Did you know that it’s actually unlawful, under the Equality Act 2010, to discriminate on the grounds of certain protected characteristics such as sex, race, ethnicity, disability, age, gender reassignment, religion, pregnancy, marriage/partnership or belief? The risks of getting the recruitment process wrong can result in being accused of discrimination and being taken to an Industrial Tribunal. This will be damaging for any business and could be particularly catastrophic for SMEs.
Here’s our short guide which explains how you can avoid discriminating when growing your team.
Fail to prepare is to prepare to fail
It’s important that you spend time at the beginning of the process carefully considering the role and requirements of the position you are hiring for. You should create a pre-determined role profile which establishes the key criteria that the successful candidate should meet to successfully fulfil your requirements. This profile should be strictly adhered to throughout the process to ensure that you recruit ONLY to meet the specifications in this profile and do not consider external factors, that could be considered discriminatory.
Use this role profile to create a detailed job description and person specification documents. In these documents, you should clearly describe the daily duties of the role and the skills required from the successful candidate. The duties outlined must be ESSENTIAL for the post as well as RELEVANT, NON-DISCRIMINATORY, and JUSTIFIABLE requirements. This not only ensures you attract the right candidates but also protects you as an employer.
Have a written selection policy
Add an extra layer of protection to your recruitment process by ensuring you have a written policy covering your selection process. This should cover the content of the job advertisement and selection procedures and how to conduct interviews. Train all interviewers thoroughly on this process to ensure there are no breaks in the chain.
Document genuine occupational requirements
There are times when you genuinely need to positively discriminate. For example, if you require a male only nurse to care for male patients to protect their dignity. In these instances, it is justifiable to discriminate but it’s always best to check with the Equal Opportunities Commission http://www.eoc.org.uk/ to ensure you are compliant with your legal obligations.
Be careful with the language you use
When creating job descriptions, adverts or person specifications, be careful with the language you use. Phrases like “fit” or “energetic” could be seen to discriminate against those with disabilities while requiring a minimum number of years’ experience could equally be seen to discriminate on the basis of age.
Have an equal opportunities statement
It’s always good practice to feature your equal opportunities statement in your job advertisement to demonstrate your commitment right from the start.
Make reasonable adjustments for the right candidate
You are legally obliged to recruit the person who best fits your job profile. If they tick all the boxes of your person specification but have a disability, you are legally obliged to consider making an adjustment to the role, your business or premises to enable them to perform their duties.
You are able to request information from applicants as to whether they have special requirements to undertake the role. This will enable you to make any adjustments required to enable them to attend an interview.
Structured and systematic interviewing
At the interview stage, you should have clearly defined selection criteria and weightings that are objectively justifiable. Questions should correspond directly to the job description and you should have a standardised scoring system. This will help you objectively evaluate all candidates on their SUITABILITY FOR THE ROLE only and not on other factors.
Test with caution
Tests are required sometimes to assess a candidate’s experience or suitability. For example, if the role requires candidates to be competent using a certain piece of software. Tests should only be used if they are both relevant and justifiable for the selection process. There should be no discrimination aspects to the test and the business should make reasonable adjustments to allow every candidate to take the test.
By documenting every part of your recruitment process you can ensure that your recruitment decisions are justifiable should you ever be challenged on your decision. Make sure you keep records for at least 12 months.
Equal opportunities and monitoring discrimination
It’s good practice as a business to collect information for equal opportunities monitoring but this information should be kept completely separate from the selection panel. Selectors should never be provided with this information.
It is vital to consider every aspect of your recruitment process to ensure you are protected from being accused of discrimination. Always ensure that every part of the process is relevant, non-discriminatory and objectively justifiable. For professional advice on your recruitment process or equal opportunities policies, contact us by calling 0330 555 1139 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m rather taken with this new notion of Holacracy first coined by Brian J Robertson, so in my earlier post I just provided an overview. After a bit more research I am able to provide you with a more in depth view of how it works which is described below.
Further information can be got from www.holacracy.org
To say there’s no hierarchy in a holacracy is inaccurate. There is, but it’s much less rigid than a traditional structure. Its constitution is made up of semi-autonomous circles, with each circle having its own goals and responsibilities. Every circle has a ‘lead link’ that designates people certain roles. Each circle exists within the context of a higher-level circle, but no circle is fully autonomous.
With holacracy, governance meetings structure how the work gets done, making it clear who is responsible for what and with how much authority. Each employee has complete control over the roles they’ve been assigned or elected to. However, they are still accountable, so if there’s a problem or they have an issue with a colleague, it’s their responsibility to sort it out.
Hiring and firing
In a typical top-down management structure, the power to hire and fire is usually in the hands of managers. With holacracy, it’s less personal, making it more about who is the best fit for each role. But because there are no managers, who actually does the hiring and firing you might ask?
As with any business, employees can be removed, but the process needs to be decided upon by governance, a committee sometimes referred to as an anchor circle. A circle’s lead link can remove someone from a role and find a better fit from the talent pool available if necessary. An employee may also be removed if they can’t find enough roles to do within the company.
Is holacracy right for you?
A company without managers might sound like a recipe for chaos, but supporters of holacracy say it actually has the opposite effect because a workplace free from office politics results in fewer tensions and empowers employees. Ultimately, it gives everyone a voice, which fuels more ideas and opportunities, and is extremely flexible, which is paramount for success in a modern workforce.
However, it isn’t for everyone, and shouldn’t be undertaken without due consideration. Without any one person truly in charge, it’s not always clear where the buck stops when it comes to issues such as company under performance and finance. Also, because staff aren’t promoted or given a clear career path, they may be tempted by more lucrative offers elsewhere. It might also be difficult for current managers to relinquish power.
Did you know, (because I didn’t) that the current administration agreed to make Section 78 of the Diversity and Equality Act 2010 – which makes gender pay discrepancies transparent – compulsory.
Currently women earn .81p for every £1 a man earns (ONS).
This means that from early 2016 firms with over 250 + employees will have to publish any pay gaps between the genders!
That should make for some very embarrassing reading in early 2016. As any women will tell you, asking to be paid what you are worth, not to mention the same as your male counterparts doing the same job, is an excruciating, usually futile experience. Maybe this naming and shaming might result in a level playing field, who knows, I for one will be interested to see how all this plays out.
On a slightly different topic but relevant,
I attended a meeting this week at Green Park executive search and while I was waiting I started to read their rather brilliant booklet called DIVERSITY – A ten minute guide for the busy executive, part of their little green book series. It was a surprisingly illuminating read and I was particularly taken with their ‘Nine figures that will startle you’ piece on diversity in the UK workplace. To put it all in perspective according to the piece, in 2011 87% or 55 million people in the UK describe themselves as White. The remaining 13%, some 8.1 million belong to an ethnic group, representing 1 in 8 of the UK population. The article goes on to say,
1 – 65 companies in the FTSE 100 – in effect, two out of every three companies have an all White executive leadership (Green Park Diversity Analytics)
2 – Fewer than half of all Londoners now describe themselves as White British. The same is true of Leicester, Luton and Slough (ONS)
3 – The US is also reaching a demographic tipping point. Black, Hispanic, Asian and mixed race births comprised over half of new arrivals in 2011 – (US Census Bureau)
4- Nigeria is projected to become the worlds fourth most populous contrary by 2050 (Population Reference Bureau)
5 – 8% of Black students are at Russell Group universities, compared with just a quarter of White students. (Equality and Human Rights Commission)
6 – Only 17% of disabled people were born with disabilities. The majority acquire their disability in the course of their working lives. (Papworth Trut)
7 – Women represent a growth market more than twice as big as China and India combined (Harvard Business Review)
8 – Across the UK in 2012, the full time gender pay gap in annual earnings was just under 20%. The gap was widest in the financial and insurance sectors. Across all sectors, pay discrepancies were most pronounced among managers, directors and senior officials. (Equality and Human Rights Commission)
9 – Britons think that youth ends at the age of 35; for Greeks the age is 52 (European Social Survey)
So what this article says to me is, that most companies in the UK need to smarten up and dust off their Diversity and Equality policies and make a concerted effort to adequately reflect and mirror the current and future demographic, that is where their customer base and profits will lie. We should all be doing it now.
Talent is diverse and spans all spectrums, people should be rewarded and promoted according to their abilities regardless of any other factors, one no one group shut out from the upper echelons of corporate and business life.
If you require help with your diversity and equality in the workplace, please get in touch,