News Press Release

How to recruit more inclusively: quick wins for your business

April 24, 2023

From using gender-neutral language in job ads, to being transparent on policies and benefits, we share a set of no-cost inclusive hiring practices to help you recruit and retain a more diverse workforce.

At our recent BA Investors in Cycling webinar on ‘Quick Wins to improve diversity, equity and inclusion in your business’, co-host Gemma Lloyd, founder of global DEI advocate, shared a set of no-cost actions that can be implemented by businesses of all sizes, to encourage more diverse applicants to apply for vacancies, and ensure the recruitment process is inclusive for everyone. 

Setting the scene: making strategic commitments to diversity

Firstly, Gemma set the scene by reminding us that DEI is a marathon, not a sprint: “Quick wins will make improvements, but real change requires longer-term planning and cultural change efforts. Employers need to focus on continuous improvement and making progress over perfection.” Gemma pointed out that equality benefits everyone – for example, by offering all employees flexible working arrangements, men and women can share caring responsibilities at home.

She also introduced WORK180’s ten standards for driving diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace, which the Bicycle Association has adapted into a 10-step diversity, equity and inclusion action plan, including a downloadable template, to help our members set goals and track progress in their organisations over time.

Gemma also shared with us the results of a WORK180 global survey, What Women Want 2023, inviting attendees to consider if their workplace was welcoming and inclusive to women and marginalised communities:

Quick win #1: structuring your job advertisement to be inclusive

When deciding what information to include, and in what order, Gemma recommends thinking carefully about these ‘What Women Want’ survey insights and including specific details that will encourage women and people from marginalised communities to apply. Here is a summary of her insights:

  • Job title
    • Choose a clear, accurate title 
    • Steer clear of titles that sound too fancy
    • Do include a salary range
  • Who we are > Social impact
    • Consider re-wording to ‘Social impact / Your mission’
    • We are fortunate in the cycling industry to be able to draw on the health, wellness, environmental and social benefits of cycling. Foregrounding these, and showing how the role will make a positive impact, will appeal in particular to those who may not already be cycling enthusiasts
  • The role > How you’ll make an impact
    • Consider re-wording to ‘What you’ll contribute to / How you’ll make an impact’
    • As above, focus mainly on how the role will make a positive impact
  • Required skills > About you
    • Consider re-wording to ‘On the first day we would expect you to / About you’, to give a more personal touch
  • Culture/Benefits > What we offer you
    • Consider re-wording to ‘What we offer you’, to show a more personal touch
  • Apply Now > Continue the conversation
    • Consider re-wording to ‘Continue the conversation’ – today, the interview process is becoming more of a two-way dialogue, with candidates also seeking an opportunity to interview the organisation to decide whether it offers a good fit, so this can resonate more powerfully 

In summary, thinking about how you would like people to feel when they read your job ad is a powerful way to help guide the tone and information you include – in the words of Maya Angelou:

Quick win #2: using gender-neutral or feminine coded language in your job ad 

Research shows that different words conjure up different, and sometimes gendered, pictures and stereotypes in our minds. These words can be off-putting to certain groups of people, so being aware of, and swapping out, these words can be an effective way to encourage more diverse applicants. Importantly, research shows that masculine job ads deter women from applying, but not men – and feminine-coded job ads do not deter men or women. In other words, it is better to use neutral or feminine-coded language in your job ads.

There are many online tools available to help you – a search for ‘gender decoding job ad tool’ reveals many options. 

Quick win #3: share your benefits publicly on your website

Alongside encouraging prospective applicants to ‘continue the conversation’, sharing specific details of the benefits and policies your company offers – for example, details about job flexibility at your company, parental leave policies, mentoring and coaching opportunities, personal and professional growth opportunities – can really help to build trust. 

Of course, it is also important to share your commitment to diversity and inclusion practices – for example, by sharing that you have signed the BA’s diversity pledge, by detailing your specific commitments to diversity and inclusion, and by including a personalised inclusive hiring statement:

Quick win #4: share employee stories to bring your policies and benefits to life

Creating stories of employees, whether in video or written blog format, and sharing these on your website and social channels, can really bring your inclusive policies and benefits to life, and show how they are making a difference for your people. Gemma shared with us some powerful examples of these employee stories from the WORK180 blog.

Summary: no-cost inclusive hiring practices

Gemma left us with a handy checklist of quick wins to make our hiring practices more inclusive, which cost nothing and can be implemented from today:

  • Call to action in job advertisements
  • Gender-neutral language in job advertisements
  • Formalised policy and process that must be followed across the organisation to support diverse and inclusive hiring practices
  • Diverse interview panels
  • Commitment to diverse candidate shortlisting
  • Standardised interview formats, criteria and scoring 
  • Being transparent with policies and benefits

How many of these practices are already enabled in your business?  Which do, or will, you find most challenging? 

Next up: How to be an inclusive leader: quick wins to lead diversity and inclusion from the top

If you would like support in attracting and retaining gender-balance within your organisation, WORK180’s Progress Hub is an all-in-one DEI tool that you can read more about here.