One in five HR leaders are not trained in diversity, equity and inclusion

One in five HR leaders are not trained in diversity, equity and inclusion

A people analytics expert has urged the government to standardise training policies in the workplace following reports that today, one in five HR leaders are receiving inadequate or no training in diversity, equity and inclusion.

2022 is almost upon us and the topic of diversity, equity and inclusivity continues to be spoken about as a high priority across the country. But, there is a worrying lack of standardisation in the implementation of company policy which is resulting, for example, in the likes of disability and sexual orientation being overlooked in diversity goals.

A recent survey, conducted by innovative behavioural assessment firm, AssessFirst, has shown shocking statistics that one in five HR leaders are not properly trained when it comes to DE&I. The report shows that there remains a huge gap in the education and training of DE&I for HR professionals in the workplace. It equally outlined several other issues that require attention.

David Bernard, founder and CEO of AssessFirst is a leading advocate for the removal of bias in the workplace. Believing that biases stem largely from outdated recruitment practices, he claims that the business case for gender, cultural, ethnic and socio-economic diversity is increasingly important to enable long-term success.

According to reports, It is proven that companies who lead on ethnic and cultural diversity are 36% more likely to be profitable than those who do not.

“Following almost two years of widened remote working due to the coronavirus pandemic, this environment has opened doors for bigger and better opportunities for both employer and employee, allowing a multitude of candidates to apply for jobs that would have otherwise been deemed unattainable, for whatever reason.

“However, as we transition out of the other side of the pandemic, more and more businesses will revert to their previous ways of working, with a drop in remote working becoming inevitable.”

With a third of survey respondents stating that the pandemic accelerated the implementation of DE&I policies, it is a natural concern that the training is either not in place to accommodate this acceleration or worse – to sustain progress beyond the new year.

“We must not be allowed to reverse the clock and fall back into old habits. I truly believe it is imperative that the government introduce training regulations to support HR and Recruitment teams as they source, evaluate and manage all candidates. Ultimately, this will create higher performing businesses that are more efficient – and free from bias.

“It is a fundamental misconception that a CV is an effective way to identify and rank talent for hiring. As humans, we are all engrained to make decisions with bias. When this manifests in hiring managers and HR personnel alike, it results in a recruitment strategy based on intuition. Yes, intuition has an important place in business. But when relied upon too heavily in recruitment, it can mean that we make decisions based upon ‘what we are familiar with’, it can cause us to rank candidates based on upbringing, education, experience, and even appearance.”

Because of this, David explains that there is a chance that the increase in people returning to the office next year could either help or hinder the positive company culture.

“Currently, more than 50% of workforces across the UK are operating completely remotely. However, this figure is expected to drop to 22% in 2022: proving that some of the impacts of the pandemic are temporary.

“Remote working helps to facilitate DE&I because if offers greater equality of opportunity to a wider demographic. But in 2022, when the ubiquity of remote working subsides, we hope to see businesses maintaining the progress they have made under difficult circumstances.”

Encouragingly, 97% of survey respondents declared that DE&I will be a major priority for years to come.

“HR is critical to a business’ ability to succeed – especially at a time when UK job vacancies are at a 20 year high. And HR is overwhelmingly saying that DE&I is a very high priority. Most HR leaders are now well-placed to drive meaningful change, but only if they are supported with the right training and legislation.”