Many organisations think they’ve got diversity covered in their hiring mix – but when we scratch the surface really, they are just looking at key obvious diversity metrics such as gender and age. When we consider that all States and Territories in Australia have Antidiscrimination Acts with a range of 19 to 22 different attributes upon which discrimination can occur – do we really have everything covered?

I would argue that there are lots of different types of diversity we need to consider – not just gender. With up to five generations in the workforce we need to think about age more often. But also consider diversity such as those with neurodiversity or different sexual orientation, family status and carer responsibilities.

Plus, when our new candidates arrive – are they “allowed” to bring their whole selves to work? By that I mean we may have diversity in hiring, but do we have the inclusion part mastered? I’ve heard and seen many a story of women being recruited to address a gender imbalance only to land in a very male dominated workplace or “lad culture” where they’ve really had a terrible experience. The same might be true for Aboriginal people where the workplace is just not a culturally safe space for them to be.

Its like buying a plant and then not giving it any light, water or soil to allow it to flourish. And wondering why it hasn’t grown! Or worse still spraying it with poison and wondering why it doesn’t like its new environment?

Most organisations truly want a diverse workforce, to be inclusive and to reflect the communities they serve. And are very genuine in this intent. However unfortunately have not really given this the level and depth of thinking it deserves. Three of the big mistakes I see is that:

  1. They haven’t considered all the barriers to hire (for diverse groups).
  2. They haven’t trained or educated their hiring managers (doing most of the interviewing) what to watch out for, questions not to ask, or unrealistic expectations (think flex in your working practices to attract and accommodate certain groups).
  3. They have not reviewed their workplaces for aspects such as gender friendly, carer friendly, neurodiverse or disability accessibility and accommodation etc.

One model or solution would be to take each group (yes over 22 attributes) and possible many more, individually and consider the barriers to hire for each. Plus, a key question – are we attracting people in this group? What’s stopping them from Applying / getting through our process (could be bias or unconscious bias) or the process itself. And when they arrive is it a supportive and friendly environment. Allowing them to flourish. If not, why not? Top tip – also go ask them (Diverse groups/their allies and representatives).

If you’d like to know more on this subject, we train it on our Recruitment Skills courses including unconscious bias in recruitment practices and I’m happy to share some of the exercises and deeper thinking we do to enable clients to thrive in the diversity space.

Get in touch today.