D&I in recruitment: An interview with the Head of Talent Acquisition at Ingeus
Ingeus offer services to improve opportunities and help create strong societies in which people have the independence, knowledge, and know-how to thrive. In 2021, they provided employability, wellbeing and youth services to over 98,000 people with a disability, illness or health condition. And helped more than 30,000 unemployed people back into work.
Alongside the services they provide, D&I (diversity and inclusion) is a key priority within their own organization. We recently interviewed their Head of Talent Acquisition, Emily Garvie, to discover what role D&I plays in recruitment. Below, Emily shares how and why it’s embedded in everything they do.
- What’s your role at Ingeus and what does this involve?
I am the Head of Talent Acquisition at Ingeus, supporting all TA (Talent Acquisition) activity across Employability, Justice, Health, Youth and our CIC EAP support. I am also Chair of our D&I network. This allows me to represent TA fully in our meetings and ensure within TA that D&I activity is front and centre of all that we do and fully embedded in our culture.
- How do Ingeus ensure that inclusion and diversity are central to its operations?
Inclusion and diversity are a core part of our culture and business. It doesn’t form a separate bunch of activity or initiatives; it is fully embedded in all we do. We have a hugely passionate network of employees across our business that champion D&I thinking into all our activities. The nature of our business means that we want to fully represent the societies that we support. As such, it is driven from the top in our organisation.A key part of ensuring success is that we act with humility and recognise that we are not perfect. We continually work hard to improve the experience that our candidates, employees and participants have with us.
- What does being an inclusive recruiter mean to you?
To me it means removing any barriers that would stop someone considering us as an employer and creating strategies to allow different communities to find our recruitment processes as pain and stress free as possible. It means challenging hiring managers on their assumptions and practices and being a champion for all talented people.
- What are the first steps you feel organisations should take to create an inclusive hiring experience where candidates feel accepted and secure?
It was important to me when I joined Ingeus that we created a singular view of the candidate experience and to then step back and consider what that experience looks like if I am neurodiverse or deaf or a member of any marginalised community. TA must have an important role in the D&I communities in any business, to build relationships to allow us to listen to the challenges and barriers that are placed in the way of potential candidates.
- Are there any strategies that your organisation has implemented and received direct successes from that other organisations could learn from?
Building the capability of the TA team to be able to support colleagues and candidates is critical. One of our first activities was to be proactively inclusive in the process. This meant actively approaching candidates who have told us that they need an adjustment, to assessment for example, and offering up some suggestions that could make the process better for them. Working with our Disability Network we created a crib sheet to support TA to offer help and suggestions to allow the candidate to feel supported throughout.
- In your experience, what are the greatest obstacles to creating a truly diverse, inclusive and welcoming community in an organisation?
Being able to secure the budget is always a challenge. As well as putting together a case for that with demonstrable outcomes.The output of D&I initiatives can take time and employer brand awareness can be difficult to measure. Making sure your leadership teams are taken on the journey with you is important. Having data and insights is critical to be able to inform them of the shape and make up of your existing organisation.
- As part of your business, Ingeus provides services to create and improve employment for people with disabilities and beyond.What would you say to businesses that think it’s ‘complicated’ or ‘expensive’ to employ people with disabilities/neurodiverse conditions?
I would tell them that they are really missing out on a huge population of talented people that will make your organisation richer with their expertise and experience. As an employability expert, we are passionate about fully representing the community that we support. People functions need to support managers to make the hiring of colleagues that may need some extra support easier.This includes offering guidance, advice and education to make sure the candidate, employee and manager have a good and positive experience. If the experience is a good one, it creates momentum in hiring.
- In the space of diversity and inclusion, what are the next steps for your business?
For us we are excited about growing our own expertise. Recently, our TA team took part in specialist neurodiversity training to allow us to really break down our processes and continue to improve. We’re exploring how we can widen the net for all talent, and we are building sincere and meaningful partnerships with suppliers in conjunction with our internal D&I networks. How we share our talented people is key to us too. Working with our Marketing team, we will be featuring the brilliant people that work in our business via employer brand content – making sure that we are featuring as diverse a group of people as possible. We’re just getting started on this journey in TA and we are excited for the future.
- Why should organisations make disability a priority in their DE&I strategy?
If you don’t, you could be ruling out some incredibly talented people who could add significant value for your business, even allowing you to unlock wider customer groups or commercial opportunities. Diversity creates diversity. If candidates see a broad range of people they are more likely to consider your organisation, potentially addressing other D&I challenges that you may have.
- How important is it that organisations make an effort to improve the inclusivity of their recruitment processes?
Having a recruitment process that is inclusive allows all candidates to perform at their best. Removing barriers and being flexible is key.