Diversity And Inclusion: The Black Lives Matter Movement In HR And Recruitment
Spring 2020 saw the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, not just in the United States, but all around the world.
In Canada, we saw the Black Lives Matter movement take shape and it has sparked a conversation with the communities and individuals who are Black, Indigenous and/or a Person of Colour. With that came a deeper understanding and drive to be better, do better and be inclusive of all people.
For those of us working in HR and recruitment, we found the work we had been doing in the areas of diversity and inclusion to be even more important and impactful than ever before—and with a brighter spotlight shone on our jobs.
The areas of diversity and inclusion are ones that HR professionals have championed over the years.
From ensuring people of diverse backgrounds felt safe in their workplace to enabling everyone to have a voice and a seat at the table and many other initiatives in between. This brighter spotlight being shone on the work we do and have been doing felt, honestly, a little intimidating at first.
Personally, I wanted to make sure that, as a person in this profession, I was doing all I could to make these things a reality for every candidate I spoke to and every company I engaged with.
I knew I couldn’t change everything overnight or with the snap of my fingers, so I chose two areas I knew I could impact now:
- Recruitment marketing: This includes how your company is perceived by the public and, in this case specifically, candidates and how you go about attracting candidates to your company.
- Company values: These are the values truly aligned with the type of individual you want working for your organization and are they inclusive or, worse, divisive?
Asking a candidate if they have any questions at the end of an interview can be a bit of a Pandora’s box.
Before the Black Lives Matter movement, I would typically get questions along the lines of “What are the next steps in the interview process?” and “What do you like most about working for the company?”
Then just like that, a switch was flipped. I was being asked questions about how diverse the team is (specifically the executive leadership team), how we handle people who are racist and how are we planning on making the organization more diverse.
Fortunately, I had those answers and stats memorized way before the movement started and have been acutely aware and dialled in on these areas.
But, what does that now mean for a company that may not be so diverse or so inclusive?
I took this as an opportunity to educate myself and help educate my peers further on the different forms of implicit bias that exist in the workplace and also in the hiring process.
Understanding how we could be more inclusive through the words we said or typed, verbiage used in a job description and language of a company’s mission or vision can really be where inclusivity fails before there’s even a chance.
One area of particular importance is how micro-aggressions and micro-invalidations can impact whether or not a person applies to an open role to how a candidate is perceived throughout the entire interview process.
From there, we are able to take a broader look at the role recruitment plays in building an inclusive environment and enabling a space where diversity flourishes. Then, you and your organization can truly be enabled to hire the best candidate for a role regardless of gender, the colour of their skin or where they came from.
The values of a company become the backbone from which all people-related decisions should be made, especially when it comes to hiring new team members, letting others go or promotions.
For example, a common value that I have seen companies typically adopt is transparency.
In a business sense, it is the process of being open, honest, and straightforward about a company’s operations and when something goes wrong they don’t try to hide it. So, what does this have to do with diversity and inclusion? Well, everything really.
As an organization, are you transparent with your team members on how diverse your team is?
If someone were to ask you a question, like the ones I am being asked in interviews by prospective employees, are you able to answer them honestly?
If you can’t answer these questions honestly or feel like your answer perhaps isn’t good enough, then it’s high time to take a close look at them to ensure they are aligning with your current workforce, and the diverse and inclusive workforce you are planning for in the future.
As a starting point you can ask yourself these three questions:
- Do the values of my organization allow my team members to show up as their whole selves?
- Do they force people to hide parts of themselves so they may be eligible for that promotion?
- Do the values of my organization help to attract diverse team members or do they detract?
At Beacon HR, I am able to have an impact not only on Beacon’s inclusivity and diversity, but also with the numerous clients I work alongside, on a daily and annual basis.
Ensuring that our team is diverse and inclusive has really been our mandate from day one, and I feel more empowered and energized than ever before to continue on this path. As one thing is for certain, our work will never be done and we will continue to make communities and organizations as inclusive and diverse as ever before.
Keira Roets is the people operations manager at Beacon HR and is based out of Vancouver, B.C.
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