The value of D&I in the hiring process: Founder’s fireside with Lucy Chamberlain
See what we learned in the first of our Founder's fireside series, with guest speaker Lucy Chamberlain, Global Speaker, Certified Coach and Founder of C&C Search and C&C Academy, alongside Stryve CEO, Ed Chamberlain.
Lucy Chamberlain was the first guest speaker for Stryve’s Founder’s fireside series where our founder, Ed Chamberlain will speak with a range of industry experts to glean new insights into the hiring process and the emerging hiring needs of commercial organisations in 2021.
We were happy to welcome Lucy as our inaugural speaker given her 20+ years of experience within the recruitment industry. Lucy has overseen transformational improvements to the hiring processes of market leaders like Amazon, Sony, and Warner Bros. and is a co-founder of C&C Search, a top London-based recruitment and training firm.
The central topic for the discussion was the increasing importance and value of Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) within hiring, why it is critical to future success, and how to implement it in a sustained and holistic way.
What is the point of thinking about D&I when hiring?
Although there is an obvious ethical obligation regarding equality within the workplace, and hopefully it is one that most companies are aiming to observe, there is now a statistical consensus that companies that actively promote D&I simply perform better than their peers that do not.
Lucy was quick to address this performance disparity when asked about D&I’s value in a commercial organisation:
“We know that it has a positive impact on shareholder value… We know it combats group thinking (thereby) mitigating excessive risk-taking… We know that you are33% more likely to outperform peer companies if you have a diverse team.”
Lucy also referenced a McKinsey research report that indicated that a firm’s profitability, retention, and internal culture and development are all positively impacted by creating a more diverse workforce during its hiring stages.
Alongside these statistics, Fast Company Magazine was also cited as having found that companies with above average gender diversity out performed those without it by 58%.
Moreover, the Kapor Centre has found that nearly 60% of ex-employees would have stayed at their previous role longer had their organisation taken more steps to hire more diverse employees and to incorporate inclusion as an ideal embedded within company culture.
Where do you begin when setting up a D&I hiring process?
A recurring theme of the discussion, and an important distinction to make from previous diversity initiatives like affirmative action, is that true D&I is not a box-ticking exercise or something to be measured by a quota.
Diversity and Inclusion refers not only to the diversity of a workforce but also the level of comfort and acceptance that less represented individuals feel within the company. As such, it is crucial that D&I begin with an organisation’s leadership team so that their influence then affects a cultural shift across all the departments, teams, and individuals below them.
Lucy made reference to examples of resistance that can sometime occur when D&I as an organisation-wide imperative is suggested. Often this resistance is based on unfounded concerns around those already within the company somehow losing something as a result of D&I efforts. Luckily there is ample evidence to demonstrate that this is simply not the case.
In addition, education programs should be implemented on an ongoing basis rather than a simple one-time course that does account for the dynamic and ever-changing landscape of diversity and inclusion. Despite the current fixation with ‘quick-wins’ that pervades board rooms and leadership meetings, it must be understood that D&I is a process that requires constant and sustained support and improvement in order to be truly realised.
D&I for all
It is also important not to become blinkered with regards to what diversity entails, often D&I might be pigeonholed into a narrow definition that only includes the most visible expressions of diversity such as race or gender identity. However, D&I must also represent neuro diverse and disabled individuals, those from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds, and of different sexualities.
On the subject of visibility, effective D&I within hiring requires that we remain vigilant to the parts of ourselves that may currently be invisible i.e. our unconscious biases.
Stryve founder and the discussion’s host, Ed Chamberlain, provided an incisive example of how these biases can manifest:
“An organisation I met that wanted to increase their gender diversity… when we looked at the interview process, they didn’t have one female on any of the interviewing panels and though it was a mere oversight, by looking at the whole process we could easily start to rectify some of these aspects.”
Although this was an unconscious mistake, it is indicative of how our tendency to relate to people similar to ourselves can guide policy and decision-making regardless of the reality.
While trying to root out biases in an existing team might, due to their subtle nature, prove a challenging task, companies can circumvent this problem by ensuring that those panels are themselves led by a diverse group of individuals.
Organisations might also consider establishing a dedicated D&I team within its HR department to oversee the implementation of ongoing D&I training and to perform regular check-ins. These check-in sought to pertain to the level of comfort and acceptance that diverse individuals feel within their work environment and their respective teams.
This last safeguard not only encourages ongoing vigilance and improvement but is also a common factor of companies that are seeing the highest success rates in their D&I process.
Stryve will be hosting a Founder’s fireside discussion every Thursday lunchtime going forward from now on and we encourage you to check-in with us to access the best in hiring experience and knowledge to improve your own practices.
Next time we’ll be joined by Rachel Paterson in a conversation entitled ‘The war on talent’ and how leading global organisations are adapting to attract top talent, as well as the role technology will continue to play in gaining a competitive advantage in hiring.
Stryve is establishing itself as a champion for start-ups and growing companies looking to optimise their hiring process. To find out how our applicant tracking system can help support your hiring and ease the integration of D&I goals into these operations, please get in touch.