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Why great minds think differently – the importance of having a diverse workforce

Source | Linked In | Damian Hinds MP | Minister of State for Employment, Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), London, United Kingdom

How does your business go about finding the right person for a role?

Hopefully, you cast your net far and wide to find the perfect candidate. But there are many businesses out there overlooking some remarkable talent.

I speak with a range of employers on my travels across the country and what’s clear is that the strongest teams aren’t all the same – instead they include people from a range of backgrounds.

This is even truer for small and medium-sized companies. A diverse workforce gives you the edge, and helps bring in new skills and perspectives to ensure you’re tapping into all consumers and generating fresh ideas.

Yet groups like care leavers, and people with a criminal convictions are still being overlooked for roles. We have seen incidences where even single parents are missing out on opportunities because employers aren’t willing to give them a chance. There can be a multitude of reasons why, but none should stop someone who is talented and able from finding work.

Our research shows that 97% of homeless people, for example, want to work, but their employment rate is amongst the lowest of any group. Once hired, findings also show they become amongst the most loyal and hard-working employees.

So what can be done? There are a number of simple things you can do, such as:

Don’t sift out candidates just because they have gaps in their work histories. Base your recruitment on who has the right skills, as there are a variety of reasons someone may have taken a break from employment Train interviewers and line managers to identify and understand the needs of certain groups to ensure the right support networks are in place Offer secure contracts wherever possible – many people need security so they can plan for their future and make childcare and housing arrangements Military veterans are another group that are often overlooked. They typically have excellent leadership skills, discipline and fantastic problem-solving abilities, making them invaluable additions to your workplace.

Veterans can find the initial recruitment stages of finding a job difficult as they’ve been trained to emphasise the success of the group rather than talk about their own achievements.

Many businesses, such as Marks & Spencer, Capita and Keepmoat, are already working to improve their inclusivity. By acting now, you too could reap the benefits ahead of your competitors in snapping up this talent.

If you have any examples of how your business has already become more inclusive, share them in the comments below. I’d love to hear about them.

For more practical tips on how to identify the talent you might be missing out on, take a look at our new See Potential employer guide here

For more information, visit the See Potential campaign

Originally published in Linked In

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