“IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT RECRUITMENT, IT’S ABOUT RETENTION TOO – AND THAT’S SOMETHING YOU NEED TO WORK AT CONSTANTLY
such as Pride AM, People of Creativity, Open Inclusion and Advertising and Disability, can help make sure your job ads are reaching a broad spectrum of people. And think outside the box, for example, Let’s Be Brief has a show about creativity on radio station NTS, whose motto is ‘Don’t Assume’. “Find people in the places that matter to them, you can’t assume they’ll gravitate towards you,” adds Neckles.
Diversity recruitment goals can help. Digital agency ustwo has an agreement with its recruiter than 50 per cent of candidates must come from underrepresented groups. “I’m sure that got me on an interview list,” says Fuchs. Evaluate your current process: is your recommendation scheme just bringing in identikit designers? Are your interview questions standardised to make for fair comparison? How gender neutral is the wording of your ad? Starting a conversation about the language you use can lead you to interesting places. Social media platform Buffer changed the wording of its job ads from ‘hacker’ to ‘developer’, for example, in a bid to attract more women.
“The problem with bias,” says Wolff Olins’ Ije Nwokorie, “is that we all want to think we’re not. But we’re all human beings and we all form biases.” Organisations such as Altogether Different, Equality and Diversity UK and Creative Equals all offer unconscious bias training, which helps staff identify where those prejudices might come into play. Given that research from totaljobs finds almost one in five hiring managers make a decision on a candidate within a minute of meeting them and 44 per cent decide after just 15 minutes, making sure your team is as open as possible is integral. You could also consider implementing blind portfolio reviews or using an organisation such as GapJumpers, which strips applications of identifying info.
Your interview process may also be discouraging or discriminating against talented candidates, including those with disabilities. “It may be worth deviating from the standard interview process altogether and instead, providing a work trail or test instead,” suggests Waite. “Hypothetical or obscure industry terminology can be challenging to some people, as can questions that require overly imaginative answers,” she explains.
ACCESSIBILITY AND DISABILITY
“It’s not just about recruitment, it’s about retention too – and that’s something you need to work at constantly,” says Fuchs. Luckily, many strategies for making sure people from under-represented groups thrive in the studio make the workplace better for everyone. Karwai Pun, an interaction designer at Government Digital Service, who has been improving digital services for users with all types of disabilities, says: “Having people with disabilities on staff brings greater insight into usability testing, accessibility training and design discussions. Smarter ways of working such as remote working, home working or flexitime offer useful alternatives for all colleagues, not just those with disabilities.” Similarly, many adjustments to your space – introducing height-adjustable desks or areas for quiet concentration – give greater flexibility to all staff. “Start by auditing your space to identify where the blockers are,” says Waite. “Invite some specialists in for the day to