The basics of D&I

The basics of D&I

Diversity and Inclusion is becoming more and more prominent in the recruitment sector, with agency owners as well as individual consultants engaging in healthy conversation about the state of D&I both internally and from a client support perspective.

Although this is all positive, and should absolutely be celebrated, there is still a large portion of recruiters and agencies in general who haven’t even kickstarted basic practices and initiatives to positively acknowledge and impact D&I.

From my experiences as a recruiter and podcast host, it’s abundantly clear that the recruitment landscape has changed exponentially even in the last five years. Back in 2016, agencies were focussed on creating a crazy culture, billing big, and buying a new Rolex.

But, fast-forward to 2021, and leading agencies are now focussing more on mental health, D&I, and providing a consultative and value-add service to clients and candidates.

This paradigm shift has illustrated that priorities are changing within the industry, and clients and candidates are demanding more from recruiters.

So, after having a number of influential and inspirational people on the podcast who were vocal about how D&I has changed their perspective on recruitment both internally and externally, I’m dedicating the next three newsletters to D&I content only.

It’s clear that many recruiters have no idea where to start, but we must normalise this, or we run the risk of being paralysed by fear because D&I is too complex and nuanced to tackle!

In reality, there are a ton of initial “baby steps” you can take to become more involved in D&I, both internally in your organisation and externally, when servicing candidates and clients.

I’m going to highlight three key things you can do today to get started on your D&I journey, as well as a downloadable resource which can give you even more areas to look at once you’ve done these basics.

Talk about it

This might sound incredibly basic, but the first step to becoming more aware of D&I is by setting up conversations internally.

This could be team meetings gathering ideas from consultants on how D&I can be improved internally as well as from a client/candidate perspective, or it could be in the form of having D&I representatives who lead the conversations internally.

Not only is this an inclusive practice in itself, but you will naturally have diversity of thought and a better understanding on who is and isn’t knowledgeable on D&I.

Whether it’s a part of your weekly 1:1 or team meeting, or a company-wide conversation, the best way to start, is by… well – starting to talk about it.

The best way to improve how you approach D&I for candidates and clients is by ensuring that you practice what you preach internally first. Here are some things you could ask internally:

  • How diverse and inclusive do you think our business is?
  • What could we be doing differently in terms of D&I initiatives internally?
  • How would you like to support clients and candidates from a D&I perspective?

Work on creating 1-2 internal initiatives first

When looking at D&I, it’s important to practice what you preach, so before you start dishing out advice to candidates and clients and providing solutions directly related to D&I, look at what is going on internally first.

Whether it’s rolling out unconscious bias training or releasing new initiatives and policies to improve the inclusivity within your business, make sure you’re doing these things first. In my opinion, it can be difficult to suggest the best solutions to your clients unless you’ve tried them out yourself.

Not only does it build credibility, but it will give you the confidence to know what you’re talking about.

Ask clients questions around D&I to build a picture of the solutions you could offer

Just like building a new market, if you plan to integrate D&I into your solutions as a recruiter, you need to understand what the market wants first.

Before offering anything, having open conversations with both clients and candidates will illustrate to you quickly what the market needs, and will provide you with invaluable information to propel you forwards on your D&I journey.

You can also download our starter resource {here} which is packed with websites and further information to get you started on your journey.

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