Our recruitment consultant, Flora MacGreevy, talks about the training workshops Bain and Gray have taken on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion with the brilliant Chikere Igbokwe. She also talks about our DEI Committee and what efforts we are taking as a company to continue learning, evolving and exploring areas of our business where we could improve.
Since the death of George Floyd during Lockdown of 2020 and the Black Lives Matter Movement took off, Bain and Gray began a journey of learning. Working in recruitment gives us an opportunity and power to break the systemic issues of inequality within our field. However, in order to this, we required knowledge and awareness of where we might be going wrong and how we can improve as allies.
We found the brilliant Chikere Igbokwe, whose very job is to speak to companies about Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and to equip them with the knowledge to be change makers. Chi also comes from a recruitment background so fully understands the tricky situations we might come against with clients and candidates. Chi is the founder of Allyship.co.uk - a community for Allies to learn and connect, plus a DEI Consultancy called Inclucive.
They key aim for these workshops was to encourage the Bain and Gray team to get out of our comfort zones and to remove the fear from discussing sensitive or awkward issues. It was also very important that as colleagues we had a mutual trust and understanding that this was a judgment-free zone and that everyone was encouraged to speak out about any challenges they had encountered. Chi assured us that mistakes would be made in the process but it was essential that we were airing these topics as that is how you learn. By avoiding these subjects, we would be stuck in the fear zone which would not be progressing us towards creating positive change.
A huge variety of conversations came up; everything from old school clients making racial or sexist slurs, what is implied when a company talks about their ‘cultural fit’ and generally how difficult it can be to respond to someone senior who says something you do not agree with. It was helpful to go back to basics and remind ourselves of what our company’s core values are, which are clearly stated on our website: accountability, integrity, pride, inclusion, tenacity and trust. These are good guidelines for us to follow and if a situation occurs which does not match up with these principles, we must have the confidence to speak out – even to the scariest of clients!
As we have had a few new members join the team recently, we felt it was important that Chi’s workshops were part of our training and onboarding process. For older members of the team, they served as a great refresher course and we all took something different away. In our efforts to continue learning and evolving, we have the DEI Committee who meet every other month. Here, we are constantly exploring areas of our business where we could improve; how to diversify our shortlists, discovering new job boards which reach out to a wider pool of talent, and being sensitive to exclusive language appearing on job adverts.
While it is easy in 2022 for DEI to be seen merely as a box ticking exercise for some companies, we really feel passionately as an agency to do all we can to stay abreast of DEI within recruitment. We realise the importance of humility and accepting where we have gone wrong and being open to ways in which we can develop and progress. The changes we are making are small in the grand scheme of things and while we still have a long way to go, the most important thing is to never give up, we owe that to our amazing candidates.
To read more about how DEI is at the front and centre of our company strategy, please click here