As part of WORK180’s Executives Driving Gender Equality (EDGE) Think Tank series, we recently hosted ‘Being Bold and Building Trust: The Benefits of Transparency in Recruitment’. Moderated by Louise Fowkes, Inclusion Strategist at WORK180, the panel was made up of a range of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and HR experts from across the UK:
- Asif Sadiq, Senior Vice President, Equity and Inclusion, International at WarnerMedia
- Siobhan Kelly-Bush, Talent Manager at Schneider Electric UK&I
- Stefanie Wilson, Head of Diversity & Inclusion at Vaultex UK Ltd
- Maria Onyango, Head of Talent Acquisition and Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging at Telegraph Media Group
- Stacey Kincaid, Global Lead, Resourcing at Spirit Energy
Weren’t able to attend the live event? Not to worry, you can watch it now on YouTube or read this article outlining the key learnings and insights shared by our expert panel. From the benefits of transparency to the practical steps you can take to reap its rewards for your team, it’s full of valuable information and a must-read for any employer.
Why it’s important for companies to be transparent
Transparency is increasingly important for both attracting candidates and retaining employees; and by being transparent from the very start of an employee’s journey, your company is proving its commitment to creating an open and honest workplace where everyone can thrive. This is known to;
- help candidates make informed decisions;
- enable an inclusive process and attract a diverse range of potential candidates;
- lead to more engaged employees in the long run.
It starts with authenticity
Authenticity plays a key role in transparency. This means having the courage to admit when an organisation is not perfect and where it needs to progress — and that can be a difficult concept to adjust to. Companies naturally want to attract the best candidates and assume that this means ‘putting your best foot forward'. But rather than claiming to be perfect, it’s of greater value for an employer to admit its problems and prove it’s committed to progress.
How to cultivate an authentic employee experience
- Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable: It’s ok if your company isn’t perfect. It’s committed to progress, and that’s what matters.
- Don’t rely on words to communicate your company’s values: Provide proof of sustainable actions that are driving long-term change within your organisation.
- Remember to be human: For example, where possible, ditch automated emails and provide a personal response.
- Ensure authentic values: It’s increasingly important to job seekers that a company’s purpose aligns with their values. So if your values aren’t relatable then it’s time to rethink.
- Be ready to have hard conversations: A common theme of the event was the importance of having difficult conversations with candidates, with the guidance that it’s better to be open and honest from the start.
Top tip: Be upfront about your company’s benefits and policies
Each of the panellists advised that the best approach is to be upfront about your benefits and policies as soon as possible.
WORK180 Endorsed Employers have proven that publicising your company’s benefits and policies for candidates to consider before they even apply is of great value; it removes barriers and ultimately results in a higher number of high-quality applications from women.
The consensus from the panel was to also go beyond sharing your company’s benefits and policies, and be transparent with how your company brings its values to life. Provide a glimpse into the DEI journey, where you are, how your employees live, the company culture, and actions you’re taking to continuously improve and evolve.
Creating an inclusive approach
By having benefits and policies easily accessible, organisations are “laying their cards on the table” and holding themselves accountable. And today, this is something that job seekers (rightly so) expect to be able to see in job ads.
But before sharing their benefits, employers need to understand the difference between a benefit and what is simply good practice. For example, the pandemic has taught us all that a benefit like the ability to work from home can actually be considered an essential for many. And, as the pandemic has also highlighted, this is particularly true for those who need to contend with factors such as accessibility issues or personal responsibilities like parenting or caring duties.
Of course, it’s important for employers to ensure that these benefits are inclusive. How can you ensure a benefit is inclusive? By understanding and providing benefits that cater to different individuals and abilities, and ensuring they’re communicated clearly from the very start.
Training and re-education that equips the team to talk and act on DEI should also be provided. This is not only for recruitment and sourcing managers, but everyone in the organisation — including leadership. This is key to embedding an inclusive culture and behaviours, which begins by breaking down stereotypes of the kind of person that ‘fits’ the role or company. Eventually, this culture shift will cultivate a company of people that naturally attracts a diverse range of people to the team.
It’s not about perfection: It’s about progress and commitment
Candidates want to know about morale. In other words, what are the real reasons employees want to stay at your company?
As such, employers that want to attract the most talented candidates must be open and comfortable with sharing their culture and values, benefits and policies, and even areas in need of development. An essential part of this is performing a self-assessment. This involves identifying areas in which your company is excelling and areas it's lacking, and being willing to improve.
Remember, feedback is a gift. So be sure to welcome it from both candidates going through your process and, of course, your employees. To do this, you need to provide a safe space where individuals can say what they want without fear of being dismissed or judged. Yes, at times, you may not like what you hear but these nuggets of information can truly drive change and improve your approach to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Did you know: WORK180 helps its Endorsed Employers continuously improve their recruitment process by providing regular feedback from real-life candidates.
When you receive feedback, be sure to acknowledge it and provide actionable plans. Equally, let the world know what you need to improve and how you aim to do this. This brings both current employees and potential candidates on this journey, which increases engagement and perpetuates your positive efforts.
The final point: You get what you give
Ending on a high, the panellists pointed out that transparency isn’t a one-way street; by being transparent, you are inviting the same level of transparency back. And transparent candidates lead to successful hires who feel comfortable sharing ideas that benefit businesses in the long run.
Feeling inspired and ready to show candidates what your company has to offer? Take the endorsement check today to see if your company is ready to become an Endorsed Employer for All Women and display your ads on our transparent job board.
Remember, it’s not about being perfect. It’s about proving your commitment to progress.
About the author
To help women find a workplace that will work for them, we prescreen employers on their gender pay gap data, parental leave policies, flexible working, and more. Find your next role on the WORK180 job board.