How To Prepare Your Business To Recruit Service Leavers
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

Between 12,000 and 20,000 veterans leave the armed services each year and venture into the civilian workforce. Yet a large percentage of them are struggling to find their perfect job role. Thanks to 31% of recruiters being reluctant to hire ex-military personnel, according to reports by SSAFA. The number one reason? Many of them worry about being adequately prepared to provide the right support for veterans. However, employing ex-military personnel can benefit your organisation in so many ways, like adding all-important diversity to your workplace, a great work ethic and providing your business with highly skilled employees.

 

Educate Your Recruitment Team To See Past The Differences On A Veteran CV

One of the barriers stopping the recruitment of ex-armed forces employees is the recruitment process. They don’t always take into account the unique skill set that ex-military candidates may possess. Many of them do apply for jobs and end up never getting past the first stage of selection. Simply because their CV does not look like that of a standard traditionally trained professional. Yet, the skills they can bring to the job can be easily transferable and extremely useful. To combat this, focus on training your recruitment team to identify and understand the transferable skills that an armed forces CV can offer.

Research by SAAS showed that some of the positive skills possessed by service leavers include being a strong team player, resilience and being good problem solvers. However, there remains a gap between recognising these qualities and employment practices, according to Jessica Rose at Business in the Community. You can also run regular workshops in your business covering topics such as CV preparation and assessment of employability skills.

 

Build A Support Package Specifically With Ex-Military Employees In Mind

Offering personalised benefits can attract the right talent, including military personnel. To do this, you must first understand the needs of your workforce. If you are going to be adding ex-military personnel to your workforce, it may be a good idea to do research on the key benefits that matter to them. For example, recent research has shown that levels of PTSD are on the increase for veterans. This indicates the need to prioritise mental health benefits, including psychotherapy, hypnotherapy and family therapy.

In addition to prioritising mental health benefits, you will want to focus on other benefits, such as disability and health insurance. A large percentage of the military population retire or leave the armed forces with an injury or disability that may affect their job performance. Securing cover means they feel better having a safety net, and your business is also covered for the possibility.

Most online compensation calculators offer disability and veteran considerations to help you accurately estimate veteran impairment ratings and compensation categories. Another suggestion is to offer direct links to organisations focused on supporting veterans with PTSD and their families. The more uniques support you can provide, the better you will look in their eyes.

 

mental health

 

 

Publicise Your Dedication To Supporting Veterans

The United Kingdom is littered with employers all doing their best to support ex-armed forces. They do this by either offering veteran recruitment programs, retraining or other recruitment initiatives. The one thing they all seem to have in common? They publicise their efforts and willingness to employ military personnel.

Whether it is creating a dedicated careers section for military applicants, offering a veterans employment program, or announcing your vacancies on the social networks of military support organisations, this can ensure your business is noticed by the right people – the veterans.

As a business and employer, this is a responsibility to secure the best talent you can for your organisation. This usually means striking the right mix and balance of differently skilled employees and should include service leavers.

However, you must be prepared to adequately support ex-military personnel, just as you would for any other class of employees. Whether you are just launching your veteran recruitment program or are already an employer of service leavers, it is certainly worthwhile taking the time to design your HR function with them in mind.

 

Smart Recruit Online offers an award-winning talent attraction software that will streamline and revolutionise your recruitment strategy.

We offer a customisable software platform integrated with multiple selection and screening tools, enabling you to make well-informed recruitment decisions. 

To find out what we can to for your recruitment strategy, book a demo by clicking here.

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Lucy Wyndham


Lucy Wyndham is a freelance writer and editor.


How To Build A Culture Of Access At Work & Harness The Power Of Disabled Staff 
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

According to the Office of National Statistics, almost half of all disabled people in the UK are unemployed (46 per cent). Considering that there is thought to be nearly 8 million people in the country with some type of disability, that is a massive number of undervalued and underutilised people.

It, therefore, seems logical to ask ‘Why are so many disabled people unemployed?’ The answer is, unfortunately, because there is still a certain amount of stigma around disabled people. Many businesses and hiring managers are likely to think of a disabled employee as an inconvenience at best, and an unnecessary expense at worst.

But thankfully, such stigmas and mentalities are starting to fade away. Especially because of the — as studies have shown — tangible economic benefits that are enjoyed by companies that have already invested in disabled talent.

 

workplace wellbeing

 

A success story

While there is some truth that a disabled candidate may need some adjustments to help them in a typical workplace, most of these adjustments are inexpensive and very minor. And this could make all the difference between hiring a disabled person with the relevant skills and the right attitude, or just another able-bodied candidate.

In the engineering sector, the company Morgan Sindall Construction & Infrastructure came to that realisation back in 2016. So they reformed their hiring policies in the hopes of building what we would now commonly call a “culture of access”. According to Dawn Moore, the company’s HR director, the reforms have benefited progress immensely. Wins include an increase in recommendations from 50 – 95 per cent; greater feelings of respect and inclusivity from line managers, and a near total agreement amongst employees that the company has their wellbeing as number one priority.

The company is now seeking ‘Leader’ status. That is, an official recognition by the UK government that a company is committing itself to building a culture of access within its walls.

 

workplace culture

 

‘Disability Confident’ and the campaign for greater inclusivity

The ‘Leader’ status is part of a hierarchy of status-levels recognised by the UK government’s Disability Confident scheme. When it was first implemented, Disability Confident openly sought to encourage employers to recruit workers with disabilities.

Initially, a lot of questions were asked about how the scheme could ever hope to be reasonably successful. After all, many businesses feared major adjustments would be necessary to their workplaces. There were also misgivings about the different approaches that would need to be adopted more generally to promote inclusivity.

These are legitimate obstacles for businesses that won’t go away overnight, but that hasn’t deterred the more-than 16,000 British companies that have already signed up to the ‘Committed’ level. At this level, companies have declared a promise that they will take active measures to recruit and hold on to disabled workers.

Committed is the lowest form of recognition by Disability Confident. After that is ‘Employer’ status followed by Leader status — the final level. In order to become a Leader, a business must prove that it has demonstrated a positive influence on having recruited disabled people into its workforce.

 

The benefits of the ‘culture of access’ at work

The benefits of a culture of access don’t stop with helping disabled people into the world of work. They reach every employee in the business. Once the mentality of inclusivity is introduced into a workplace, people tend to become more aware of the needs of others, full stop. It encourages greater levels of support for all employees and a greater sensitivity to others who may be undergoing changing family or health situations.

Lastly, as more people are waking up to the fact that disabled people, much like the general population, come with incredible individual talents and strengths of their own, the untapped disabled workforce may be a lifeline to many key industries at home.

The British engineering sector, for example, has been in a free-fall recruitment crisis since before 2016. With the curtain suddenly lifted on a standing army of nearly 4 million people, it becomes obvious that such skills shortages and recruitment problems only have to be an issue if we, as a society, let them be.

At the moment none of the Leader-status businesses under Disability Confident are in the construction and industry sector — in fact, very few of them have anything to do with technology. This attitude will have to change soon for these businesses to avoid a deep crisis. But the key to success remains remarkably simple: it is all about creating a workspace where everyone — including disabled people — can work, thrive, and most importantly stay, with a business.

 

This article was written by Neil Wright of Webster Wheelchairs, one of the NHS’s leading suppliers of wheelchairs, rollators, and other elderly and disability-friendly equipment. 

 

Smart Recruit Online offers an award-winning talent attraction software that will streamline and revolutionise your recruitment strategy.

To find out what we can to for your recruitment strategy, book a demo by clicking here.

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Neil.Wright@smartrecrooot.com'
Neil Wright


This article was written by Neil Wright of Webster Wheelchairs, one of the NHS’s leading suppliers of wheelchairs, rollators, and other elderly and disability-friendly eq


De-biasing language in job adverts
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

The wording in job adverts can discourage certain segments of the population, but here’s how to de-bias them

 

Are you looking to recruit a ‘dynamic leader’ or a ‘committed people person’? Chances are you’re just looking for the best person for the job. But the choice of language used in the job description could be alienating and dissuading the best – and most diverse – candidates from even applying.

Recent research from Adzuna revealed that 60% of businesses showed significant male bias in the wording of their job adverts. This research was based on a study by academics Gaucher, Friesen and Kay, which found that job descriptions with more masculine wording were less likely to appeal to female applicants. It wasn’t for the most part that female candidates assumed they weren’t up to the job, the research found. Rather they – consciously or unconsciously – were less likely to feel they’d belong at such an employer and didn’t want to work for a company whose first impression was one of being biased in favour of men.

And so the debate on the issue is hotting up. The UK government recently announced a trial of gender-neutral language to define science, technology, engineering and maths apprenticeships to encourage more women to apply. A pilot will apply gender-neutral language to 12 apprenticeship standards.

But while most HR leaders are aware that biased language exists in job descriptions, many don’t know how to fix this. Part of the problem is an inability to identify biased language because of its subtlety. Words that seem innocuous are often rooted in societal conditioning.

 

How to use gender neutral language

A 2017 analysis of 77,000 UK job adverts by Totaljobs revealed ‘lead’ to be the most common male-gendered word used in job specs, while ‘support’ was the most used female-gendered word. According to Gaucher, Friesen and Kay, popular recruiting adjectives such as ‘ambitious, assertive, decisive, determined and self-reliant’ are male-gendered. While words like ‘committed, connect, interpersonal, responsible and yield’ are considered female-gendered. For instance, in a male-gendered job description, a company might be described as ‘a dominant engineering firm that boasts many clients’. Whereas the female-gendered version could read ‘we are a community of engineers who have effective relationships with many satisfied clients’.

So how can HR de-bias a job description to make the language gender neutral? According to Andrea Singh, HR director of BAM, the first step is to focus on gender-coded words. Job titles should be neutral and descriptive language should give equal weighting to male- and female-coded descriptors, she explains. However, Singh also points out that de-biasing a job description goes beyond replacing adjectives. Employers need to make sure that the requirements listed are actually necessary, because “women will typically only put themselves forward for a job when they meet 100% of the criteria”.

But with unconscious bias ever present there are questions around whether it’s possible for humans to conduct this de-biasing. Singh believes that with the right training it is. But she admits the best results come when software and learning are combined. “Technology brings information and suggestions to the fingertips but job specs need to feel authentic. The people writing and editing specs need to be trained to spot the bias too,” she says.

However, Richard Marr, co-founder and chief technology officer of Applied, doubts whether training a person to remove biased language can be as effective as relying on dedicated software. “The evidence is pretty weak that training is effective,” states Marr. “Processes trump training and tools trump processes. With training, you’re just expecting people to do the right thing.”

That said, the trouble with using software is that neither Applied nor its competitors AdPro and Textio currently extend their job description analysis beyond gender to include other demographics such as ethnicity, LGBTQ+, disabled or economically-disadvantaged candidates. Applied is working with Google to expand its analysis tool to incorporate ethnicity (and other dimensions). But until such tech is available removing gendered language from job descriptions can still have a positive impact on other diverse groups, Singh believes.

“I think language can be looked at in the same way. Masculine phrasing might also be off-putting for candidates from particular ethnic backgrounds where their culture doesn’t typically fit with this type of approach,” she says.

It’s a view shared by Marr. He explains that a job analysis tool will also assess the readability and density of a job description, scoring it for how many syllables, words and sentences it contains. His thinking is that the more readable the job spec, the more inclusive it is likely to be.

“There are heavy socio-economic correlations,” notes Marr. “If you look at people who have low incomes they will have less access to desktop computers and are more likely to rely on their phones and to live in a distracting environment. Each of those things adds a cumulative layer that results in something quite substantial.”

So there are certainly steps that can be taken. But, in an age in which many urge the need to move away from binary definitions of men and women, is so-called male and female language really meaningful anymore? Or is it just another theory to get bogged down by?

 

Looking at the impact of using more gender-neutral language

 

Adrian Love, recruitment director for the UK and Ireland at Accenture, certainly feels male and female language is still a ‘thing’. He points to Accenture figures showing an increase in female job applicants from 34% to 50% since 2014, thanks in part to the de-biasing of job specs.

“The impact has been very positive. But there are no silver bullets here. It has to be part of a wider inclusion and diversity programme,” he says.

It’s a similar story from Applied, with Marr reporting that the tool has helped trigger an estimated 10% to 15% swing towards female candidates. Singh also reports a significant increase in female applicants since implementing de-biasing.

“This shows that [using] gender-neutral language is affecting the talent we can attract,” she says, adding that de-biasing could now be taken further. “We now need to delve into the data in more detail… and analyse the next stages in the process to see if we have more women being shortlisted, interviewed and ultimately selected.”

After all, a gender-neutral job description can only go so far if, when a candidate is successful or unsuccessful in their application, the language in the feedback or job offer sees a return to bias.

Both Singh and Love concede that their job description writing tools are unable to analyse interview feedback. But this is where training comes into play, they say.

“Software raises awareness and can point out bias that people may miss,” says Singh, but it’s also important teams are trained to spot it elsewhere in recruitment materials.

Love agrees: “[It’s] not just about one action, it’s about looking at every element throughout the recruitment process. There are opportunities to drive inclusivity end to end, but job descriptions are important because they’re a gateway for candidates.”

 

 

 

Analysing bias in the Bank of England governor job advert

 

Later this year Bank of England governor Mark Carney will stand down. He’s the 120th white man out of 120 individuals to have ever filled the role, and so the institution has been heavily criticised for embodying a ‘stale, male and pale’ image of finance. By its own admission, it will fail to meet any of its diversity targets this year. So with calls to appoint a female to the position for the first time is the language in the role’s job description gender-biased?

Not according to Applied’s job description analysis tool. Following the appointment of diversity specialists to head up the search for Carney’s replacement, HR magazine analysed the job description to see if the bank’s commitment to diversity extends to its recruitment materials. It scored a respectable 84% for inclusivity and contained an equal amount of male-gendered and female-gendered words.

Marr says that language falls into two categories: agentic and communal. Agentic language is considered male coded. In this advert, agentic traits found were words like ‘confidence, decision, lead and determination’. The communal traits were female-coded words such as ‘responsibility, commit, communicate, and understanding’.

Marr argues that performance evaluation and leadership development should also be defined in a way that balances both sets of traits. “Companies often define success for leaders along agentic lines and measure performance and promotion that way, even though communal traits are just as valuable in leaders,” he says.

Written by Sarah Ronan for HR Magazine.

 

Smart Recruit Online offers an award-winning talent attraction software that will streamline and revolutionise your recruitment strategy. Our service also includes a dedicated copywriting service to advise on content and structure, and help you get the most out of your job adverts

To book a demo with us and learn more about how our technology can transform your recruiting process, click here.

 

Sarah.Ronan@smartrecrooot.com'
Sarah Ronan


Written by Sarah Ronan for HR Magazine.


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