During consultations with employers, our Employer Engagement Team was increasingly asked how organisations could better attract and recruit students and graduates, from a range of diverse backgrounds, to help with:
- succession planning and achieving a more balanced workforce;
- attracting candidates with particular skills or characteristics;
- gaining access to a wider range of talent while bringing different perspectives to the organisation to aid innovation, problem solving and creative thinking; and,
- improving staff retention by reinforcing the diverse and inclusive organisation culture.
Whilst some guidance for employers exists, there was no single comprehensive source to help employers realise the benefits of recruiting a diverse workforce, and understand how to adapt their processes to recruit and retain a wide range of candidates.
Action & approach
Ellie Richards, Careers Service Employer Engagement Officer, researched and reviewed existing externally-available information for recruiters on EDI, identifying gaps in provision with a view to developing and consolidating resources to create one useful guide.
A consultation with employer engagement colleagues was conducted, taking account of reports and outcomes of consultations with employers and gathering ideas for content. Employers were asked to provide case studies of good practice.
The Careers Service formed an internal Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity Group to consider our approach to EDI, develop plans to support this work and progress activity. Ellie worked with the Group to develop a proposal for new guidance, which was approved by senior management.
The content was written and reviewed in consultation with Careers Service colleagues and employer and university stakeholder members of our Employer Advisory Forum.
Positive feedback on the draft Guide was received from the 19 members of the Careers Service’s Employer Advisory Forum members with no suggested amendments.
The Guide has been built into our employer consultations process – our mechanism for providing tailored recruitment solutions to the employers we work with, and has been shared with 104 employers through 1:1 discussions so far.
It acts as a valuable tool and prompt for employer engagement colleagues to highlight the importance of EDI, challenge employers on their recruitment practices and work with them to address any barriers during these discussions.
The Guide was shared with the Yorkshire Universities Graduate Implementation Group – EDI Task and Finish Group as an example of EDI-focused good practice between a higher education institution, and student and graduate employers. This Guide is now forming the basis of tailored guidance and support specifically for SMEs which the Group is putting together to help them implement and further develop inclusive practices in recruitment and workforce development.
Conclusions & advice
The Guide is now being further developed by the Yorkshire Universities Graduate Implementation Group – EDI Task and Finish Group to provide tailored recommendations which take account of the budgets, time resources and recruitment practices of smaller employers across the Yorkshire region. Colleagues from the Universities of Bradford, Leeds, Sheffield, Leeds Beckett and York St John are contributing to subjects such as advertising vacancies, shortlisting, assessing and interviewing applicants, and reasonable adjustments. Feedback from employers will also be obtained to help shape the resource.
The Guide is available as an online and printable PDF, and will soon be available as a tailored webpage for each participating university to adopt.
The majority of our web-based documents for employers, including this Guide, are Googledocs due to the nature of the University’s website structure and format restrictions. This means that we are unable to monitor traffic to this specific document, and therefore measure usage outputs as effectively as we would like.
Case Study – Inclusive Recruitment Guide for Employers – University of Sheffield