Scotland is an incredibly vibrant and culturally diverse country, and we believe this should be reflected in the way we work. The promotion of diversity of race, gender, age, and culture creates positive and productive workplaces where collaboration and innovation thrive.
We partnered with the Community Interest Company Radiant and Brighter, and were funded by the Scottish Government’s Workplace Equality Fund through Impact Funding Partners. The aim is to address inclusive employment practices across Scotland.
Our previous work in this area supported minority ethnic women returners. It highlighted the profound need for employers across Scotland to increase their engagement with diverse communities, and to better understand how to access talented individuals they may otherwise miss out on.
This year’s funding through the Scottish Government’s Work Equality Fund, enabled us to facilitate open, frank discussions between Private, Public and Third Sector employers and BME women at events across Scotland. What was clear from this approach was the value in face-to-face conversations, with many employers reporting ‘lightbulb moments’ regarding their hiring practices that hadn’t previously occurred to them.
Hearing employers talk about their change in perception, whether it was around their approach to overseas qualifications, or some of the language they were using in job adverts, resonated with our audience and the support groups in attendance.
We also supported work placements for some of these talented women. They went into startups, social enterprises and large private sector businesses and we monitored the processes and practices.
The outcomes were very encouraging.
Most of the companies acknowledged they wanted more diverse candidates and, through the process, better understood how and where to attract those women.
The smaller businesses were quickly able to apply their learnings into their policies, imbedding inclusive practices into the DNA of their company’s culture and procedures.
The larger private sector employers changed their focus of candidate shortlisting to a more skills-based approach in order to better assess people with more diverse backgrounds and academic experience, from outside the UK.
Others realised the need to look at their web and social media presentation to better reflect a diverse workforce.
First impressions count, and website photos are no different.
Sustainability of the project – next steps
Diversity, whether it be age, race, gender or diversity of thought, is key to building a productive, modern business.
AAI continues to apply the learnings from this project in its day-to-day recruitment service. We help employers to design more inclusive job adverts, encouraging them to consider wider audiences in their decision-making processes, and to consider more inclusive on-boarding practices.
Throughout this project the BME community has explained to us what good practice feels like for them, and we at AAI are now better equipped to support employers who may be worried about ‘getting it right’.
We’re dedicated to promoting inclusive employment practices throughout the UK, and know that the Diversity Works project must continue on a larger scale to enact real change in how we work and involve people from marginalised backgrounds.
If you think you can help us to spread this vital work, we want to hear from you.
Let’s make it work for you.