Inclusivity: creating a thriving workplace
Barriers to inclusion
Christos Tsaprounis, People & Culture Director at Auto Trader, acknowledges:2
“There are barriers to inclusion that are deeply rooted into our societal and workplace structures. As a leader in your business you have the opportunity to educate yourself by working with your people to understand their experience at work, the barriers they face, and support them in overcoming them together.”
He adds: “At Auto Trader we run a diversity and inclusion workshop for all employees called ’One Auto Trader’. The workshop is run across 1.5 days and explores in an engaging way what diversity and inclusion means for our business. We create a safe space for colleagues to explore their own biases, how to challenge others in a constructive way and be active allies of inclusion.”
Inclusion starts with recruitment. Acas, the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service, suggests a number of simple strategies to ensure hires reflect the diversity of our communities.
- Advertise a job in at least two different places to reach a wide range of people.
- Have more than one person involved at each stage of the selection process.
- Encourage recruiting managers to be aware of unconscious bias.
- Hold back some details, such as the candidates name or sex.
- If possible, have one interviewer on the phone, to avoid decisions based on physical appearance.
Focus on neurodiversity
Let's look at neurodiversity specifically. The Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD) suggests identifying the specific skills needed for a role. Don't recycle job descriptions or gravitate towards people who tick 'all the boxes'.3
The CIPD suggest five best practices.
- Ensure job descriptions are as clear and concise as possible. Avoid jargon and be clear about what are ‘must-have’ and what are ‘nice-to-have’ skills.
- Provide opportunities for candidates to disclose their neurodiversity. You should also discuss possible accommodations at every stage of the process.
- Don’t write off neurodivergent applicants with a patchy educational or work history. This could be due to lack of support in the past.
- If it’s not essential for the role, don’t be overly critical of spelling errors. This might rule out talented people with dyslexia.
- Ensure candidates are in a quiet space, free from distractions, before and during the interview.
Research conducted by Discover Autism Research & Employment, Autistica and the Centre for Research Autism also suggests sharing questions with candidates before an interview.4
The McKinsey research identified three essentials for an inclusive workplace:
1 McKinsey & Company. Published: 2020. Accessed: 2022. https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/diversity-and-inclusion/diversity-wins-how-inclusion-matters
2 Acas. Accessed: 2022. https://www.acas.org.uk/improving-equality-diversity-and-inclusion/unconscious-bias
3 CIPD. Published: 2018. Accessed: 2022. https://www.cipd.co.uk/Images/neurodiversity-at-work_2018_tcm18-37852.pdf(PDF,0.4MB)
4 DARE. Published: 2020. Accessed: 2022. https://axia-asd.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Neurodiversity-Employment-Survey-Adjustments-Interim-Report_v1.0.7.pdf(PDF,0.8MB)
5 Equality and Human Rights Commission. Published: 2021. Accessed: 2022. https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/equality-act/protected-characteristics
6 CIPD. Accessed: 2022. https://community.cipd.co.uk/cipd-blogs/b/cipd_voice_on/posts/tribunal-rulings-show-need-for-caution-over-gender-critical-views
7 McKinsey & Company. Published: 2022. Accessed: 2022. https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/people-and-organizational-performance/our-insights/hybrid-work-making-it-fit-with-your-diversity-equity-and-inclusion-strategy
8 McKinsey & Company. Published: 2022. Accessed: 2022. https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/people-and-organizational-performance/our-insights/hybrid-work-making-it-fit-with-your-diversity-equity-and-inclusion-strategy
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