent, it seems - include things like poorly defined and outdated selection processes, ‘gut feel' (i.e. non-objective, unjustifiable) decision-making, and recruiting against outdated stereotypes.  And there are still recruitment ads that manage to get things all wrong!

The formal session ended with a brief interactive quiz - in which the various audience teams all impressed with their knowledge of relevant legislation - before the usual drinks and networking got under way.

● The next Recruitment Society presentation will be the annual graduate-focused event, on Monday 20th April.  More details of this will follow when available.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

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