EDI in company culture: Why is it important?

Category: Company

Encouraging inclusivity in the workplace has become a more frequent topic of discussion, as organisations recognise the profound benefits of a diverse and inclusive work environment. By cultivating an environment where all employees feel valued and respected, companies can tap into a wider range of perspectives and talents when hiring. 

One of the critical areas for inclusivity is in the recruitment process. Ensuring that hiring practices are equitable and attract a diverse pool of candidates is a primary step in building an inclusive workplace. 

As recruitment specialists, Wild Recruitment is uniquely positioned to help businesses in cultivating a culture of equity, diversity and inclusivity from the ground up. 

Why is EDI important?

Senior Operations Manager for Wild Recruitment, Debbie DeCordova, explains the importance of embracing equity, diversity and inclusion into company culture and the specific benefits it can have for both the company and the employees:

“With a teenage daughter who is ASD and ADHD it is so important to me that we offer an inclusive environment where equality and diversity are not just values, but integral part of our culture, for our colleagues and to our candidates and clients.

At home I speak to my daughter about her having a superpower; her creativity, her empathy to see the best in people and her tenacity to see situations differently to a neurotypical person.  Thankfully there are companies out there who encourage inclusivity and understand what value a neurodiverse employee can bring to their organisation. 

These companies are the recruitment partners for me and Wild Recruitment, these are who we want to work with!  Those companies who are making the world a better and fairer world for people like my daughter.

I have hired neurodiverse consultants in my team, alongside different race, age ranges, religions and beliefs -  I live what we promote. I am proud to say that Wild are committed to upholding the principles of fairness and respect for all individuals, irrespective of their sex, sexual orientation, age, gender identity, race, religion or belief, disability, marital status or civil partnership, or pregnancy or maternity status.  

We firmly believe that every person deserves to be treated with dignity and without discrimination, and we strive to embody these principles in all aspects of our operations.”

Actions speak louder than words, and implementing transparent initiatives and programs within the company are a good starting point towards EDI as a culture. At Wild, we have initiatives in place that can be utilised by the team to ensure a culture embracing EDI is supported. Initiatives, such as employee coaching focused on self-development, mental habits and confidence-building, and our consultant training programme, which educates our team on eliminating bias and the importance of EDI.

Offering benefit packages to both employees and candidates is also a big part of ensuring equity and inclusion, as well as supporting them in making reasonable adjustments during the recruitment process for those with different accessibility, religious and situational needs.

What can we do to encourage EDI for those with a disability at Wild?

As a company, we are always learning and adapting our processes to reach a wider group of candidates, while ensuring EDI practices are maintained. With this in mind, we reached out to Evenbreak CEO, Jane Hatton, for her perspective on how we can develop our recruitment practices for candidates with a disability. 

Evenbreak is a UK based job board, founded in 2011 by Jane Hatton, exclusively for disabled candidates and inclusive employers. 

‘Do your consultants feel confident around diversity and inclusion?’ asks Jane Hatton, CEO of Evenbreak and recent speaker at the 2024 Recruitment Agency Expo in London. In her talk titled ‘Attract the diversity of candidates your clients want’, Hatton discusses the ways in which recruiters and consultants can feel confident about encouraging diversity and inclusion, specifically regarding those with a disability. 

What advice would you give our recruitment consultants in supporting candidates with a disability to find work?
“Recruitment consultants are often nervous about having conversations with disabled candidates. There are three pieces of advice I would give:

  • Have a positive conversation with the candidate about their strengths. What skills, talents, qualities and experience do they bring with them, what do they have to offer an employer? 

  • Then, ask what barriers they might face in the recruitment process, and discuss what you or the client can do to remove these barriers, or find alternatives

  • Consider signposting them to the Evenbreak Career Hive for free accessible career support delivered by career professionals with lived experience of disability, to help them with any application they are making”  

What would you suggest to our recruitment consultants to encourage our clients to hire inclusively?
“Some employers perceive disabled candidates as a potentially expensive risk. It’s important for recruitment consultants to reassure employers that:

  • Disabled candidates navigate around disabling barriers every day, meaning they develop valuable skills like problem-solving, resilience, creative thinking, communication skills – which they bring with them to the workplace

  • Research demonstrates that, on average, disabled employees are every bit as productive as their non-disabled colleagues, take less time off sick, and stay in their jobs longer

  • Employing disabled people gives valuable internal intelligence when working with disabled clients, customers, suppliers and partners

  • Employees with neurodivergent conditions, such as autism, dyslexia and ADHD can challenge the status quo and introduce innovation

  • Focus on the strengths the candidate brings with them”

What advice would you offer us as an employer ourselves in being and being seen to be an inclusive employer?
“There are many things you can to do be, and be seen to be, inclusive, including:

  • Signing up to the Government’s Disability Confident Scheme

  • Becoming a RIDI Pioneer

  • Employ more disabled people internally, so disabled candidates can see your authenticity (find them by advertising on Evenbreak!)”

Ensuring inclusivity means providing equal opportunities for all candidates, regardless of their personal identity, sexual orientation, cultural needs or disability. Everyone should have a fair chance to compete for job roles based on their qualifications and skills rather than being excluded due to disability. 

Embracing Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) into company culture is a journey that requires commitment, action, and continuous learning. Through the personal insights shared by our Senior Operations manager, the initiatives we offer to support a diverse and inclusive workplace, and the valuable perspectives from Jane at Evenbreak, it's clear that fostering an inclusive environment benefits everyone. 

By prioritising EDI, we not only create a more supportive and dynamic workplace but also drive innovation and business success. 

Learn more about Wild's EDI practices here