A law firm which offers more

Call us: 0113 246 0622

Inclusive Recruitment


We recently hosted the first session in Clarion’s 2020 HR Breakfast Club events programme for Rising Stars. These networking and learning opportunities are designed for up-and-coming HR professionals and people managers who want to get the most out of their learning and development journey. This particular event focused on inclusive recruitment, and discrimination awareness. It was led by Victoria Jackson, a Senior Associate in our specialist Employment Team, with guest speaker, Anna Sarjantason. Anna is a Director at Inclusive Recruiting, specialising in sourcing diverse talent for organisations and providing training for those who want to be inclusive.

Diversity and inclusion are important and topical issues, high on the agenda for many organisations.  As 81% of employers recognise that conscious and unconscious bias can impact their hiring decisions, it is no surprise that this was a popular and insightful session.

Inclusive recruitment: Understanding the terminology

What is diversity?

Diversity is any dimension that can be used to differentiate groups and people from one another. Everyone brings their own diverse set of experiences and traits to an organisation, ranging from self-evident differences such as race, gender and age, to more inherent differences such as educational background and unique personality types.

What is inclusivity?

Inclusion is an organisational effort and practices in which different groups or individuals with different backgrounds are culturally and socially accepted and welcomed, and equally treated.

If an organisation is truly inclusive, then diversity should naturally arise.

What is the interplay?

Diversity and inclusion go together hand in hand. If an organisation appointed a diverse group of individuals but failed to treat them inclusively, they could have serious retention issues and a lack of employee engagement. Alternatively, if an organisation is not inclusive, they will not be able to meaningfully demonstrate diversity.

Benefit of diversity and inclusion

41% of employers do not attempt to review or improve their diversity and inclusion processes and procedures because they are ‘too busy’. So why should you make it a priority?

It’s not an easy or short-term win for organisations. Addressing diversity and inclusion properly takes time, education, and investment as it is constantly evolving, but if done right, it brings about substantial and long-term benefits.

Recruitment is a candidate led market and as more and more businesses understand and engage with inclusivity and diversity, any organisations that fail to do so will soon be left behind and will miss out on key talent. More often than not, candidates do thorough research on organisations, examining their social media pages, websites, and events. Therefore, they form a judgement early on as to whether they would like to apply for a role. Any ‘token’ photographs or events that fail to be authentic, in an attempt to appear diverse, will be obvious and off-putting.

Unless recruiting practices are carefully thought through and reflected upon, organisations will fail to attract and retain the widest pool of talent and avoid any discrimination complaints.

Improving awareness by training will be important to bring about change and ensure that recruitment is effective.

What’s the legal implication?

Unfair treatment and turnover of staff costs companies over 16 billion pounds per year. Therefore, not only do organisations have to get it right from a financial perspective, they also have to from a legal and reputational perspective. Certain characteristics are protected by law, and individuals are becoming increasingly more aware of their rights and more willing to challenge decisions.

Organisations are often unaware of their wide-reaching legal duty that covers the recruitment process and even includes protection for unsuccessful candidates. People involved in the recruitment process who are discriminatory can also be personally liable for their actions.

Studies suggest that people with Chinese, Indian, or Pakistani sounding names are 28% less likely to be invited to an interview than candidates with English sounding names. This could create a risk of Employment Tribunal claims for discrimination. Therefore, it is vital that a fair process when recruiting is followed and that all reasoning is justified.

In order to avoid discrimination and protect an organisation as much as possible, thorough equal opportunities policies should be put in place and followed (supported by education and training). Interviewers should think carefully about their questioning and process, and detailed written reasons should always be provided to unsuccessful candidates. Decisions should always be based on merit.

In relation to arrangements during recruitment processes, organisations should be flexible and offer various timings for interviews and be prepared to make reasonable adjustments to ensure they are attracting the widest pool of talent. Prejudicial wording should also be avoided on job advertisements such as ‘youthful, dynamic and energetic’.

Once appointed, organisations should also try to accommodate reasonable adjustments such as flexible working requests and reduced working hours. This will have a significant impact on employee engagement and retention rates.

There is always room for improvement and development within organisations to ensure they are diverse and inclusive.

If you have any concerns or would like support in implementing processes and procedures or would simply like to discuss strategy, please get in touch to talk to us.

Disclaimer: Anything posted on this blog is for general information only and is not intended to provide legal advice on any general or specific matter. Please refer to our terms and conditions for further information. Please contact the author of the blog if you would like to discuss the issues raised.