The greater the diversity the greater the perfection

getting it done through | The greater the diversity the greater the perfection
By Stephanie Coward | 30th March 2023 | 5 min read

With the 2023 Spring Budget creating focus on bringing back those out of work – be it due to childcare commitments, sick-leave or early retirement – the cogs in my head started turning. 

Especially with the current talent shortage, getting skilled people back in the workplace could be huge for UK businesses! 

But if you want to secure talent, you are going to have to seriously pivot from what you are currently doing in your recruitment efforts. 

It’s time to consider diversity in its broadest sense 

Is it just me or do a lot of approaches to workplace diversity feel like it starts and ends in PR?! Kind of like ‘greenwashing’ - when a company spends more time marketing itself as something than actually being that thing.  

Scouring the net, I found these two common definitions of workplace diversity. 

‘The term used for a workplace composed of employees with varying characteristics, such as different sex, gender, race, ethnicity and sexual orientation.’ 

‘Diversity recognises that everyone is different in a variety of visible and non-visible ways, and that those differences are to be recognised, respected, valued, promoted, and celebrated. They may include, but are not limited to, differences protected by equalities law.’ 

It’s no surprise therefore that most people think of diversity in terms of protecting minority groups.  

Don’t get me wrong, this is incredibly important, however, I think businesses MUST consider diversity in its broadest sense – hopefully, something the Spring Budget will help pioneer. 

For me when building teams that really pack a punch, you need a diverse set of lived experiences, backgrounds, personality traits and views on life as well.  

I see far too many people hiring to type.  

People they can imagine socialising with, folks with similar views and experiences to them – it’s a natural human trait to seek out others like us.  

Watch out for the PLU trap

People Like Us? Maybe one or two, but the best teams have an eclectic mix, eccentric even, depending on their business goals. 

Speaking of goals (tenuous link coming), Eric Cantona struck 77 goals in just 171 appearances for Manchester United, helping them win four Premier League titles and two FA Cups during his colourful five-year spell at Old Trafford. 

Did Alex Ferguson struggle to manage Eric Cantona? Yes. Were they completely different characters? Yes. Were they ‘mates’? No.  But when Ferguson had Cantona at his disposal, United were undoubtedly a more formidable force. 

The moral of the story; you have to be prepared to work with different characters and establish how to get the best out of them. 

Diversity means offering flexibility

Recruiters have seen a significant rise in demand for jobs offering more flexibility, according to jobs site Indeed. It said searches for part-time work increased by 65% in recent months compared with a year ago. 

Do you offer part-time hours? With all the chat going on in the media about the four-day week, you can’t ignore it. You don’t necessarily need a four-day week policy, but you do need to be open to the idea of agreeing to let the hours or number of days worked flex if a top person comes along. If top people aren’t coming along, you may need to think about communicating your ‘flexibility’ in the job ad.  

It might also be a way of affording the best candidate given how inflated salaries have become of late. 

Diversity means hiring people for attitude over formal experience 

An increase in searches for jobs where no experience is necessary, again from Indeed, suggests that people are moving industry. Your industry might be more attractive if you offer flexibility and if you are open to people with less experience than you might have originally wanted.  

After all, the best people are the ones you can mould rather than the ones that think they don’t have anything else to learn. Recruit based on potential and the different perspectives that person might bring.  

As my lovely CEO Elona Mortimer-Zhika often says – 'no one is the finished article'. 

Unite around a common purpose

We’ve established that the ‘diverser’ (new dictionary entry!) the better, and I hope I have encouraged you to think differently about that in your own business.  

The next step is bringing these diverse individuals together, united as a group, and the best way to do that is to come together behind a common purpose.  

Take a look at a previous diary insert for more on that.

Well, I hope this insight has been useful and has inspired you to yet again think outside the box when it comes to finding talent. Diversity is important. It’s not a tick-box exercise – it’s a movement towards excellence. 

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