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The recognition of the business case for diversity in the workplace is by no means a new phenomenon. But while it is now widely accepted that greater diversity really does have a positive impact on core organisational outcomes, the task of creating a truly representative workforce has the potential to be somewhat overwhelming.

Specialist global recruitment consultancy Empiric, which was recently awarded the 2015 Diversity and Inclusion Award by the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo), has outlined five simple steps to building a diverse workforce.

- Get Social – Follow and engage with different diversity groups via social media for instant access to expertise and advice. Online platforms are also the ideal place to share your company’s inclusive culture. To date we have engaged with 30 applicants via Twitter alone who meet the protected characteristics outlined in the Equality Act 2010 – candidates who we may not have reached through traditional advertising.

- Form Partnerships – Affiliating your business with organisations that are championing inclusivity is a sure-fire way to encourage applications from diverse talent pools. We currently work with the Government’s Disability Confident initiative, Stonewall, Diversity Jobs, Evenbreak, Race for Opportunity and Scope amongst others. By thinking outside the box and casting your net wide, you have the best chance of reaching the brightest talent.

- Review Policy – Unconscious bias can manifest itself in outdated policy that is not representative of today’s workforce. Take a second look at recruitment processes, staff benefits and pregnancy and maternity policy to ensure that every group is considered and catered for. Small adjustments in recruitment policy, such as accepting UK equivalent qualifications from other countries, can have a huge impact on attraction. Similarly, enhanced maternity and paternity packages – which are extended to same-sex couples – can give your organisation the edge with regards to staff retention.

- Get buy-in from the team – An inclusive brand must have a united voice, so be sure that each and every member of the team understands why diversity is top of your agenda. Creating a ‘family atmosphere’ at work is key to creating an open and inclusive culture. When Empiric joined the last London Pride March as an inclusive employer – the only recruitment consultancy to attend - we had a 100 per cent staff turnout. The ‘Parents Page’ on our company’s intranet – where mothers and fathers to engage with their colleagues when they are out of the office – is another example of our tight-knit, inclusive culture.

- Monitor Success – You can’t manage what you don’t measure – so be sure to record the success of your diversity initiative by collecting and analysing data on existing employees and potential recruits. This can then be monitored over time, as well as benchmarked against wider metrics such as National Labour Market data and the Lord Davis initiative.

Commenting on Empiric’s approach to increasing inclusion, Sam Kamyar, Managing Director, said:

“The term ‘diversity’ encompasses a myriad of protected characteristics, and effectively engaging with all groups, although somewhat challenging, brings huge rewards. The research most often cited as evidence of the value of diverse teams was provided by separate studies by consultants Catalyst and McKinsey, both published in 2007. These studies compared the financial performance of organisations and both found that greater diversity had a notable impact on businesses profitability.

“It is absolutely crucial that organisations go beyond ‘box-ticking’ and think creatively when it comes to implementing a diversity management initiative. Investing a little time and energy in ensuring that your organisation is as inclusive as it can possibly be will pay dividends in terms of staff morale, retention and performance.”

- Ends

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