Building an Inclusive and Diverse Workforce for the Future Seminar & Podcast

As you may have seen it’s a big year for Inspired Selection. As part of our 20th Anniversary celebrations, we sponsored the People Development Stream at London Book Fair, and organised a couple of seminars which our MD, Suzy Astbury, chaired Women in Leadership and Building an Inclusive and Diverse Workforce for the Future. In case you missed it, here’s a quick roundup of our Diversity & Inclusion seminar, which had some fantastic speakers on the panel.

John Athanasiou, Director of People at HarperCollins, has rolled out an industry-leading strategy on diversity and inclusion at HarperCollins, for which the company was recognised at the 2016 Race Equality Awards, as well as this it was also the first Publisher to launch a BAME Traineeship which is now in its third year running. Rachael Wilson, MD of the EW Group, heads up one of the UK’s leading diversity consultancies, working across the UK and internationally to increase workplace inclusion. Finally, Caroline Porter who, since becoming a Journals Publisher in 2010 and Senior Publisher in 2016 at SAGE Publications, has played a key role in executing their strategic objectives around the management, development and growth of its journals business.

As one of the hot topics in publishing, when it comes to diversity and inclusion a lot is being said with not a lot being actioned. John highlighted that it’s all well and good to invest in jobs with titles such as “Chief Diversity Officer”, but it isn’t just this one person’s responsibility to implement change: it’s everyone’s job to adjust their mind set and change the business. When the changes are being made, it is good to keep track of progress using data. Rachael highlighted this as being the bedrock to recognising where changes need to be made and their progress. It’s also important to keep in mind that each sector, and every business, is very different. Instead of comparing your data with another publisher’s, you should be comparing it to the national average to gauge the right benchmark for YOU.

Naturally, all humans are biased. A big part of moving forward on this issue is finding ways to minimise this bias. HarperCollins are currently working with Notix to build a bespoke recruitment portal to take a blind approach to recruitment. The portal will anonymise CVs, also removing addresses and educational establishments, and interview processes will ensure that multiple interviewers are met across multiple stages. As well as changing these procedures, again, data collection is key through portals such as this. It’s a good way to monitor equal opportunities anonymously without any impact on the recruitment process. Examples of diversity monitoring forms can be found easily on the internet which can be adapted to suit your business needs.

To really make impactful and lasting changes, Caroline echoed that embedding an inclusive approach to recruitment is paramount, and that it’s an issue that people shouldn’t be afraid to raise. It should be on meeting agendas and training should be delivered to all staff involved in the process. Asking teams what their thoughts are on these issues and recognising their responses as being important will also go a long way, and it is something that can have a high response rate. With this, you can get to the bottom of what the real problems are in the business, straight from current staff who are in the know, so by encouraging them to speak out you will be able to put the right policies in place rather than going in blind!

Lots of advice and thoughts were shared during the panel so we decided to put together a podcast, too. Click the link below to have a listen to find out more about what these three companies have been doing to combat the diversity and inclusion topics. We’d like to offer a huge thank you to John, Rachael and Caroline for sharing their insight, and hope you found it helpful!