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We're on the diversity journey. Are you?

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Many companies are actively working to showcase their gender diversity initiatives and what better time than on International Women’s Day. We’ve been looking at diversity for some time now, as part of our work towards the National Equality Standard (NES), so I’m aware that it can be a tough journey.

The theme for this International Women’s Day is #BeBoldForChange, which is definitely a sentiment I can relate to and one that resonates throughout our business. A couple of years ago we took the bold step of working towards the National Equality Standard (NES). Only a handful of companies have achieved this, no other recruiters have yet been successful and generally organisations take years to build up to undertaking the assessment. We took it straight away – a bold move some said.

But, that’s not to say we passed in our first month with flying colours! We’ve still got quite a journey before we will be awarded the NES – but we are taking great strides towards it.

For example, campaigns like #HerHaysStory help to showcase some of our successful females. The assessment helped us work out what we need to tackle first and by having the final assessment on our radar already we are all clear on the end goal that we are working towards.

Here are the top three things I’ve learnt so far on our journey:

Be targeted

Consider what diversity means for your organisation and where you need to focus your efforts first. It is a massive issue so think about what will make an impact on your business. For example, do you need to recruit people from a more diverse background or do you need to focus on your staff retention?

Be brave

Tackling diversity isn’t something you should look at in isolation, you’ll need to be bold in what you do and any changes need to be fully engrained in your company culture. I’ve always believed that Hays is a meritocracy so needed to be sure that the NES was right for us, but when we made the decision to pursue the accreditation we jumped right in.

Enjoy the journey

Changes aren’t going to happen overnight and it will take time to get everybody on board with any changes. You’ll need to appreciate that it will take you and your team out of their comfort zone and you might need a cultural shift to make it happen. Break it down into stages, acknowledge that you are taking positive action and celebrate your achievements along the way.

We already have various initiatives in place to support our clients and candidates on this journey too and help our clients to understand how they can tap into a diverse talent pool. With networking programmes like Hays Leading Women we are able to work with an engaged group of females, particularly in sectors where women are under-represented. We also produce an annual report looking at gender diversity in the workplace and I urge you all to take part in the survey, which is open now. Surveys like this give us and our clients a clear picture of the most pertinent issues affecting gender diversity today.

Now we are on the diversity journey, we are looking forward to taking our consultants, candidates and clients on the journey with us. So, if you are considering how you can support diversity in the workplace there’s no better time than now – actions speak louder than words and now’s the time to #BeBoldForChange.

Share your views on diversity in the workplace by taking our Gender Diversity Survey.

To find out more, or to discuss your recruitment needs in this field, please contact your local consultant.

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