The REC - Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Summit


The REC - Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Summit

Posted on 12 December 2023

Driving equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) is not only is the right thing to do it also makes good business sense. Increasing staff retention and recruiting the best talent as well as driving creativity, innovation and ultimately profit. A recent Accenture report highlighted this further ‘If all UK companies were able to improve workplace inclusivity by just 10 percent, the resulting uplift in ‘innovation mindset’ - their ability and willingness to innovate - could increase UK GDP by up to 1.5% each year, equating to a total boost to the UK economy of £393 billion between now and 2030.’

There is a real urgency for ‘UK PLC’ to act and drive EDI, with the recruitment industry playing a pivotal role within this transition.

The REC are the main membership body for the recruitment industry with over 3300 members. EDI is a major focus for the organisation, both to assist individual recruitment companies to improve EDI within their businesses and for members to share and implement best practice with clients when delivering on recruitment projects. As a member, the Irwin and Colton Directors attended the EDI Summit in London and below we look at some of the key takeaways from the day.

The summit was a great opportunity to hear from a range of speakers including the Global Head of Talent at a major media group, NGOs in the space, and EDI Consultants all approaching and tackling EDI from different angles. One common theme running throughout the afternoon was that EDI can be a complex area and encompasses a wide range of seen and unseen characteristics including disability, race, age, sexual orientation, neurodiversity and gender. No-one has all the answers but collectively we can create more diverse and equal workplaces where people feel safe and want to work.

Robert Jane from global media agency Wavemaker offered some insight as to why EDI is so important in recruitment. As he discussed - in a world where social media offers direct insights into organisations like never before, candidates are undertaking extensive analysis and research into a company’s approach to EDI. They are making career decisions based on this. To succeed as a business in the battle for talent…and existence…driving EDI is essential.

However, the event made clear that EDI is not just about recruitment and attracting a diverse workforce. Having an EDI strategy in place to retain individuals is absolutely key. As Robert mentioned ‘How do you create a business where people feel they belong and want to be part of?’

There were a wide range of talks, discussions, questions, and comments. The (slightly eclectic!) key takeaways and tips we took from this event -

1.Consider who is on your interview panel. This will empower a diverse array of viewpoints in the decision-making process and aid in eradicating biases.

2.Widen the job brief, through understanding the organisation and challenging what is essential in the role

3.Be data driven on EDI, this will help in engaging Senior stakeholders when driving change and making impactful decisions

4.Try storytelling when communicating internally using real life, lived experiences to drive engagement (if you don’t have employees to volunteer, look for an external speaker)

5.Give a safe space to have open conversations about EDI

6.Build internal, staff led, EDI representative panels to generate and share ideas and initiatives

7.Actively seek out diverse talent - what are you screening out? What are non-negotiables? What are you looking for and where are we looking?

8.Inclusive recruitment starts before the job advert. Look at your brand, values, and website - what are they based on and what are they communicating.

9.Don’t be ‘scared’ of AI - see this as a positive vehicle to drive EDI

10.Finally a quote - ‘You are as inclusive as your least included person’

 So many excellent thoughts and ideas as Kate Carr from BITC said ‘it’s ok to start somewhere’ and ‘you can’t do everything at once’ so start with a particular area and take one step at a time.

Great event, so much to takeaway and implement – if you would like to find out more or discuss any of the key points above feel free to get in touch

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