Inclusive recruitment and nurturing talent

Is your recruitment process inclusive and free from bias? Do you want to discover how you can hire the best possible candidates and nurture their talent in your organization?

What is inclusive recruitment?

Inclusive recruitment is a way of recruiting candidates that recognizes, understands and values differences in every part of the process. From connecting with candidates, to interviewing, hiring and onboarding. It’s accessible and inclusive to all people, flexible to different needs, and free from bias.

Inclusive recruitment helps us to open up our companies, and attract candidates from all walks of life. This gives us access to a much wider talent pool, and that’s important in our increasingly diverse world. Recruiting inclusively is also great for business. We all think differently, and with a diverse workforce we can open new opportunities, create new products, and generally make the most of everyone’s point of view.

You can learn more about the benefits of an inclusive workplace on our dedicated page.

Inclusive recruitment practices

We all want to feel like we belong. It’s human nature. In achieving a sense of belonging, we first need to feel accepted and included by others. As an employer, being welcoming and inclusive of everyone matters - at every stage of an employee’s journey.

That means we need to recognize and value diversity, right from the start.

15% of the world’s population have a disability. That’s 1 in 7 people. Around 15-20% of us have a neurodiversity such as Dyslexia, Autism and ADHD. With an accessible and inclusive recruitment process in place, we can truly promote equal opportunities for everyone. A process where every candidate feels invited, understood and empowered to succeed. This allows us to recruit the best person for the job.

Not only that, employees with disabilities are often empathetic, tenacious and resilient. People with neurodifferences often think and behave in unique ways. With this comes out-of-the-box thinking, creative solutions and more. Inclusive recruitment allows us to benefit from a wealth of talent that’s often forgotten. In fact companies that champion disability inclusion report 30% higher profit margins compared to their peers. Despite this, just 51% of people with disabilities of working age are employed. That compares to 81% of people who are not disabled.

Introduction to inclusive recruiting

Employees who experience great recruitment and onboarding into a new role are 69% more likely to remain in the company after 3 years.

In this series of 3 on demand sessions, learn how to make your recruitment and onboarding process more inclusive of neurodivergent and disabled talent. Even small changes can help your new hires to feel more valued, supported, and welcomed both in the short and long term.

In this on demand series, explore how to create a recruiting process that's accessible and inclusive to all people, flexible to different needs, and free from bias.

You’ll learn:

  1. Five key tips you need to know about inclusive recruitment
  2. How to create an inclusive Early Careers recruitment strategy
  3. How to transform the first 90 days of the employee experience

    You’ll also receive a free guide: Disability inclusion in recruitment and beyond

6 ways to make your recruitment process inclusive

Below, we take a look at six ways you can ensure your recruitment process is genuinely unbiased and inclusive - allowing you to hire the best possible candidates.

  1. Write inclusive job descriptions
    Every organization develops their own language; it is part of the world you operate in every day. If you want to attract people who are different from the status quo, they need to understand what is expected from the start. Make sure the description is written in Plain English, and free from jargon. Ensure the criteria is clear and reflects the skills and competencies needed to do the job.

    It’s also helpful to invite applications in alternative formats, or provide tools on your website to help individuals complete an application, or submit their CV.
  2. Inclusively design the application process
    Think about how easy you can make it for a diverse range of job applicants to apply for roles. In your recruitment system, check that the messages and instructions displayed throughout the application form-filling process are friendly and inclusive, not overly formal. Design the application process in a simple way that does not confuse or frustrate applicants.

    By looking at the language used in recruitment outlets, we can help improve the accessibility and inclusion of the process.
  3. Be flexible to different needs
    An inclusive interview and selection process will recognize diversity, and be flexible to different needs. To improve, we must be willing to challenge the way things have always been done.

    Encourage candidates to demonstrate their talents in different ways. For many people, interviews can be overwhelming. This is especially true for people with neurodifferences, and leaves many people unable to showcase their talents. Rather than relying on a written CV and interview alone, allow candidates to share their talents and suitability for the job in other ways. For example, by submitting a video CV, a portfolio of existing work, or completing a work task or trial.

    Provide candidates the opportunity to share their life circumstances, every step of the way. To give all candidates a fair chance to show you how good they are, it’s important to ask candidates if they require any adjustments at each stage. But do so mindfully. Rather than asking for candidates to ‘disclose’ or ‘declare’ a disability, we can simply ask if there are any supports or adjustments they need to help make the process a more positive experience.
  4. Prepare for an inclusive interview
    During the interview stage it’s important that we’re mindful of unconscious bias. With preparation, the panel will know exactly what to look for and how to elicit the information needed. This can reduce the chances of making a biased decision, and an evidence-based one instead. Preparation involves agreeing in advance:

    - the individual roles of panel members
    - the questions that will be asked
    - how the candidate’s answers will be scored
    - whether there will be supplementary questions
    - the potential impact of implicit or unconscious bias.

    Planning gives us the time we need to concentrate on the things that really matter during the interview: setting the right tone, finding the best means for candidates to demonstrate their capabilities, asking questions, listening, writing notes.

    Now that many interviews are held online, we also need to include more time in interviews for sound delays, screen freezing, and any technical issues that might come up.
  5. Create a disability inclusion and neurodiversity policy
    A lot of the advice given so far helps us to reduce systemic bias throughout recruitment. By putting policies in place, we can support hiring teams to follow best practice. Having a policy can also help us to be more inclusive throughout all other stages of an employee's journey. It helps us to make sure that all employees are treated fairly, and have what they need to succeed.
  6. Involve a diverse panel
    We can reduce bias further by making sure that selection and interview panels include a diverse panel. Including multiple people throughout the process helps to balance decisions. This is improved by making sure the panel is representative.

Transform your onboarding process

80% of all disabilities are invisible. 76% of people with a disability or neurodiverse condition do not share this at work.

An inclusive onboarding process helps our staff to feel included in their new workplace, and comfortable to be themselves. It also makes sure employees have what they need to succeed in their new role, right from day 1.

Onboarding with inclusion in mind

We get one chance at a first impression and onboarding is the single most impactful opportunity to lay the groundwork for a new employee’s sense of belonging. An inclusive onboarding experience allows employees to achieve high performance, and a sense of belonging.

Here are 6 tips to aligning onboarding and inclusion efforts to help new hires establish a sense of belonging right from the outset.

6 tips for inclusive employee onboarding

  1. Prior to onboarding, many new employees have a fear of what their expectations will be and whether they will fit into the culture of a new organization. To ease these fears, it’s important to bring diverse leaders into the onboarding process to show commitment to inclusion and diversity.
  2. Consider accessibility of all onboarding materials. Everyone understands in different ways. Some people may also have access needs. These can be visual, auditory, cognitive or physical. Providing onboarding materials in multiple formats, gives our employees choice in how they access and understand information.
  3. Ask what you can do to support staff at work. Give all employees the chance to open up and share their experiences with you. Doing so helps us to understand our people better, and creates the chance to offer personalized support.
  4. Offer tools that allow all employees to achieve in their own way. Demonstrate inclusivity by giving all staff tools that allow them to choose how they work - without them having to ask. For example, inclusive technology that allows staff to hear text read out loud, dictate information, and more.
  5. Introduce a buddy system. Joining a new company can be overwhelming for anyone. But for people with a disability, or neurodifference, it can come with extra anxiety. This can be due to a fear of being seen as different, or a fear of asking for support. With a buddy system, all people can feel welcome, safe and secure.
  6. Employees are the heartbeat and pulse of the organization. We must have a culture that promotes safe spaces where employees can bring their true and authentic selves to work every day. Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are a great way to highlight support for diverse communities within our organizations. Through onboarding and aligning ERG participation, we’re positioned to funnel enthusiastic employees toward resources that can increase inclusion, retention and belonging.

Transforming the first 90 days of the employee experience

In this recorded webinar, our panel shared key tips that'll help you consider the accessibility of your onboarding materials, and empower employees to drive their own success.

On the webinar hear:

  • How to improve the hiring process to make sure it's as inclusive as possible.
  • The ways that Employee Resource Groups support workplaces and employees in breaking down barriers and stigmas
  • A lived experience of ADHD in the workplace.

Nurturing neurodiverse talent in the workplace

Employees thrive best in a place where they feel supported, valued and celebrated. That’s why, alongside inclusive recruitment and onboarding, it’s also important for us to build an inclusive company culture. This means a place that embraces differences, makes sure employees feel heard, and helps the entire workforce to feel connected.

There are many ways everyone in an organization can help neurodivergent colleagues succeed

Use inclusive language

Always speak kindly about people, and do your best to avoid hurtful words or tones. Some people prefer person-first language to describe their neurodiversity, such as “a person with autism.” Other people will prefer identity-first language, such as “an autistic person.” Instead of making assumptions about how you should refer to people, ask each person about their preferences and how they’d like to be addressed and described.

Listen actively

Neurodiversity is not one-size-fits-all. Provide plenty of opportunities for neurodivergent people to express their needs. Listen to these team members and show you respect their perspectives by acting on ways to improve their work experiences.

Create a culture of accountability

We should always look for ways to better support neurodiverse talent. Diversity and inclusion are ongoing efforts that take time and a continual willingness to change.

By educating everyone on the nuances of neurodiversity and committing to making the workplace a better space for everyone’s professional growth, you can create an environment where neurodiverse people will feel empowered to stay with your company.

Allowing neurodiverse talent to thrive starts with transparent leadership. It’s carried on through your people and is supported by community initiatives.

Retaining neurodivergent talent - How to create an environment that encourages success

In this on demand webinar, discover how to create an environment where neurodivergent employees can thrive. Hear from neurodivergent employees as they share their experiences of neurodiversity and what empowers them to succeed. Gain insights from brands leading the way.

You'll receive 2 sessions and 1 guide including:

Session 1: Empowering neurodivergent superheroes & eliminating kryptonite at work

Session 2: Improving the employee experience: lessons from leading brands

Guide: Unlocking neurodiversity in the workplace

You'll also receive a bonus special where we take a look at dyslexia through the eyes of Dyslexic TV presenter Jay Blades MBE.