As entries begin rolling in for the 2014 RAD Awards, Loraine Martins MBE, head of diversity and inclusion at Network Rail, explains why she is relishing the prospect of being a judge and why the awards’ new diversity and inclusion category is so important.
Why is diversity and inclusion so important in recruitment communications?
Our capacity to reach as broad a talent pool as possible has never been greater. We have a range of media including social networking and people are working in different ways and expecting different things from employers. So – in terms of our communication – when we apply diversity and inclusion principles, we are reaching out to all different people and that gives us the greatest chance of a successful campaign. Diversity is about the mix and inclusion and about getting that mix right – communicating this is crucial to high-performing businesses.
What will you be looking for in a winning RAD award entry?
In this first year with a diversity and inclusion category, I’m excited to see which entries have been creative and innovative and made us think, while getting across a positive and engaging message integrating diversity and inclusion – rather than the obvious stock images of diversity.
What would you say to the recruiter who does not think diversity is that important?
Not thinking about diversity in recruitment limits the reach and reduces the pool of people that could be attracted to the opportunities available. If recruiters do not think that diversity is important, then they are not opening up their business and organisation to talent, which means a reduction in access to creativity and innovation. There is evidence that suggests that teams where diversity is promoted and embraced, while taking more time to settle, outperform homogenous teams. So recruiters will be short-changing themselves and their businesses if they do not consider diversity and inclusion – and why would you want to do that?
In your role at Network Rail, and in your previous roles, what do you see as the most important aspect of diverse and inclusive recruitment practice?
Recruitment is our shop window – it is one of the ways we can demonstrate how and why our company is a great place to work. We describe the possibilities and benefits gained by working for us. We get to say why people should join us and how we stack up against the competition. We exhibit our values and what we expect of our people, and this contributes to our capacity to attract the talent, skills, experience and expertise that we need. We want to be a high-performing, world-class business with talented individuals, and diversity and inclusion is a core aspect of this aspiration – it must be reflected in our recruitment practice.
Is it getting easier or harder to recruit in a diverse way?
I think the range of possibilities is increasing because of the way we use technology and the proliferation of media that we have at our disposal. And yet conversely, that breadth in capacity creates a challenge in itself – how wide is our reach? Are we connecting with our audiences effectively? Are we flexible and open enough in our approaches to keep ahead of the game and explore a range of means of positioning our business? The challenge to recruit in diverse ways is ever-changing.
Loraine Martins MBE is head of diversity and inclusion at Network Rail and has previously held similar roles at the Olympic Delivery Authority and the Audit Commission
The 2014 RAD Awards are currently open for entries – click here for details.