Seven strategies to ensure your tech recruitment process is inclusive for all
Inclusivity, and diversifying your workforce, are the best ways to organically expand your talent pool and increase the longevity of your employees. Here are some of the key dos and don'ts of inclusive recruitment:What is inclusion and diversity? “Without inclusion, diversity is doomed to fail.” Devi Virdi, Group Head of Diversity and Inclusion at Centrica. Inclusion is the act, and diversity is the result. Inclusion and diversity (I&D) is now recognised as an essential part of business. It’s not just a tick-box exercise or a ‘nice to have’. Once your company adopts an inclusive culture, the more diverse your company will become. Diversifying your workforce has many positive outcomes, such as better employee wellbeing, productivity, and longevity. Creating an environment where people can bring their full selves to work can significantly increase employee attraction and retention because people will recognise your company or team as a place where they can love Mondays. There is also a strong business case for it, which is often overlooked. In the UK, for example, according to inclusion and diversity champion INvolve and the Centre for Economics and Business Research, discriminatory pay practices cost the economy £127 billion in lost output every year. That means, there is a high return on investment in inclusion training and preventing discrimination and closing pay gaps.Seven steps to an inclusive recruitment process Rethink your fundamental requirements There are certain roles for which neurodivergent people would be perfect, like data analytics roles, but the barriers to entry include requiring “excellent interpersonal skills” or being a “team player.” In this case, professionals with conditions like autism are far less likely to apply for those roles because they do not believe this applies to them, despite being more likely to have the focus and skills needed than a neurotypical person. Employers must rethink what the fundamental requirements for the job are and consider whether your advert reflects this. Develop grassroots talent Does the perfect candidate really need a degree or five years’ experience, or could you find someone with the right mindset and potential and train them with the skills you need? Or, if someone has the right skills and experience, but their soft skills are lacking, they may benefit from a mentor to build their confidence. Watch your language For employers to receive more applications and make the process accessible to everyone, you must be conscious of the language you use in your job adverts. Using inclusive language is an easy way to indicate that everyone is welcome to apply and be considered, if they believe they are the right fit for a role. Gender neutrality is a simple way to ensure you don’t limit your talent pool and unintentionally alienate suitable candidates. One way to avoid this is to use online tools to eliminate gender-coded language from your person specifications, job descriptions and adverts which often go unnoticed. Remove barriers to entry The placement of your job adverts is an often-overlooked consideration. Those who place their ads in tech magazines that require paid subscriptions might be excluding groups from lower economic backgrounds, for example. Employers must also ensure that their application forms are inclusive of all genders, sexualities, ethnicities etc. by including an “Other” or “I’d rather not say” option, to give them space to tell you who they are if they wish to. It must be optional, or you could end up forcing someone to come ‘out’ prematurely. Create a diverse interview panel The first impression of your team takes place at interview and a lack of diversity could impact a professional’s decision to accept your job offer. It would benefit employers to think about how diverse their hiring panel is and do their best to represent the variety of people in their company. Conversely, you must not over-correct and cherry-pick the same few people to be the ‘face of diversity’ or to hire certain people just to fill a quota in your company – no one wants to be tokenised or seen as a ‘diversity hire’. Ask the right questions Some employers don’t know what they legally can and can’t say, or ask, in a job interview. Training should be provided to each hiring manager to ensure they understand the dos and don’ts of interviewing. Generally, an interview question is illegal and discriminatory if you couldn’t ask everyone the same question. One example that comes to mind is asking a woman if she is pregnant or thinking of having a baby one day. You couldn’t possibly ask the same question to a cisgender male candidate, which makes it discriminatory to ask of women. Asking everyone the same core set of questions will give your interview a good basis for objectivity. Negate any bias Everyone has their biases, but these should not influence your hiring decisions. Business leaders should ensure their hiring managers receive sufficient training in unconscious bias so they can identify their own biases and make more informed hiring decisions. Working with a recruiter such as Reed, where CVs are anonymised before being sent over to you can also help here. It means you can make a decision on potential employees without being swayed by certain information available on their CV.
Sustainable IT: how tech can harness ESG principles to build a greener future
While technology plays a positive role in helping businesses cut emissions and reduce their energy consumption, it also has unintended negative impacts. For example, a positive outcome of the growing use of cloud technology is that data centre energy consumption is reduced, but then the negative consequence is the vast infrastructures of the public cloud service providers that also need to be powered, as well as the private and hybrid clouds operated by businesses. A recent report by global tech company Capgemini revealed IT accounts for around 3% of global CO2 emissions. However, the report is optimistic the tech sector has the potential to cut 9.7 times as much carbon emissions as it emits by 2030, but this will only be achieved by businesses prioritising sustainable technology. And in today’s digital age, with more and more organisations investing in digital transformation, it’s vital companies consider the negative impact IT is having and look at ways to use tech more sustainably. What is sustainable IT? Sustainable tech, or green tech, refers to the efforts made to positively contribute to the environment through the design and production, use, and disposal of technology. It also encompasses the activities used to develop hardware, such as responsible mining of finite rare minerals, and water conservation. The purpose of sustainable tech is to protect the environment and conserve the earth’s natural resources for future generations. There are myriad benefits to investing in sustainable tech. Firstly, and most importantly, it will reduce your emissions and limit your impact on the environment, but the Capgemini Research Institute’s survey of 1,000 organisations worldwide found those who implemented sustainable IT practices also saw greater ESG scores, improved brand image, better customer satisfaction, and financial savings. Harnessing ESG principles to make tech greener As the world is relying more heavily on technology, green tech should be included in your company’s ESG strategy and be a top priority. Here is how ESG principles relate to sustainable tech: Environmental Businesses have been heavily focussed on improving their environmental impact over the past few years. And while the use of the technology can help reduce environmental impact (such as remote and hybrid working cutting down on car emissions and reducing energy consumption in offices) there are other considerations businesses need to be aware of when it comes to the negative environmental impact of technology. The definition of sustainability according to the United Nations is: “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” But the minerals that are mined to create tech devices are finite and are already leading to deforestation and water pollution. If humans continue to deplete the earth’s natural resources at this rate, then it is not sustainable for future generations. In addition, global e-waste is forecasted to grow to over 74 million metric tons by 2030. Tech devices use substances like mercury, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), and brominated flame retardants (BFRs), all of which can create a toxic environment when disposed of at landfills. All of these need to be considered when purchasing tech equipment if you want to meet the environmental aspect of your ESG strategy. Social The social aspect of ESG refers to how companies foster people and culture, approach diversity and inclusion, and their impact on the community. When it comes to technology, the community aspect is a great place to start. Donating old or unused technology is one way to make your IT more sustainable. Whether you are donating this to schools, other businesses, or community centres, recycling devices can limit landfill waste and help those in your area. Corporate governance Before implementing a sustainable tech initiative, it’s vital you have an effective governance process that can support the strategy. All stakeholders need to be on board with the strategy, and effective governance should be applied to ensure objectives are met, and the business is running in such a way that will support the initiatives. This includes business leaders making ethical decisions about the company’s sustainability practices, being held accountable, and the way in which they communicate and engage with the wider business about their sustainability goals. Ways to make your tech more sustainable Prior to launching or renewing a sustainable IT initiative, you first need to evaluate what you have in place in terms of IT infrastructure and determine where improvements can be made. However, if you are unsure where to start, here are some ways you could make your tech more sustainable: Work alongside procurement teams to reduce embedded carbon in devices and purchase equipment made from recycled materials Minimise your e-waste by improving disposal of tech equipment Consider hybrid working where possible to reduce energy consumption of large office buildings and make sure employees have the software and tools to effectively collaborate virtually Consider migrating applications and data to a greener public cloud Extend products’ shelf life by fixing and repairing instead of just buying new Invest in ESG management software that collects data and enables you to track, manage, and report on areas such as energy consumption, water usage, waste generation, greenhouse gas emissions, workplace safely and compliance metrics Improve efficiency of devices to reduce energy consumption and prolong devices’ battery life by reducing exposure to high temperatures, keeping it at 100% charge for long periods, and avoiding fast charging unless urgently needed Run cloud cost optimisations to reduce waste clutters in cloud usage Ultimately, technology has the capacity to improve the environment and reduce carbon emissions, but there are still consequences. In order to be a truly sustainable organisation, you need to consider the impact your tech is having and find ways to make it more sustainable as we all work together to build a greener future. Looking to recruit the next great tech professional for your team? Get in touch with us today.
Combatting cyber threats: how to protect your business
As companies continue to utilise workplace technologies to allow their business to grow and develop, the risk of cyber security attacks increases tenfold.According to PwC, Swiss companies suffer ransomware attacks around every 11 seconds. Medium-sized Swiss companies suffer average damage of about CHF 6 million per cyberattack.Now more than ever, companies across the world try and prevent cyber attacks. Because of this, the role of information technology in the workplace becomes even more critical for businesses to not only protect their assets, but to also lead towards a sustainable future.We interviewed Karl Hoods, Chief Digital & Information Officer (CDIO) at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) - UK, to find out what companies can do to protect their business from cyber security threats.Watch the full interview with Karl, where he goes into detail on the importance of IT within business and how it has changed, alongside how companies can protect themselves from cyber attacks and the ‘must haves’ that can help ensure protection and sustainability for your business, here:The role of IT in business Information technology and the IT department now play a crucial role within any business, as the emphasis on monitoring and managing technology and communication systems grows.There are very few companies now that don’t have an IT department or a professional who looks after the digital elements of the organisation. From being able to send an email, to changing and verifying a password, accessing and maintaining databases and troubleshooting, information technology allows businesses to become more efficient and productive. While the role of the IT department still encompasses day-to-day operations, the responsibilities and strategic direction has changed exponentially, according to the CDIO at BEIS, Karl Hoods. He said: “I think the role of the IT department, or the digital department, is incredibly important. “There aren't many industries that don't have any reliance on technology at all. It's really a relationship that needs to continue to develop and evolve because there's so much value that technology can bring to everyday activities, from productivity if you're working in the office, through to manufacturing and what that can actually mean for output. “IT has definitely progressed over the years, from being a supporting function to being something which should be integral to the operation of the organisation you’re in.” Protecting your business The need to protect your business from cyber-attacks has never been greater, and global governments continue to urge businesses to strengthen their cybersecurity practices. According to PwC, in 2020, 20,544 cases of cybercrime were reported in Switzerland, and 16,395 of these were classified as cyber fraud.Conducting business through digital means can bring a host of opportunities and benefits to the fore, including the ability to email safely, store data, work remotely, and manage everyday operations. On the other hand, having a digital workstream can enhance the risk of a cyber attack. While cyber-attacks can be hard to predict, Karl believes it’s imperative that companies look into potential risks to ensure that the business can remain functional, operational and secure. He said: “There's definitely a conversation to be had about understanding what the threats are and really getting your head around that." "From a cyber perspective, we've recently seen the exponential growth in cyber activity and cyber threats. It hits every part of every organisation and it can be incredibly disruptive. You need to look at your own risk as an organisation and where your threat vectors are, where you might have some weaknesses, where you might be exposed and then look to plug those."Karl Hoods, Chief Information & Digital Officer, BEISIn most cases, today’s technology tools come equipped with the necessary protection that allows businesses to safely go about their day-to-day operations. But making sure you understand how to use the tools is paramount. Karl adds: “If you're using things like Office 365 or Google Workspace, they all come with tools which can help you. If you don't know how to use them, get some advice on what to do with that – an independent view is beneficial. “Once you've got that base level of technology protection, then you can look to see how you can evolve that over time. There's also scope to put into place a technology recovery process, as well as a wider business recovery that needs to be done as well. “Really understanding the key recovery processes, the key people and how long you can survive without having access to the technology is incredibly important.” The technology ‘must haves’ Protecting your business in a digital world will allow your business to be both sustainable and progressive – but to do so, employers need to make sure that they’re doing everything possible from an IT standpoint. There are certain processes and tools that can be put in place that will protect a business in both the short and long term. Because IT departments have gone from being purely ‘reactive’ to ‘proactive’, there are multiple ways that companies can firewall their digital assets, believes Karl. He said: “So the ‘must haves’ are an awareness of the threats. Then there are basic principles that you need to employ which all come down to people a lot of the time. That includes the need for strong passwords, two-factor authentication, all those kinds of things that you need to put in place. “If you look at the history of some of the compromises that happen, they are around compromised accounts, around credentials that are not being rotated often enough for admin accounts, etc. There's a similar pattern emerging over and over again – usually down to a flaw in the process. “Focus on understanding your threats, understand where your weaknesses are, and plug those where you can. Also having a really strong user training and awareness programme is incredibly key because people are the weak spot in many of these things.” Focusing on the employee Companies need to take the time to invest in their employees to ensure security breaches, no matter the size, can be prevented. Researchers from Stanford University suggest that approximately 88% of all data breaches are caused by an employee mistake. Human error is still very much the driving force behind an overwhelming majority of cyber security problems, which makes upskilling your employees more important. Karl believes that “no matter what technology you've got in place, there’s always a weak point which can be individuals, whether that's malicious or just a genuine mistake. “Investing in the technology, the processes and the people in terms of upskilling has got to be key for any organisation of any size to recover. “We all get phishing attacks and malware attacks at home. Just because you've come into the office doesn't mean to say that everything's taken care of by the security or technology team. “It's just about keeping abreast of that, keeping up to date, making people aware of the consequences and understanding what the outcomes could be.” According to software company Symantec, in the UK, one in every 3,722 emails is a phishing attempt, further reinforcing the need to make employees aware of any potential threats that can occur both within the office and while working from home. Karl adds: “If there is a breach, it’s about knowing who to notify when something happens, even if you're unsure whether it's a breach or not. “It's better to put your hand up and say, ‘can you look at it for me?’ rather than just say ‘I'm not quite sure’ and let it go so even more damage can be done. “There are lots of software and courses that are available. It can be very much bitesize and consumable on the move, just short little snippets of information that can really help to protect your business.” Growing awareness business wide As the IT department’s roles and responsibilities evolve, so too does their ability to influence and inform senior leaders, which is crucial when it comes to the prevention and awareness of cyber security measures. Growing awareness around cyber security isn’t just for entry-level employees, it must encompass all departments from graduates all the way up to c-suite executives and the board."There’s this concept of the ‘human firewall’ that is what we really need inside organisations."Karl Hoods, Chief Information & Digital Officer, BEIS Karl said: “Awareness should start in general terms so that people know how to protect themselves, know not to click on links that they don't expect to receive- for all employees at all levels. “It isn't just focused on the most junior person in the organisation. This needs to be right up to board level and down, everyone needs to understand the role that they play in protecting the organisation.” Are you looking for a talented IT professional to drive your business’ growth? Get in touch with our specialist recruiter now.