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Cath Harrison

JVP Group

Founder and CEO

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How to build an inclusive employee value proposition

Why an EVP centred around inclusivity is so powerful.
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How inclusive would you say your employee value proposition is? If you’re making good progress when it comes to diversity, equality and inclusion (DEI) in your organisation, how clearly are you articulating that throughout your talent acquisition processes?

It’s well established how important inclusion is; the body of evidence demonstrating the many organisational benefits is substantial and growing. A diverse range of talent means different perspectives, new ideas, and greater creativity and innovation, which all have a positive impact on company performance. 

It’s powerful at the individual level too, creating a culture of belonging where everyone can be themselves without feeling pressured to ‘fit in’. 

How does your organisation measure up?

A strong EVP helps a company access a far wider talent pool. In particular, an EVP that puts a clear focus on inclusivity has the potential to have a considerable impact. Glassdoor research found that 76% of job seekers and employees believe inclusivity and diversity are important factors when evaluating companies and job offers. 

Quite often we find that companies are doing a lot of very positive work around DEI but struggle to articulate that in the job adverts.

To what extent have you reviewed your EVP when it comes to diversity and inclusion? When it comes to recruitment, companies often focus on listing benefits and job requirements, which are certainly vitally important components of what makes a vacancy stand out, but candidates are now looking beyond those factors. 

By sharing what makes your company stand out from an inclusion perspective, it will make your vacancy appeal to a far wider group of people. 

How should you review your EVP from an inclusivity viewpoint?

Start off by canvasing the views of a broad range of stakeholders. That should include opinions from current employees, and ideally involve input from those who have left too, if possible.

It goes without saying that you must make a conscious effort to uncover the views and insights of people in underrepresented or marginalised groups. 

If you employ a certain proportion of a particular demographic, aim to get that proportion of the demographic’s responses. There’s limited benefit in asking for views on diversity from a non-diverse sample of people. 

Exit interviews, anonymous surveys, and focus groups are good ways to draw out opinions. 

Questions you should be asking  

Points to consider during and after this process include:

  • Where could unconscious bias be creeping in, resulting in you unintentionally excluding people?
  • How inclusive are your hiring processes? Have you taken action to remove barriers to processes, such as looking at the make-up of interview panels, or asking neurodiverse candidates how you can help them best demonstrate their capabilities if they are likely to struggle with the conventional interview format?
  • How clearly are you demonstrating your organisation’s commitment to DEI? It could still be something you are working towards but are you sharing goals and progress? 
  • How do you recognise and reward employees? Do you use inclusive criteria that give everyone the same opportunity to receive appreciation for the work they do and the effort they make?
  • How inclusive is your benefits package? Do you check it on a regular basis to make sure it continues to meet a range of needs such as health needs, personal and caring needs, or geographical restrictions as far as it reasonably can?

Communicating your EVP for talent acquisition

When it comes to inclusivity, are you highlighting what you have to offer early enough in the recruitment process? 

Be mindful of your word choices and the overall balance of them within your advert, aiming for gender-neutral language.

Quite often we find that companies are doing a lot of very positive work around DEI but struggle to articulate that in the job adverts they are putting out, and throughout other recruitment process touchpoints. Here are some tips to help you reach more diverse talent pools. 

Consider job titles

The job title is potentially the first impression you will make. Is your title inclusive and an accurate description of what is needed? Make sure it doesn’t have negative connotations such as gender-specific titles like ‘maintenance man’ or ‘foreman’. 

Use inclusive language and images

Consider the language you are using throughout your advert and any associated documentation like job descriptions. Could anything in there have an impact from the perspective of protected characteristics such as age, race, or gender? Specific words or phrases can end up discouraging people from applying, so be careful when drafting your advert copy.

For example, research suggests that certain words like ‘strong’, ‘competitive’ and ‘assertive’ are typically seen as masculine-coded words and are more likely to put female applicants off. 

One of the most powerful ways to showcase an inclusive culture is by sharing the real-life experiences of employees. 

Words that are more likely to appeal to female candidates include ‘interpersonal’, ‘support’ and ‘dedicated’. Be mindful of your word choices and the overall balance of them within your advert, aiming for gender-neutral language.

Think about the images you use too – a lot of non-diverse images all over your website and on social media could potentially undermine messages about how diverse your organisation really is.  

If you state something is essential, make sure it is

It’s easy to get carried away describing what is needed in a role, and lose the focus about what the truly essential skills and requirements actually are. By straying into listing ‘nice-to-have’ s, you could end up discouraging and excluding candidates so make sure your advert is very clear about what is genuinely essential.

Highlight flexibility

Articulate what is on offer when it comes to flexibility. Are you able to accommodate flexible working arrangements like job sharing, flexible working schedules or remote working? If so, make sure that is clearly stated on the job advert as it will be a huge draw.

Your EVP starts way before an employee signs their contract with your organisation.

Share stories and highlight role models

One of the most powerful ways to showcase an inclusive culture is by sharing the real-life experiences of employees. Their stories and testimonials will paint an authentic picture of your organisation, helping a more diverse range of candidates to be able to imagine themselves working there. 

Your EVP starts way before an employee signs their contract with your organisation – it’s in how your organisation is perceived externally too. By making sure your proposition is clearly communicated upfront, you can be sure that you’re attracting a diverse pool of talent from the outset. 

If you enjoyed this, read: Why now is the time to invest in employer branding.

Author Profile Picture
Cath Harrison

Founder and CEO

Read more from Cath Harrison
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