Part and parcel of owning a HR Consultancy is recruitment. But how do you do it ethically in a small business, while maintaining your focus on your actual core business strategy....
Ethical recruitment is a hot topic. If you apply for any government tenders these days you are automatically asked about your anti-bribery and whistleblowing measures, your indigenous recruitment policy, your reconciliation action plan.... Large organisations have whole teams devoted to their D&I and Ethics, ensuring that they are at the leading edge of Diversity and Inclusion best practice. Small businesses..... well we just have to do our best.
Don't despair though, small business is in the BEST position to recruit ethically and inclusively, because we aren't bogged down by high volume recruitment, generic systems and large staff numbers. We still have that personal touch, superior candidate relationship bond/communication, and most importantly - no bureaucracy!
So what advice does Peoplee have about ethical recruitment?
Be aware of your unconscious bias
We all have unconscious bias. That is, judgements that our brain makes without us even thinking about it. The judgements are so quick to pop into our brain and influence our decision-making, that when we first learn about them we are shocked! But knowledge is power after all, and you can learn about your unconscious bias, and take steps to challenge it. If you haven't, we recommend the Diversity Australia Unconscious Bias test - give it a try and let us know in the comments if you were surprised by your results!
2. Set your fee structure to complement your strategy
So we've all got to get paid. If I was a millionaire who could help people find their perfect careers for free, I probably would! But alas, I have a mortgage and bills to pay, as well as kids that eat a lot. When setting up Peoplee, I made very conscious choices about how to charge for different services. Recruitment was the one that caused me the most pause for thought. While it is true that some roles require more recruitment effort than others (due to either a small talent pool, or unique role requirements), we believe that EVERY. SINGLE. JOB. IS. AS. IMPORTANT. AS. THE. NEXT. That's what we stand for. A stellar receptionist is AS important to your business as a Finance Manager. Different roles, different responsibility. Same importance. So when contemplating how to price our recruitment services, it came to us! Fixed fee! The same fee for a call centre agent as a marketing executive. The same fee shows that we give the same effort to each role. There are no people that are 'worth more' and there are no roles that are 'worth more'. All is equal in Peoplee land.
3. Use Blind Recruitment Tools
In 2021 we are spoilt for choice with the the range of software tools available to assist us in recruiting for diversity. From software like FairHire Applicant Tracking, which helps anonymise and strip applications of any information that may trigger our unconscious bias, to TogglHire which blindly screens applicants for the right abilities instead of using a resume as the first step, there are affordable tools out there every step of the way.
4. Cast a wide net
To be able to honestly say that you have hired a candidate based upon the best available skills and cultural match for your organisation, you need to first make sure that you have a wide cross-section of the society in which you live and operate applying for the role. If you simply advertise a role on Seek.com.au you are not 'seeking' out a full complement of skills and abilities. Not everyone uses Seek. Not everyone wants to use seek. We advertise our roles on varied platforms including some indigenous employment job boards, disability employment services job boards, women's job boards as well as the usuals like seek, LinkedIn and Indeed. How many you advertise on is a matter of budget, but the results are well worth it.
5. Know what your boundaries are
When recruiting for businesses, you need to have really firm boundaries as to what you are ok with, and what you are willing to do for your clients. It's not a matter of right and wrong, it's a matter of what aligns with your beliefs and saying no to anything that is not gelling with that. We have had recruiting businesses ask us to recruit in ways that we didn't feel aligned with our values of equality and diversity , and that is business we have politely and respectfully passed on to other recruiters. We are always honest about it, if we don't feel that we are the best placed company to provide your recruitment services, we will say so. And in being firm about our values, and having set boundaries as to how we will operate, we can do the best job possible for businesses who are looking for unique approaches like ours. And that is why we are in business :)
At the very least, hopefully this blog post has given you pause to think about diversity, equality and ethics in recruitment practices. Perhaps you tried the unconscious bias test and had a shock, or are now interested in how recruiting managers view your resume, and what filter their own view applies to your experience? It's all part of the conversation that we need to have to move forward to a workplace culture full of the richness diversity brings.