Why deploying successful D&I strategies can win the war on talent and the approaches businesses need to make it work.


Helen McGuire: Hello everybody and welcome to this panel as part of the World Staffing Summit. For 2022, we're absolutely delighted to be here. And we're going to be discussing a little bit about talent acquisition and the D&I strategies that can help you win the war on talent, which as we all know is a huge issue for staffing agencies, recruiters, and talent acquisition out there.

Helen McGuire: My name is Helen McGuire. I'm the CEO and co-founder of Diversely. And I'll tell you a little bit more about Diversely shortly, but I'd love to introduce my guests first. So who would like to go first? Should we go with you Dinah? I see to my left there on the screen. 

Dinah Williams: Hi. So my name's Dinahh Williams . I am the founder of The Avenir Network.

Dinah Williams: We are a UK based diversity and inclusion consultancy, and our area of specialism is around the promotion and retention of staff as well as cultural change. So really excited to be here amongst these fantastic experts in space. Thank you, Helen. 

Helen McGuire: Brilliant. Thank you. And Jo, I think you're up next.

Jo Major: Okay. Hi everybody. My name's Jo Major and I founded Diversity in Recruitment in the summer of last year, after a 20 year career in the recruitment industry. I focus on working with recruitment teams, both internally and agency side to help them get to grips with diversity and inclusion, help them to make the recruitment processes inclusive and accessible, help them to attract underrepresented talent and to work with their clients in a much more effective way and share their kind of education and learning with them.

Helen McGuire: Brilliant. 

Helen McGuire: I think you can probably tell already we have some genuine bonafide experts in this area, so it's going to be a fascinating discussion and Jennie over to you. 

Jennie Child: Thanks Helen. Yes, I'm Jennie Child . I'm founder of Balance, which is a D&I consultancy that focuses exclusively on the recruitment space.

Jennie Child: So I'm a little bit like Jo. I also work with recruiters and recruitment teams, but also work with organizations to look at their entire approach to recruitment from both sort of the inside on the outside. So look at the whole journey from audit, and discovery all the way through to re-imagining and redesigning their entire approach to hiring, to become more inclusive and to attract talent from underrepresented backgrounds.

Jennie Child: So that's been amazing and great to be here. Thank you for having me. 

Helen McGuire: No, you're most welcome. I mean, you know, it sounds very easy, so I'm sure you guys have very easy days. Hayley Last but not least. 

Hayley Bakker: Thank you. Hi, I'm Hayley Bakker and I'm also a co-founder of Diversely. So Helen and I worked together on a day to day basis.

Hayley Bakker: I have a background actually, that's completely unrelated in finance and engineering. But a couple of years ago, due to a lack of representation in these areas, I set up girls in tech, in Singapore and Vietnam, where I was living and focused wholly on attracting, engaging, and keeping more girls and women in the tech space.

Hayley Bakker: And that was a really good basis. Working large organizations and small organizations, and a lot of that was around recruitment. So from there. Got a bit frustrated with the pains of not being able to make a big impact. It was very service driven and decided it was time to start using the tech that I had been seeing built for others in the space that I was really passionate about, which is diversity inclusion to ensure that we can make diversity and inclusion for recruitment impactful for a big, large scale of applicants candidates, but also recruiters to be inclusive in that journey.

Helen McGuire: Brilliant. Thank you. And you kind of done half my job for me though. I was going to explain a little bit about what diversity does, but I think you've done that very nicely. So, so thank you. I think we have 60 minutes on this panel and we'll use the first 45 or so for our discussion, which will be a very open and honest and insightful discussion.

Helen McGuire: I'm pretty sure of that. And then 15 minutes at the end, we'll be on questions. So anyone that has any Q/A's just pop them in the chat. We have somebody who's monitoring that on our side. And we can also check that and obviously I'm happy to answer any live questions towards the end of the session as well.

Helen McGuire: When we were sharing some contact details, a few resources, if you have free resources, you can download to help you with all of this type of stuff. So we're going to kick off. And I think you know, as I mentioned in the introduction, We're looking really at this from both an employer and from a candidate perspective. The world of staffing, whether you're a recruiter or you're an internal talent acquisition or HR person is facing a huge challenge at the moment.

Helen McGuire: There are over 76% of people out there who ask for diversity and inclusion to be part of the process and expect diversity inclusion to be something that employers take into consideration. So you're under a huge amount of pressure to deliver. And I really wanted to throw this question and maybe to Jennie actually in the first instance as to why candidates are demanding greater transparency around D&I, and well-being at the moment..

Jennie Child: Sure. I mean, I think simply because they can it's you know, they, the types of of candidates that you know, we're trying to hire, you know, they are switched on in demand individuals and and particularly if they're coming from a underrepresented background, most importantly, they're going to want to know that they're entering a safe space.

Jennie Child: They're gonna want to know they're entering an inclusive environment where they have a great chance of succeeding. Dinah and I think Dinah probably chimed in on this in a minute, but Dinah and I worked together on, on a few projects. I'm obviously the recruitment person and Dinah very much works with organizations to look at you know, to look at the kind of culture change side of things.

Jennie Child: And Dinah will always ask me, okay, well, you know, are they going through the right steps and measures to make sure that as they hire people from different types of backgrounds and they improve representation in their organization, are they addressing what they need to within their culture, within their structures, within their people practices to ensure that those individuals have the best chance of success that they're walking into an inclusive environment and candidates will naturally want to know that this is the case.

Jennie Child: So they are going to be looking for transparency from employers and also from recruitment companies to know that they're going to be treated fairly and equitably throughout the recruitment journey. And they're going to want to see that transparency and explanation of. What the organization has done to, I guess, address any challenges within their culture and their sort of people practices that has historically meant that they've re remain quite homogenous.

Jennie Child: Dinah, I'd love, sorry. Dinah might add to them. 

Helen McGuire: That'd be great to get your, 

Dinah Williams: Yeah, I think there's two parts to this. I think over the last 18 months, particularly with the worldwide spread of black lives matter, the people who are expecting more authentic inclusion when it comes to recruitment, they don't want to feel like it's a tick box exercise.

Dinah Williams: And as Jennie touched upon it's about that safe space. People are looking for brands that are inclusive, not just in terms of the reach of their customer, but the experience of their employees and many from underrepresented groups have had that had the needs to kind of code switch and change who they are to fit into an environment and no longer does that have to be the case.

Dinah Williams: Thank God, because that's exhausting. So candidates want to know that this is done with intention. And that they are there on their merits and not just for aesthetics, so to speak. So, yeah, I think there's, I think culturally, as a society, we've changed in what we expect from organizations. And we're holding them accountable to be true to the, to, to the things that they may say as their social media and communications, but ultimately as individuals, we now have the, you know, we're in a space where we can say, well, okay, what does this look like?

Dinah Williams: Am I going to be the only tokenistic? Because of that, so that's not an organizational role for me. 

Helen McGuire: And in terms of the UK, which I know is where everybody is based at the moment. How do you think candidates are assessing that? Do you think there's enough reporting around this? Is there enough public data?

Helen McGuire: Is there enough transparency? I mean, I read a report recently that 42% of black employees resigned in the last 12 months due to a lack of internal diversity. So are they walking into something that they don't understand because there isn't the data out there and or is that getting better?

Helen McGuire: How do you feel about that? 

Dinah Williams: I would always say the data is available if you're asking and collecting it, the data's always been there. It's just, if you're intentionally trying to gather that data and I think that data was important to kind of form decisions, but also to look at gaps. And I think that it's really important that if, for instance, you can see that there is a massive ethnicity pay gap.

Dinah Williams: What is happening when you're promoting staff that it's affecting that. So are you holding the same standards to whites employees as underrepresented groups? Or are you treating one specific employee more harshly or expecting more from them? In order to get that promotion? And I think that's really where I talk about the kind of culture change.

Dinah Williams: It's okay. We can have that data, but how are you then working positively to improve that data? It's not impossible. You just have to be kind of focused and intentional in doing so. 

Helen McGuire: Yeah. And J just to throw it to you with all your years of recruitment experience and, you know, I see you on LinkedIn actually posting around kind of bias and disparities and unfairness and inequalities around recruitment.

Helen McGuire: Have you seen any specific examples of, you know, businesses actively discriminating or candidates actively being turned off by discrimination or a lack of transparency around D&I in, you know, in your kind of 20 years? 

Jo Major: Yeah, I think yeah, a good two questions though, isn't it? I think in terms of. Meaning, I sit and talk to recruiters about this for a living.

Jo Major: So I'm not going to break confidence and give examples, but yeah, I mean, every single day, I think recruiters are under an immense amount of pressure you know, to fulfill the demands of clients when it comes to the quality the, you know, the identity shopping list you know, where we've got clients kind of demanding a whole range of different identities as if it was a shopping list and, you know, but still kind of expecting recruiters to work within those really tight parameters of preference.

Jo Major: And you know, often that those preferences in themselves are discriminatory and heavily. And it just kind of, it's this real conflict of interest for recruiters to, you know, to, they want to partner with their clients. They want to fulfill their client's kind of their needs and help them a bit like businesses, but they're still highly aware of this undercurrent of preference and exclusion.

Jo Major: And you know, I, my kind of message is always to recruit as when I'm working with them. Don't do any heavy lifting for any clients who give you red flags, right? You need to invest all your energy into inclusive recruitment and really focusing on those clients who are actually doing the work that can evidence the stuff that they're doing around making their cultures inclusive and getting rid of explicit bias, discrimination, and prejudice.

Jo Major: That would always be my first question. When a client comes out with, you know, the identity shopping list, I begin a case. So that's really interesting. Why are these people not in your business? What are you doing? You know, what are you doing CT to kind of address that? What are you doing to make sure that you've got a culture where discrimination, prejudice is just unacceptable.

Jo Major: So yeah. Does that answer your question? 

Helen McGuire: Yeah, no. I mean, it kind of raises a load more, I think as well. You know, that's exactly how I wanted it, this and expected this time to go no questions at all. And on that particular topic, we've had a question drop in from Kyle and I'm not sure where Kyle is, but he says as a recruiter for a year, I've been able to hire three females.

Helen McGuire: And this Friday, Azara, I hope I'm pronouncing her name. Right. Our company's first female Muslim salesperson is starting her first day. Which is obviously super exciting. How can we promote this great victory without coming off as, oh, look at me. I'm so diverse and inclusive. And I think you know, that kind of.

Helen McGuire: Dovetails nicely with your response, Jo, which is like how do you promote the fact that you are diverse and inclusive? How can you do that as an employer? Without looking tokenistic or without kind of.

Jo Major: I think don't use your employees as a Sherpa learning. That was my first thing, you know, you're not bringing in people into your organization to help you know, recruit yourself out of a representation issue.

Jo Major: Right? It's nobody's job to do that. And I just think about the lived experience of that employee, you know, not this particular employee, but employers going into organizations where they are the first or the only, and then being asked to go on websites and write blogs and do interviews.

Jo Major: Instead of just getting on with their job. And I think a lot of it is the message is stronger in terms of like the words that you use, the message that you put across, not the images and the you know, and showcasing your, you know, your underrepresented talent. And I do see that a lot. And it's just, so for me, it's so performative and I always think about how that, you know, that how that employee must, you know, must feel.

Jo Major: And I've seen situations where folks are brought into organizations as the only, and expected to set up like employee resource groups that help to, you know, continue the content, the conversation around inequality for their particular identity. And it always really surprises me. So I guess I would say, you know, just let that person get on with their role and just like to do the work and don't make much noise about it externally.

Jo Major: Maybe that's a controversial opinion, but for me, 

Jennie Child: Thousand percent agree with Jo. 

Helen McGuire: I was going to say it's a tough line to try actually, cause I can see the benefits on both sides. But I also agree that it can be super cringy and as far as well to make you look extremely tokenistic, but Jennie , yeah.

Jennie Child: No, just the thing I love. I love Jo, you speaking that because I think it really for me. I really do agree and I think that, but to sort of go back to Kyle's original question, because obviously I can just read the enthusiasm and his question and wanting to promote this great victory and it is a great victory.

Jennie Child: So I echo everything that Jo said, you know, let her focus on her new role. But within your employer, brand touch points in your communication. Talk about how you've created the inclusive culture you know, that will make those great new hires of success and talk about you know, your inclusive hiring process that is opened up the hiring funnel enough for, you know, the talent flow enough to ensure that those individuals have been successful in getting the job And I won't repeat anything else that Jo said, because she said it so perfectly.

Helen McGuire: Well, I mean, Jennie , you're from a communications background as you Dinah. You know, communication is super key in all of this, the way that you put yourself across inclusive communication and Hayley, I suppose I can just bring you in before we move on to another point around that. And what do you see businesses doing and how can they improve really where inclusivity is concerned in communications?

Hayley Bakker: Yeah. Great question. And I love your point Jennie , around you know, how do you speak about what you've done well, and rather than making it about a person or a tokenistic face, make it about what you've done well. So what is the process or the tools that you've used or the practices, and we try to focus the attention away from individuals and more on those kinds of things.

Hayley Bakker: For instance, we've recently hired someone who didn't have an official certification in a specific area. I think it's much more important to speak about how you're being inclusive. How are you opening up your funnel based on your working practices and your demands and your requirements rather than on the outcome of, oh, and as a result, we got a woman of this age and that background and the same we see in a lot of job ads.

Hayley Bakker: So Helen and I used to rewrite manually all by hand and released to take hours, a lot of these job ads and find things that said professional. We were looking for someone who is professional and I cringe whenever I see the word professional, because what does that mean? And you have to be really careful about how that come across.

Hayley Bakker: And I think it aligns with what you were saying. Dinah is, you know, that codification saying someone has to be professional means they have to fit into a specific. Space and square that you've set within your organization. And I think a lot of people will read that nowadays and go, oh, I don't think I want to fit into that profession.

Hayley Bakker: But someone putting that out there might have the best intention. So really breaking down, what is it that you want to say? How do you want to put yourself out there and then finding the right words for it? And maybe those words have changed over time. Language evolves. And I think the words that we used to use 10 years ago might not be the right words to use now.

Hayley Bakker: And I think there are many ways in which we can help businesses become aware of not only biases and discrimination in their job ads, but also these, I would say more gray areas that might still deter you from appealing to, or getting those underrepresented groups who convert just because of these things.

Hayley Bakker: You're not aware of it. 

Helen McGuire: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, we see terrible things in job ads all the time and, you know, even things like clear sighted and you know, standing on your own two feet and these types of phrases that are actually really inappropriate for trying to appeal to, you know, as many types of people in underrepresented groups as possible.

Helen McGuire: And you just don't think about it. You know, they're just stock phrases that people use on a daily basis, but actually they do have an impact on people. And it's super important to be aware of those just in terms of your communications and outreach. So I guess, yeah, you know, the bigger question around this really next step is how can we improve this?

Helen McGuire: You know, how has employers and recruiters, can we put steps in place to appeal to them? Diverse talent and underrepresented groups. What are the types of things that you've seen work, I suppose, would actually be really useful rather than a kind of theoretical approach on this and maybe Dinah that might be a good one for you.

Dinah Williams: Yeah. I think that one of the easiest ways is to kind of not do what you've done before and stop performing the nepotism that we see, particularly within the communications set. So that's the only one I can really speak to, that's my 15 years of experience, but really what I have a lot from clients is there's just no diverse talent out there.

Dinah Williams: And there you just have to intentionally improve your network, right? And the recruiters that you work with, look at the inclusive language within your job descriptions and really think about how you can open up your whole recruitment process. The interview process. Kind of setup to work for a set person in mind is a traditional one, right?

Dinah Williams: Able-bodied and not neurodiverse. Like it's very newer, typical in terms of formats and that just isn't inclusive. So being able to, if you want diverse talent in being adaptable to being open to as many candidates as possible, but I do think that what you shouldn't be doing is looking at a individuals in your organization and asking them because they're from an underrepresented group, do you know anyone who should I use take that opportunity to learn yourself, taking that opportunity to extend your own network and where you're engaging and the recruiters that you're using be very focused upon, okay, this is what we have done so far.

Dinah Williams: These are where the problems and the biases come out. How do we mitigate those and how do we improve the overall process? And be intentional about that. I think that's really important and a key starting point, look at what you've done. Look at where the biases are coming up and look at the way that you can kind of immediately improve upon that.

Helen McGuire: Jennie, any thoughts on that?. 

Jennie Child: Yeah, I think just to kind of build on what Dinah has just said, you know, you need to make an intentional effort to build, you know, relationships with a broader network. And what I see a lot of is we'll, you we'll place an ad on you know, a different job board, a diverse job board, you know, whether that be my G work, you know, be like young professionals and we'll expect you know, something different to happen.

Jennie Child: And then when it doesn't we'll go, okay, well, that didn't work. So, that's not the answer that intentional effort needs to be a long-term commitment with a built-in strategy around, you know, what type of, you know, talent pools are you trying to tap into. And then you need to obviously marry that with a, you know, an inclusive hiring process and then also track, you know, collect and track the data.

Jennie Child: So you can monitor. The success of what's happening, just using a few different new job boards, isn't going to necessarily move the dial. And you also might have to accept that it may take you over a year to move the dial. But that commitment will be worth it, but trying a few different things here and there short term, probably isn't going to make a huge difference.

Jennie Child: It's about long-term strategy, long-term commitment, you know, sustainable change and then really effective measurement of that. 

Helen McGuire: Yeah, absolutely. We had actually from Scott just on your point earlier, Hayley around just to quote him how many people do not fit in the box, but excellent qualified candidates.

Helen McGuire: And I would add on this point, You know, around trying to be more inclusive or trying to reach more underrepresented groups is to look at transferable skills. And I wonder if you know your clients, let's say Jo, in the past, or even now are open to that approach. I mean, how useful do you see transferable skills, which is a very broad term in recruitment

Jo Major: Yeah, I know it's an interesting question.

Jo Major: I've always been when I speak to recruiters, I always try to get them to understand that inclusive recruitment. Isn't about compromising on quality. It's not about, you know, lowering the bar. It's not about recruiting people who don't fit the spec and cannot value see business. It's not about hiring people because of their identity.

Jo Major: It's about just, you know, opening the gate wider and making sure that it isn't your processes that are responsible for. Recruiting groups of very similar people. And I think a lot of it is about that. There isn't a, there isn't an overnight, as you know, the same mirror in echoing the things that Jennie and Dinah have said there isn't an overnight solution, you know, job boards.

Jo Major: Initiatives signing up to, you know, to, to commitment plans is not isn't gonna solve very little it's about looking at what you've always done and totally unpicking it this month in it and rebuilding it and out in a stack a process because inclusive recruitment takes time. It's. I think if I look at some of my.

Jo Major: Recruitment, you know, recruitment businesses that we look at the metrics, we look at what they focus on. It's time to hire it's meeting targets. It's getting commission, it's all about speed, all about, timing's all about speed, all about efficiency, making really quick decisions, super simple, quick, you know, absolutely loaded in unconscious bias.

Jo Major: You know, very, you I would argue that a lot of the preference and biases actually folks are super aware of. And being able to just, you know, go through a shortlist of 50 people in two minutes and I think it's the existing recruitment process that we have in place that.

Jo Major: Where we miss out on talent. I'm not sure even if we have to think necessarily about like, you know, compromising on skill sets. I think it's about just slowing everything down and changing our processes. I think there's something around looking at transferable people transferring from other sectors.

Jo Major: There's a lot of sector preference. I find within the markets that I work with, you know, there's absolute, you know, it's inconceivable to think that you'd take somebody out of professional services and put them in this world. And these like immediate barriers and blockages are put up because of this strange approach to, you know, not being able to possibly invest in somebody to make sure they adapt to our sector.

Jo Major: And we kind of, we spend a bit more time just like. Introducing them to a different space of working. But yeah, I mean, I will always say that the contingent, traditional recruitment methodology of recruitment businesses goes against everything. I train, I might be putting it in myself out less saying that I'm all about.

Jo Major: Making hiring very much kind of focusing on the retained proposition, you know, when it comes to recruitment businesses, retained proposition is an inclusive recruiters dream. You know, this is where we can start to change behaviors and really tell the diving down and really see people really see talent instead of working at a million miles an hour and missing people.

Jo Major: No, I get like completely answering that question. How long? 

Helen McGuire: Sorry. Yeah, great. A great way of answering the question and I wish I could dig into a million of those kinds of points that you brought up. But I think you know, in terms of, yeah the way that recruitment is done it's pretty intuitive, broken down like that.

Helen McGuire: And to hear the disruptive. And different ways of doing it and approaching it. And I think, you know, just from my own experience I found it a women's careers path about seven years ago. And we try to bring in women from different industries into let's say digital marketing or into finance or into various industries where there weren't very many women.

Helen McGuire: And we looked at a skills-based profile and we looked at people's mindsets and approaches and that, you know, that appetite for curiosity, in some respects or certain personality traits that they had that would work very well in an alternative environment or an alternative industry. And you know, that's kind of what we do at diversity as well as to represent people from skills and strengths and a background perspective, as opposed to.

Helen McGuire: You know, they've had 10 years experience in recruitment. I mean, what does that mean to anybody really? We've had a few comments coming in now, so I'm just going to pick up on a couple of those. Yeah. Okay. So one that I think might be a nice one for you, Hailey actually has come in from Jan, I think.

Helen McGuire: No, not from now. Let me say Scott from Chandni, and I'm not sure where you are, Chandini, but we're definitely in our space. So, with regards to networking house, find mentors and sponsors, particularly for marginalized groups. And I guess this kind of comes off the back of us saying, how do you become more inclusive as an employer?

Helen McGuire: It's certainly one of those ways, but how can you get into that space? I suppose, you know, where can you find those mentors? I know that we have a mutual connection actually who helps with that, but yeah, I would love to hear from you. 

Hayley Bakker: Right. I always was thinking the same thing. So, I think there are many organizations out there.

Hayley Bakker: I couldn't know exactly where you are and what Industry, but some of them are location-based. Some of them are industry based and some of them are focused on specific groups or girls in tech is a great example of that. They're a global organization supporting women in tech and they have mentoring groups all around the globe that people can sign up to.

Hayley Bakker: And they're always looking for mentors and mentees having dedicated, you know, events around that, but they just can also just be taken offline. Two people have found each other. That's great. Similarly, as Helen mentioned, someone we know his name is Sergio has one for what he calls ethnic professionals.

Hayley Bakker: So depending on the region, they stand to connect people from underrepresented, ethnic backgrounds, whatever that means in that location that they sit. And they. Successful high level professionals with that ethnic background together. So I think there are a lot of formalized groups. I would not recommend going out on LinkedIn, finding someone whose profile photo that you like and sending them a message, but there are definitely groups for this that can help you along, whether you're a mentee or a 

Helen McGuire: mentor.

Helen McGuire: Yeah, thank you. I agree. There are, we know some of them. Sure. And I'll put our contact details at the end. So if you did want to get in touch then please do so. And we can point you in the right direction for sure. And another one from Knoll who's at recruiting daily, who we know very well because William Tincup, you might know is one of our advisors, so hello to him and hello to you, but he's asked how much impact do you believe hiring diverse recruiting teams serves the greater goal of diversity recruitment.

Helen McGuire: And I suppose that again comes up as representation essentially. Jennie, that might be a nice one for you. 

Jennie Child: Sure. I suppose, fundamentally we know that diversity of thought and diverse teams lead to better decisions that are thinking greater ideas. So I'd say sort of as a general sort of response to that, that, you know, recruiting diverse teams should always lead to success.

Jennie Child: However, same comments cause before really, which is, it depends on how and why you've recruited them. And you know, if they have been recruited into the right, you know, inclusive environment and they're not there to kind of, know, show ponies to try and attract more diverse talent. So it really kind of goes down to, there's a bit of intrinsic reasons as to why they've been hired in the first place, how you know, and how they're sort of onboarded into the business and how they're looked after and integrated into the rest of the team.

Jennie Child: So, so a bit of a mixed answer. 

Helen McGuire: Yeah. Yeah, no, it makes a lot of sense. You know, as an organization, whether you're consumer facing, whether you're charity, whether you're in the financial sector, whatever it might be, if you don't represent the clients or the customers that you're trying to serve, it's very difficult for you to understand what it is they actually won.

Helen McGuire: Right? I mean, you're surely missing out on a number of different perspectives there and potentially some really wedding ideas that could get you in front of the people, the exact people that you want to serve. And I think that's always been a really important point for me on D&I coming from a communications background.

Helen McGuire: It makes complete sense. So I suppose kind of dovetailing into that a little bit around belonging and. You know, when I first started out in D&I, it was just D&I and then it became DEI and now it's DE&I and I really can't keep up with all the different matters. But you know, as far as I'm concerned, belonging is of course a massive part of inclusion.

Helen McGuire: And I get it. There's a slightly different understanding around that. But how important is it within an organization? Maybe Dinah back to you on that? 

Dinah Williams: Yeah, I think it's hugely important. I think that it has to be the end goal, that every individual feels that they belong and that they have a voice. I think that, as you said, there's been so many changes in what the actual term is.

Dinah Williams: So it, is it equity, diversity and inclusion? Is it what the end goal is? We want every individual, hopefully every organization wants every individual to feel that they have a, they are able to share their voice and not just be there for the assess X and for tick box and for show ponies, whichever way we want to terminate internalize that.

Dinah Williams: I think also it's important to understand that in terms of underrepresented groups, particularly when talking about the black community, where there are platforms now where sharing experiences within organizations. So one platform that does that successfully really successfully is inside voices.

Dinah Williams: And it's a, it's kind of a glass door for black talent in organizations that we all know. So whether it be Google, whether it'd be Facebook, Goldman Sachs. Now, if you are able to look for another job and be rethinking about it, am I going to belong there? Listening to the voices of the employees that are there is so important.

Dinah Williams: I've watched clients. I just don't understand why my glass door with you is so negative. That's just not the, that's not the culture that we have get a hundred percent in the culture because that's what the employees saying. And I think employees really miss out when people are exiting the business to have a really candid conversation about why they're experts in this space and being really impartial to that feedback.

Dinah Williams: So when you have now for underrepresented groups and I can only, I am a black woman, I that's why, that's my characteristics, that we're now more kind of platforms where we are voicing what our experiences are, so that somebody else, then I would join that positive Roman, or they clear have a negative one.

Dinah Williams: But long and becomes more and more important because people are just not going to stick around. So that's why we've had the great resignation, right? People have really had the opportunity with the pandemics to assess what they want to do, where they want to be, what works for them and are steeped in that.

Dinah Williams: And they think, I just want to kind of touch back on it, another point that Jo made previously and that was around. I've actually forgotten, which is not great. My mind

Dinah Williams: skills. And one of the things that we have to keep in mind is we are the first generation that will have four generations in a workplace. Right. We were living for longer. We are going to be working for longer, therefore transcribing. Pivots and our careers are hugely likely, right? All of us are in a very different sector to what we ever envisaged when we left school for us by panelists.

Dinah Williams: Right. So it's very unlikely that if you go into any particular sector at the beginning of your career, that will be where you end up working at 75-70, let's say so transferable skills are really key. Another reason why we have to kind of employees into cool about transferable skills is when we look at women over the age of 45, And that in the business, because they're being pushed out, not because they don't want to work in organizations, why don't we look at how they can kind of support women that are going on maternity leave?

Dinah Williams: Why can't they be their maternity cover? They generally have been the first generation not to have worked and to raise the family and kind provide that support when you're looking at all of them. Kind of barriers or hesitations that you have when you're returning back from maternity. So maybe job sharing, maybe looking at having them as their maternity cover and extending that cover for when they're back to really be like, you know, I'm here for you.

Dinah Williams: I can really support, this is kind of these, what you're going through the sleepless nights, all of that I've been there. This is how I would be a huge benefit to the employer and the employee, mostly that fundamentally the employee. So let's look at transferable skills in a different way. Let's look at what talent are we losing?

Dinah Williams: Why are we losing them? And how can we get them back in? Because they have such huge insights and expertise that we will hugely benefit from it as an organization, but to train our talents onwards. Right? 

Helen McGuire: Yeah. I absolutely love the fact that you brought this up. I mean, age discrimination is something that we haven't really touched on yet, but It's women are biologically different from men.

Helen McGuire: And quite often that does mean whether we like it or. There is a break for women and whether that be, you know, for six weeks or six months or six years, that is quite often the case. And as you've clearly kind of pointed out there, generationally speaking, women are working much longer.

Helen McGuire: We're in a position where we can make decisions around this and we will be working probably until we're 70 or 75. And therefore, you know, that sense of belonging in terms of age. So generational considerations should also be something that employers really take into consideration when they're making these decisions around.

Helen McGuire: As you say, transferable skills support bringing perspectives into the workplace. And one person who is amazing at this, if anybody gets a chance to check out all theJane Evans who runs on invisibility.com, all of you may have heard of her. She was on our podcast a couple of weeks ago, and she is just an absolutely forced illness and actually makes a very similar point to you.

Helen McGuire: Dinah, around the role of those on the teams who leave versus women who, you maybe a little bit older and want to come back into the workforce. So that's a huge area to explore, but I mean, suppose, Jo, you know, how do you cope with generational challenges, suppose, where we could consider how I have, how have you coped with that previously.

Jo Major: What do you mean from what I am seeing or from.

Helen McGuire: Yeah, I mean, well, you know, have you seen any successes on that front because mostly I haven't. 

Jo Major: Yeah. It's really interesting looking at the age piece in generations. I'm constantly confused as to why we see such a lack of age representation across the recruitment industry.

Jo Major: So many businesses that I, you know, really the lockout come across work with, you know, they're kind of like the average age is, you know, mid twenties around 30, if you're lucky and yet, so many of their candidates are, you know, kind of like mid to senior career. And there's a real disconnect between who's on the recruiter pages of a website and actually the folks that they're trying to engage with.

Jo Major: And, you know, I do think this. I think back to when I was in my attitude when I was in my early twenties. So I didn't really have a think about any of this stuff. And then I kind of had the, got into my forties and realized, goodness me, I'm beginning to not be. From a candidate perspective, as attractive as I was when I was in my, you know, in my twenties.

Jo Major: So yeah, I've got all this experience. I'm 20 years old and I'm questioning the worthiness because of my age, which was a really weird thing. And I do think, you know, we do see whether we want to add it or not. We see a drop-off when it comes to talent, especially female talent in the recruitment industry.

Jo Major: And, you know, it usually happens around the state where people are piling on building a family, you know, and maybe that's got a reason as to why we don't see as many people kind of on the second half of their career working agency side, and we lose so much talent to kind of that in-house space. And yet we really missed an opportunity to be half that diversity of rich diversity of thought that you get with age diversity.

Jo Major: And also, you know, that representation piece. So we've got folks that actually mirror the candidates that we're looking to recruit for. Yeah. 

Helen McGuire: Yeah, absolutely. And I think not only mirror the candidates, potential candidates for that recruitment agency as well. And you have that from, you know, from any business perspective.

Helen McGuire: And I suppose, you know, Haley, I'd love to bring you in here on this because it comes down really to unconscious bias, right? It's around. You see a person's face, you see their age, you see their career history, you see any gaps that might be on their CV, whatever it might be. How can we go about meeting that from recruiting? 

Hayley Bakker: Yeah. There's so much unconscious bias that we come across. And I find it fascinating because so many people go, oh no, but I know my unconscious bias. And then in the next sentence, they'll say something that proves that actually they don't. And a couple of things that we see a lot is specifically in the tech industry, age discrimination and saying things like under, but if they're above 30, you know, there won't be able to learn new technologies as quickly release.

Hayley Bakker: Who have you tested their capability to learn your tech? What we've also seen a lot of times is, oh no, but you know, we have 200 applicants. We don't, we only have a usage or we only have 20 seconds to review every CV. So we just want to filter out anyone who hasn't gone to these two universities.

Hayley Bakker: And I saw a question on the same topic as well, and going, but that's an efficient way of filtering and not even being aware of the intrinsic bias that is in that decision-making and it's all about efficiency, but, you know, are they losing out on all these good candidates in the process? So there are many ways in which I see this come back.

Hayley Bakker: It definitely isn't. I think what traditionally people think is, oh, it's an agenda thing. Oh, you know, we'll put women aside because they might have kids and we don't want them to lose them in our teams, but it's much, much broader than that. And how we've gone about it is by removing any information from the CV that is irrelevant for a recruiter or a hiring manager or a talent acquisition person to assess whether they are suitable for the role or not.

Hayley Bakker: So obvious things like names and photos and dates of birth and marital status people put the craziest things on their CVs. But also things like school and university names. You know, I understand there might be a need depending on the role. And even this, I will question and need to understand what kind of major they studied.

Hayley Bakker: Fair enough. Okay. That might be relevant. There are also cases where it might not be, and that's a good point to challenge as well, but also things like the use of gender pronouns or cross the CV, any references to their ethnicity might be embedded in there. We just take all of that out. Initially we were doing that manually.

Hayley Bakker: Now we built a tool that does it. For me, it's really most intuitive that you can do the very bare minimum that you can do to ensure that there's no bias. But interestingly enough, it's also an area where we get probably the most pushback from our users and our clients. So that just proves that the.

Hayley Bakker: They might say they want to be bias-free and that they want to get rid of unconscious bias. But when it comes to actually changing the way they do things, there is still a lot of hesitance and there's a lot of mindset shift that we need to realize, and that needs to come from the top. It's not giving people a tool that removes the bias and oh, then there's some leaner bias.

Hayley Bakker: You have to be bought in. Understand why this is important from the candidates perspective, but also for the business. 

Helen McGuire: Yeah. Yeah. That's yeah, no I completely agree with all those points and we do see that an awful lot and I suppose, you know, being disruptive trying to do something differently will always require an element of change management.

Helen McGuire: And Jennie , I wonder kind of what your experiences around that, where have you seen pushback when you've tried to implement us doing things or you know, try to remove, you know, and I say unconscious bias. I mean, some people have conscious bias, right. And I probably have conscious bias and I definitely have unconscious bias, even though I'm very aware of what that means.

Helen McGuire: So it's, you it's very tricky sometimes to get people all the lines right. And all kinds of work and direction. Have you had challenges where that's a concern. 

Jennie Child: Yeah, huge challenges. I think, especially in the industry that I sort of, I've worked in, you know, like DNR for many years and still work with a lot.

Jennie Child: Which is that most of the time we are hiring behind the curve you know, time is of the essence. And you know, particularly in terms of the way creative agencies, you know, make their money you know, if there is a gap missing, you know, that I, there is a person missing you know, then that's revenue, they don't make.

Jennie Child: So there's always a huge time pressure. And I'm sure it's the same with most industries. And you know, like Jo said earlier, inclusive recruitment is not fast. You know, really well. I thought, you know, thought-out inclusive hiring where there is something that has been implemented.

Jennie Child: Every stage of the recruitment journey to mitigate bias is not going to happen quickly. You know, we all know that if we want to hire fast, we ring up the three recruitment agencies that we normally use, 

Jennie Child: ask them to send over some CVs and report. We have enough routes in a couple of weeks, however, you know, you'll continue to do the same, you know, and hire the same types of people.

Jennie Child: So the biggest resistance that I get is that Always great intentions and there's always a sort of great attitude towards everything that I'm trying to do. And when it falls down is usually when it goes against that need to hire quickly. That's the biggest sort of challenge that I come across. And I think also some industries, you know, particularly very creative industries, don't want to automate any part of the hiring journey because they feel like it might steal the magic away which is not true.

Jennie Child: You know, it's the people that bring the magic and no platform or technology or system is ever going to make that different. However there is, you know, there is a natural kind of concern around becoming too automated, becoming too systemized. So I'm a huge believer in building frameworks, fair frameworks around how you collect.

Jennie Child: Interview feedback, for instance, you know, I think if feedback is given always in a completely different way, in a completely different, you know, medium, whether it's, you know, verbally by email dropped into a form. Not at all. You know, then every candidate is being measured in a different way. So therefore when you get to the end, how could you possibly expect to have a fair and bias, free decision?

Jennie Child: It will be completely based on intuition. And so in order to, you know, to do that, you know, the best way to do that is to implement some you know, a clever piece of technology that will automate that for you. And I do see a lot of resistance sometimes, in sort of wanting to systemize.

Jennie Child: You know, that said, you know, they, they hire me to tell them how to hire, recruit inclusively and to put that change in, in, you know, in place. So they resist it. But, you know, I sort of carry on anyway 

Helen McGuire: And win every battle, you know, I think even sometimes getting 50% of the way there is better than the school.

Jennie Child: Just to add to that, Helen, I just need a specific challenge also for staffing agencies, which is, and this is maybe sort of a slightly failed kind of shout-out for diversity, but a lot of staffing agency tech is not fit for purpose at all.

Jennie Child: And in terms of being able to enable recruitment businesses, search funds so do you talk to things that I'm talking about and probably the types of things that Jo is also, you know, talking about in her training sessions? So I think, you know, that is also something to think about is the kind of tech that you're using.

Helen McGuire: Thank you and yeah, we're not paying her, so yeah, don't go to school in succession, I promise. But there is a quick guide in the end that I'm going to share that actually highlights D&I tech for TA HR recruitment businesses across the board right through from the very, very beginnings of understanding your data right up to hiring and onboarding and successful inclusion strategies.

Helen McGuire: There was tech out there for pretty much every state. These days, it is only improving and getting more impactful. So if you would like that guide, I'm going to show it right at the very end. And look, we've got eight minutes left and I know I promised that we would take some questions and there are some questions coming in and I've tried to kind of weave them in as we've gone along.

Helen McGuire: If anybody does have any burning questions out there, please pop them in the chat now, and I'll make sure that we get to those. One of those is actually from top, I think I'm right in saying about 10 minutes ago, and this is a super important point and I love this question actually is around.

Helen McGuire: How do we measure progress? Where do we get the data from? And I'll throw that anybody who has a good answer, really

Jennie Child: Happy to sort of, my two sentence then, I mean, there are minded, 

Jennie Child: sorry. There are a few different ways that you can measure progress. I think that a starting point would be to find a way to sort of legally and compliantly track the data of the individuals that are applying for your roles.

Jennie Child: So you know, whether your recruitment business search or an employer there is a way in which you can, you know, invite people to complete their voluntary data and you can then use that data in aggregate. If I can say the word. So you can see, you know, how are, you know, what are the paths rates of our white candidates versus our disabled candidates?

Jennie Child: Are we even attracting disabled candidates? Are people of color even applying for our role? So I would say as a bare minimum, you know, we should be tracking that data. It's not the easiest thing to do. You know, you have, it looks different in every country. In terms of the questions you can ask, it is a lot of effort, but if you are only based in one country, then it's a fairly easy task.

Jennie Child: And as we, you know, we just kind of hinted there is also technology that will do it for you. So I think looking at the themes within that aggregate data and looking at how that shifts over time, we'll tell you I guess, you know, whether or not the measures that you're putting in place are making a difference.

Jennie Child: So that would kind of just be one of the things I did. 

Helen McGuire: Yeah, absolutely. I agree. I think, you know that there is data out there, there are algorithms and APIs. You know, that you very kindly mentioned, Jennie, that help you understand that data plug into either public data or indeed into your HRS, if that's, you know, feasible for you.

Helen McGuire: And you can get your hands on it. And I think also you know, UK and US, particularly there is legislation around publication of data. And you know, we haven't touched on a couple of elements of diversity here, or one of them being a disability. The other being sexual orientation, tougher to get your hands on that.

Helen McGuire: I think, I mean, has anybody seen a good sort of way of understanding that internally within a business, because it's not something that you'll be able to get from a public forum necessarily. 

Jennie Child: I think the only way is to collect it application stage three, Dinah, I think you were going to speak. 

Dinah Williams: The assignment, I think it's really important for organizations to be open about why they want to collect that data.

Dinah Williams: If they are saying that, look, we are holding ourselves accountable to improve inclusion and make sure that we have better representation. Underrepresented groups, you will find that people are willing to share that information. It's when it's just kind of randomly asked. You look at that wall, what's this data for, but if you're very open and honest about, you know, where you are, what your ambitions are and what you want to achieve, you will get buy-in from candidates and employees on correcting that data.

Dinah Williams: It's something that we've done. I'm part of a women's launching next week. Okay. The cool thing, which is for women in the comms industry. When I joined, we weren't collecting data on our members and I was a bit like, well, we don't know what you don't know what we're not doing. Well, we don't know who I am.

Dinah Williams: Let's ask that question and be very open and intentional about why we're asking that we now are able to benchmark ourselves year upon year on ensuring that diversity is at the core of attracting new members. Everybody wanted to kind of buy into that. You just have to ask the question. 

Helen McGuire: Yeah, exactly. And I know it can be a little bit complicated because there are areas of the world where you're simply not allowed to look professional.

Helen McGuire: I mean, Haley and I came across this you know, when we were building the Diversely and there are unfortunately closed pens GDPR or whatever, do data compliance rules are in that region to ask them once it just comes down, as you say, or applicant stage, sorry, just to make that clear, it's often times comes down to.

Helen McGuire: I'm asking your employees internally. Yeah, it's, you know, it's a tough one, certainly because you can get your hands on race, ethnicity, age, gender data, to a certain extent, but certainly disability and orientation. Neurodiversity is obviously another one as well which we haven't touched on.

Helen McGuire: So I'm just having another quick look at the questions and through them, half of my boss informed really sad that we have to wrap up in two minutes, but yeah, I probably the last question then helping you reduce dependency on we're cruising search firms, in other words, how do you minimize your costs?

Helen McGuire: You, I suppose we're looking there at how we find more diverse talent, more cost-effectively really anything.

Jennie Child: I mean, I think the most obvious way to me and because my background is in house is to build a stellar, amazing, you know, innovative in-house team that will, you know, truly believe in inclusive hiring and we'll drive that, you know, for your business. You know, that is the best and most tried and tested way to reduce dependency on external search firms.

Jennie Child: I know over time, eventually, depending on the scale of your hiring and scale is key to reducing costs. You should start to see that those numbers come down. 

Dinah Williams: Yeah. I would second that if you have a stellar and a recruitment team is inclusive, then that's how you mitigate that. But you would think that you would need at least an external to kind of look at what those processes look like to kind of give you. Top line. These are, these could potentially be challenges for you.

Helen McGuire: Yeah. Amazing. Thank you. Ladies, it's been an absolute pleasure to hear your insights and thoughts. I've certainly learnt a lot and I know we've had a bunch of people. The chat just saying great sessions. So hugely appreciate everybody's time.

Helen McGuire: Thank you very much for all the brilliant questions. You know, you've kind of done my job for me really, cause I didn't have to ask any of mine. So, huge. Thanks to everyone. I've just put this up there. As I mentioned, there is a whole new world of diversity out there and you can check out lots of different solutions just by scanning that code.

Helen McGuire: And if you'd like to get in touch with me or anybody else on the panel these experts really know their stuff and would love to help you. If you have any challenges in this space, please drop us a line. Contact@diversity.io, check out our website, diversity.io And I'll score that. The love, the people that work with the summit will also share our details.

Helen McGuire: So thank you so much, everybody really appreciates it. Wherever you are. Have a lovely afternoon, evening, and morning. 

Helen McGuire: And thanks for joining. 

Hayley Bakker: Thank you.


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Helen McGuire

Jo Major

Jennie Child

Hayley Bakker

Dinah Williams




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