D&I in recruitment: An interview with recruitment agency, Monster

Our friends at Monster have been transforming the recruiting industry for 25 years. They aim to make every workplace happier and more productive by transforming the way employers and candidates find the right fit.

We recently interviewed their CHRO, Claire Barnes, to explore what part diversity and inclusion plays in their recruitment processes. Below, discover strategies that are helping them along the way.

  1. What’s your role at Monster and what does this involve? 
    I am the Chief Human Capital Officer at Monster. It’s a rather glamorous way to say that I am responsible for all things people related at Monster. From onboarding and workforce planning and strategy, to career development and benefits.

    For my brilliant HR team and I, our role is to make Monster the best place to work that we possibly can. 
  2. How do Monster ensure that inclusion and diversity are central to its operations? 
    ED&I (Equity, Diversity and Inclusion) is one of our key business priorities. When we set out our business strategy for the coming years, our ED&I strategy forms part of that. And, we have inclusion goals which are part of our annual business KPIs. We also have an ED&I session in our monthly senior leadership meetings – to educate and inform. 

    In addition, we have 6 active employee resource groups led by community members. These groups provide a safe space for our staff to speak with coworkers all around the world, at various levels within the organization, and who often have shared life experiences. We also have a diversity steering committee. This committee is comprised of leaders from each business function and in multiple countries. They are women, men, and members of minority communities who drive the Monster diversity strategy both internally and externally.

    We are far from perfect, but we are fully committed to ensuring that at Monster, our employees can bring their whole selves to work.  
  3. What does being an inclusive recruiter mean to you? 
    It means making sure every candidate has the same positive opportunity when they apply for a role and/or come and work at Monster. It means we actively seek out diversity when we hire. On a very basic level, we don’t look to hire carbon copies of ourselves. It also means seeing your hiring experience through different lenses and really questioning if it could be improved.  
  4. What are the first steps you feel organizations should take to create an inclusive hiring experience where candidates feel accepted and secure? 
    It sounds really simple but ask for feedback. Ask candidates who have been part of the recruitment process how they felt. Ask new starters in your organization - what did we do well, what could we do better, what would have improved the recruitment experience for them. Be prepared to really listen and consider what you could do differently.  
  5. Are there any strategies that your organization has implemented and received direct successes from that other organizations could learn from? 
    Last November, we launched our EDI&A (Equity, Disability, Inclusion & Accessibiliy) page on our website. The goal of this page was to externally highlight the work we’re doing internally to focus on our three main pillars: talent acquisition, leadership development, and employee engagement. The results have actually been quite surprising.  Not only did we hire 10 more women than men this year, but we also saw a significant increase in the number of women and non-binary applicants.  In fact, for the first time, we had more female applicants than male. We attribute this to our website, but also to our efforts to go out and seek more diverse candidates.  Likewise, we changed the statement at the bottom of our job ads to be more focused on inclusion than on the standard message of being an equal opportunity employer.   
  6. In your experience, what are the greatest obstacles to creating a truly diverse, inclusive and welcoming community in an organization? 
    I heard the saying “Culture begins at the top but it sticks to the sides”. This is so important when it comes to being an inclusive organization. The leadership team need to fully commit to creating that culture and lead by example in all they do. From setting the business strategy, to goal setting, promotions and policy changes. It’s not just about saying it, it’s about meaning what you say. 

    A key barrier I think can be fear. Fear of saying the wrong thing or doing the wrong thing. It’s so important to create psychological safety for all employees, so that they feel comfortable to open up. We will not always get it right but starting with positive intent, curiosity and being open minded to learning are key. Companies need to work on creating that safety through education, creating communities and creating a working environment which supports all employees.  
  7. In the space of diversity and inclusion, what are the next steps for your business?
    At Monster we have put in place a really good framework to foster inclusion. We have put the foundation in place and now we need to further develop that. All employees should be able to see themselves represented in their organization. When we do, we feel that we belong, and are more confident to be ourselves. At Monster we are focusing on inclusive succession planning, recruitment and development. Our other area of focus is allyship – what that really means and how to be a good and active ally. 
  8. Why should organizations make disability a priority in their DE&I strategy? 
    Well, of course we know first and foremost it’s the right thing to do. Making DE&I a priority enables businesses to create a culture where everyone can perform at their best. From a strategic point of view, we also know it makes organizations more competitive! In so many areas companies are facing skills shortages and they are struggling to hire. There is a huge amount of untapped potential from skilled workers who happen to have disabilities. When we make disability a priority, we can tap into a largely untapped talent pool.  With remote work, people with disabilities are far more able to join the workforce than in previous years; this pool of skilled talent can provide a different perspective and provide solutions to challenges we may not have even considered.   

    If your recruitment process is more inclusive, you’ll be able to benefit from diversity of thought and talent,  which gives you a competitive edge.lent, which gives you a competitive edge 
  9. How important is it that organizations make an effort to improve the inclusivity of their recruitment processes? 
    Certainly it’s extremely important to build inclusivity into the process, but talent acquisition cannot be the only area where inclusion is of focus.  Bringing in underrepresented talent into an organization that is not inclusive will most certainly backfire.  Employees need to feel safe, free to be their authentic selves, and comfortable speaking their mind.  If the company cannot provide this environment, diverse talent will leave.  I highly recommend starting internally and working your way out. 

Discover more

Hear more from Claire in our upcoming webinar - 8 steps to inclusive recruitment. We’ll also be joined by Emily Garvie, Head of Talent Acquisition at Ingeus. Join us to learn how to implement your inclusive hiring plan in 8 steps.

Texthelp, Monster, Ingeus