The Multigenerational Workforce: Keeping Millennials Motivated

In this article, the third in our Multigenerational Workforce series, we’ll be focusing on millennials in the workplace, including what matters to them and how best to engage them.

By 2025, millennials will make up over half of the workforce, essentially replacing retiring Baby Boomers. They’ve already made a huge impact on the way we work, including leveraging technology to revolutionise productivity. As the older millennials enter their 40s, they’re moving into leadership roles and will have even more influence on how organizations operate into the future. So, how can employers harness the power of millennials to drive their businesses forward?

Who are Millennials?

Millennials, less commonly known as Generation Y, follow Gen X and precede Gen Z. Millennials were born between the early 1980s and the mid-1990s during the rise of personal computers and technology, making them tech-savvy. They’re the first generation to come of age in the new millennium, hence the name millennials. They are also known to be values-driven.

Workers from this generation are bound together through their shared experience of financial challenges, including the 2008 Great Recession, which caused a 19% unemployment rate and massive student loan debt among millennials. As a result, members of this generation are more likely to find themselves underemployed or self-employed.

Perceptions and Misperceptions

This generation have been characterized as lazy and narcissistic, labelled as “Generation Me.” Other common perceptions include being easily bored and hopping from job to job rather than staying with one employer. However, this could be due to the anxiety caused from the global financial crash.

Despite these stereotypes, millennials have been described as self-sufficient, solving their own issues and teaching themselves through the internet rather than relying on others for help. They are also known to be confident, curious and open-minded.

What Matters to Millennials in the Workplace?

Digital & Tech Skills

Having been the first generation to grow up in a digital world, millennials have widespread experience of the development of technology, being both the “pioneers and the guinea pigs”.

This has affected the way that they communicate, with 41% of millennials choosing to communicate electronically instead of face-to-face according to a study by PwC. However, they’re also the last generation to have grown up in a world without the internet in every household.

When considering a job, 59% of millennials claim that technology in the workplace is an important factor. Employers are responding to this by encouraging professional use of social media at work and introducing smartphones as an employee benefit.

Mission and Purpose

Millennials thrive in a workplace that is mission-driven, keeping them motivated and inspired. In our recent report, Inside the Candidate Experience, we found that mission and purpose were the second most important factor for millennials when considering a new job. Those who work for companies with this as a priority feel more accomplished. Millennials want to share their employer’s goals and values in order to feel they are contributing to the world.

Collaboration

The move to a more collaborative working environment has been driven by millennials through the use of technology as it’s become more sophisticated. A collaborative environment allows workers to speak their ideas freely and feel a sense of belonging as part of a team. One way that employers are emphasizing collaboration is through mentorship programs, which have been proven to increase the happiness of workers and their productivity.

How Do You Engage Millennials at Work?

As millennials slowly take over as the majority of the workforce, employers must learn strategies to keep them motivated and feeling valued.

1. Be Open and Transparent

Millennials want openness and transparency from their leaders, ensuring their confidence through factual information that can be validated.

Keep millennials productive by creating clear targets are regular opportunities for feedback and praise. In fact, according to the same PwC study, 51% of this demographic believe that frequent or continuous feedback is a must on the job, making up a huge part of what keeps them motivated and engaged in their work.

2. Embrace Teamwork

To manage a multigenerational workforce, leaders must recognize that each generation may need different methods of management. Among millennials, 74% expressed that they are as happy working alongside other generations as with their own. So, it’s unsurprising to find millennials now managing older workers.

However, 34% of millennials felt that their personal drive could be perceived as intimidating to other generations. Effective programs that encourage interactions between different generations are necessary to overcome these misperceptions. For example, millennials thrive in opportunities such as “reverse mentoring,” in which they are able to learn from and teach skills to older workers.

3. Invest in Employee Development

Millennials look at their work as a means to learn and develop, which may be the greatest differentiator between them and all other generations. Indeed, a whopping 87% of millennials say that growth and development opportunities are important to them in a job, compared to just 69% of non-millennials. Offering opportunities to develop technology skills and interpersonal skills will not only help you retain millennial employees, it will help you ensure this important segment of your workforce is ready to step into leadership roles.

4. Trust Them

While millennials want to be supported through feedback and praise, they also want the freedom to “be their own boss.” Flexibility is important to millennials in the workplace.They’ll happily put in the long hours if they believe their work has a purpose, but those hours may not be during the traditional 9-to-5.

Millennials believe that success should be evaluated through productivity, rather than the number of hours they are seen in an office. If they meet the deadlines you set, don’t be concerned about the hours they clock in and out. Focus on creating a flexible work culture to maximize millennial engagement, allowing employees to have more control over their working hours and location.

5. Lead with Your Values

Millennials are searching for more than “just a job” and want to achieve something worthwhile. Akin to Gen Z, millennials believe that companies and their leadership should be contributing positively to society. Strong corporate ethics will encourage loyalty among millennials.

A report from Deloitte found that 54% of millennials research a brand’s environmental impact and polices before accepting a job offer. To keep up with today’s candidates, it’s vital that organizations have updated employer value propositions (EVP) showcase the companies intentions to address social and environmental concerns.

In our multigenerational workplace, each generation will shape the world of work in their own way, and each will need different things from their working lives. Millennials bring commitment and collaboration to the workplace. In return, they want opportunities to grow and collaborate. Organizations that can effectively empower millennials to provide ethical leadership hold key to keeping them engaged.

Find out our top 10 predictions for what we think the working world will look like in 2030 and the best practices to prepare for the future in our Destination 2030 report.

Future of Work

Destination 2030: 10 Predictions for What’s NEXT in the World of Work

Breaking DE&I Barriers in Life Science: Tips to Build & Recruit a Diverse Workforce

Over 20 years ago, the U.S. Congress passed the Minority Health and Health Disparities Research and Education Act, or the Healthcare Fairness Act, to address national issues such as the increasing need for a diverse workforce. With focus on the life sciences, it stated, “There is a national need for minority scientists in the fields of biomedical, clinical, behavioral, and health services research.” Yet, underrepresented populations are still the largest “untapped STEM talent pools in the United States.” 

Black and Hispanic individuals remain underrepresented in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) workforce. Plus, women remain underrepresented in fields like physical sciences, computing and engineering. Moreover, organizations in Europe are struggling to find and retain women in STEM. According to Eurostat, female scientists and engineers remain a minority in STEM roles, and despite increases over the past decade, women still make up only 16.5% of engineers in the UK. 

For life science organizations, the lack of minorities and women in STEM fields and the sector overall will present long-term challenges in cultivating a workforce that will help them remain competitive in our increasingly diverse and interconnected world. 

However, it seems there hasn’t been much progress made in the 20+ years since the Healthcare Fairness Act. So, how can life science organizations make a difference in creating more diversity in life science careers? Keep reading to learn more about the DE&I challenges and opportunities for life science employers. 

Life Science’s Lack of a Diverse Workforce

Diversity is lacking across the entire life science industry, from research to clinical work. According to the U.S. National Science Foundation, the representation of minority ethnic groups in the science fields must more than double to match the groups’ overall share of the U.S. population. In fact, 65% of the U.S. workforce in life science are white, 19% are Asian, 8% are Hispanic and only 6% are Black. 

Being a future-focused employer requires investment in building diverse and inclusive teams. Bringing underrepresented groups into your organization provides a full range of benefits and skills to drive innovation. The issue is particularly pressing as the industry undergoes a wave of transformation due to the disruption of tech—further widening the current skills gap.  

Additionally, diversity in leadership will help you boost retention and attract talent. With 85% of life science employees who identify as a minority saying they are ‘hugely underrepresented’ in senior roles, the lack of diverse leadership representation could be detrimental to your organization. It could affect your bottom line and further hinder your ability to attain those highly competitive, in-demand skills (like data analytics and computer programming) needed within the industry.  

Diversity in Life Science

Furthermore,  Informa Connect conducted one of the largest industry employee research reports to date, which surveyed life science professionals around the world about their opinions on diversity and inclusion in the industry. When asked what the industry’s biggest problem is pertaining to having an inclusive and diverse workforce, over a third of respondents named the lack of representation of minorities in leadership roles. 

Gender Inequality in Life Science

Due to the lack of women in STEM careers, life science employers struggle to attract women to R&D roles. According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), 70% of global researchers are men. This creates problems for life science employers as both female life science professionals (65%) and male professionals (59%) believe women are under-represented overall. It doesn’t help that, although women make up almost half (48%) of life science workers, men still out-earn women by 13%.

Diversity in Life Science

Why is Diversity in Life Science so Important? 

Although there are clear disparities around representation of minorities and women in life science, only 23% of organizations are giving significant focus to DE&I and only 13% are financially investing in diverse groups.  Organizations that aren’t prioritizing DE&I will struggle to cope with the industry’s current talent shortage. The lack of diversity puts organizations at a competitive disadvantage when it comes to attracting and retaining top talent. 

In our recent research report, candidates say that a diverse workforce is an important factor when evaluating companies and job offers. This is even more important for candidates from underrepresented groups. In Biospace’s latest report, 93% of women of color responded that they believe diversity is important when considering a job. Investing in DE&I-focused talent acquisition strategies, programs and training creates a huge opportunity for life science organizations to grow a diverse and productive workforce. 

A diverse and inclusive work environment builds trust, increases engagement and improves business outcomes.  

Organizations with strong “diversity climates” have increased employee job satisfaction and employee retention as well as financial returns above national industry medians. Companies with above-average diversity scores report nearly 20% higher revenue due to innovation.  

Moreover, diversity provides many benefits for improved organizational performance and productivity such as:  

  • Broader range of skills and experience  
  • Multilingualism to support global growth 
  • Increased cultural competence and awareness 

Diverse workforces, including cognitively diverse teams, leverage a greater variety of perspectives to solve problems faster with improved accuracy. According to the International Labor Organization, when companies establish inclusive business cultures and policies, they experience a nearly 60% increase in creativity, innovation and openness. 

For example, the majority of the western world’s research uses tissue and blood from white individuals to screen drugs and therapies that are developed for a more diverse population. However, different ethnic groups experience different outcomes from various treatments, methods and diseases. A diverse workforce, especially in biomedical science and pharmaceuticals, would more likely push for inclusion in research and testing and provide different perspectives that could lead to new insights and discoveries. 

Strategies for Attracting, Recruiting and Retaining a Diverse Workforce in Life Science 

Creating a diverse and inclusive work environment can be challenging, but here are some proven steps for attracting top diverse talent and establishing equitable recruitment practices. 

1. Focus on Employer Branding  

Show diversity as part of your organization’s DNA by articulating a compelling EVP and employer brand that clearly defines and establishes your organizational commitment to DE&I. Building your internal and external employer brand messaging gives you greater influence over what you are known for, how you are perceived by candidates and the value that you offer to your employees. Make sure your recruitment marketing materials are relevant to a variety of audiences with imagery and content that highlights diversity in race, gender and more. Plus, showcasing real employees adds a layer of authenticity to your employer brand.  

2. Update Your Career Site 

After viewing a job post, a candidate’s first point of contact is usually your career site. It’s crucial that your career site shows your DE&I efforts. Sharing diversity goals publicly and transparently is an important way for candidates to experience your organizational values and mission.  

3. Keep Job Listings Simple  

Plain language is especially important if you want to reach diverse populations. Use verbiage that your candidate would use rather than your internal terminology and assess your job ads for biased language. Avoid verbiage like “expert,” “rockstar” or “like a family” that are often masculine and project a homogeneous work culture that prioritizes like-minded thinking over diversity. Additionally, remove any experience or skills that are “nice-to-have” in your job descriptions, and keep in mind that men and women value different things. For example, while men usually prioritize compensation, most women see work-life balance as their number one priority. 

4. Go Beyond Your Careers Site 

Elevate your sourcing strategy by:  

  • Optimizing your reach by posting on relevant job boards and platforms. Don’t forget that professional networking groups, like the Black Healthcare and Medical Association, are great resources to get your job ads in front of the right people.  
  • Establish relationships with STEM-based programs at universities, alumni associations and other networking groups that cater to diverse populations. 
  • Get your internal teams involved by asking for referrals. Diverse employees are often connected with diverse candidates. 

In doing so, you cast a wider net to reach a larger pool of diverse candidates, maximizing your chances of growing your workforce. 

5. Representation Matters 

During the interview stage, make sure candidates see how much you value diversity by having a diverse panel of interviewers. When a candidate sees someone who looks like themselves or another minority when being interviewed, it creates a sense of belonging and reaffirms your company’s mission to establish a diverse culture. Additionally, make sure your hiring panel has received diversity training and can successfully communicate with those that think differently and have unique backgrounds or working styles. 

6. Invest in Diversity Training 

Through diversity training, you can help change systematic diversity hurdles—such as your organization’s hiring practices and how diverse talent is sourced as well as taking action to increase diversity at the board or leadership level.  

“Companies need to acknowledge the unique needs and contributions of employees with multiple historically excluded identities.”

Yaro Fong-Olivare, Executive director of Bentley University’s Center for Women and Business (CWB)

Diversity training programs are not a one-size-fits-all solution and come in various training types, which can be customized to help achieve your organization’s goals. Diversity training helps employees feel a sense of belonging, so they are more likely to stay with an organization, which can improve your retention rates. 

7. Enable Talent Acquisition Technology and Track Your Efforts 

To build a diverse candidate pipeline, it’s critical that you engage cutting-edge technology and analytics tools to know where your diverse candidates are coming from, how they’re progressing through the recruitment process, and which of your sourcing channels or campaigns brought them to you. Although these insights are often stored in different systems and platforms, a comprehensive reporting tool can help synthesize your data and visualize trends.  

For example, PeopleScout’s Affinix™ brings together applicant tracking systems (ATS), candidate relationship management (CRM) systems, artificial intelligence, machine learning, digital marketing, predictive analytics and digital interviewing to provide award winning innovation to support your organization’s diverse hiring goals. Affinix Analytics’ diversity dashboards show how diverse candidates are entering your pipeline in real time. By tracking how candidates progress through your funnel, you can determine which resources and campaigns bring in top candidates from underrepresented groups. From there, you can analyze the results, identify hiring trends, adjust sourcing spend and strategy to make data-driven decisions. 

Conclusion 

Building an inclusive and diverse workforce doesn’t start and end with just hiring underrepresented groups, it requires an entire organizational shift. In order for the life sciences industry to maintain leadership and competitiveness in science and medical advancement, it’s crucial that organizations invest in building a strong and diverse talent pipeline. Everyone from the C-Suite to hiring managers has an important part to play in achieving DE&I goals and shrinking the industry’s growing workforce gaps.

Talking Talent: Celebrating our Differences and Hiring People with Disabilities

In this episode of Talking Talent with PeopleScout, we’re focusing on the importance of hiring people with disabilities and how you can create and execute an effective program that serves candidates of all abilities.

The week of March 13 is Neurodiversity Celebration Week, challenging stereotypes and misconceptions about neurological differences in transforming how neurodivergent individuals are perceived and supported. It’s a week to recognize the many talents and advantages of being neurodivergent while creating more inclusive and equitable cultures, and employers have a role. While not all people with disabilities are neurodivergent and not all neurodivergent people have disabilities, it is essential for employers to understand how to best support these candidates and employees.

Joining to discuss this topic is Tim Powell, PeopleScout managing director of APAC.


Where does your passion for hiring people with disabilities come from?

I’m very invested in the broader issue of equality and diversity, both from a societal perspective and as it specifically relates to the organizational environment. My father worked for the United Nations supporting the disadvantaged, and my interest in this area was a part of my nurturing. I became much more active in the disability sector through the personal experience of raising our daughter who suffers from a rare neurological disorder and is profoundly impacted by it.

The focus on how we can better support people with disabilities entering and embedding themselves in the workforce was a natural development given my professional background. Here in Australia, in our major national disability employment program, 70% of new starters with disabilities do not survive the probation period with their employer.

What do programs for hiring people with disabilities look like at most organizations today?

In my experience, for most organizations, hiring people with disabilities is more of a sporadic initiative rather than a structured program. Therein lies part of the challenge. The issue is not so much what their programs look like, it’s that their programs don’t have structure around it.

Organizations need to first understand why they want to focus on hiring people with disabilities. Is it corporate social responsibility? Is it a way of accessing an available workforce in a tight labor market? Or is it to enhance workforce efficiency and effectiveness? These are all legitimate reasons for employers to build these programs.

How can talent leaders better understand the types of attributes that candidates with disabilities possess and what types of roles would be a good match?

It starts with selecting and shaping the role or the roles that are being targeted for the program. Unfortunately, there’s no one right answer to this question. Having clarity about the goals of the program is important here, as it will influence the types of roles that are considered. Too often, organizations select existing roles in the organization without necessarily thinking through how the person with a disability may or may not be able to carry it out. In many cases, the roles need to be carved up and shaped to the capabilities of the individuals being targeted.

How can employers reach this talent pool?

Finding candidates can be really challenging for talent leaders, particularly if they’re not quite sure what they’re looking for in terms of the skill sets or the roles that they’re looking to include in the program of work. Once you understand what you’re looking for, it becomes more evident where you can find these talent pools. Then, it is best to partner with an external provider. There are organizations, like Jigsaw Australia, that can help organizations find the right people.

What are some best practices for interviewing and assessing candidates with disabilities?

It’s important to assess basic competencies, attributes, capacity, and willingness to learn rather than previous job experiences or how well someone might present. People who are in the early stages of entering the workforce will often have very limited work experience. They may not have participated in the typical structured school/work experience programs that many early careers candidates complete. In many cases, they are challenged by some of the very basics around work experience in terms of things like workplace etiquette and timeliness.

I sit on the board of directors for a progressive service provider that thoroughly prepares people with disabilities to enter the workforce. They work through a series of competency-driven programs to build the individual’s readiness and confidence to join and thrive in the workforce. This is not a short-term program. Participants can be in this stage of development for up to two years or more before being ready to venture out into the open market.

For employers looking to start a program employing people with disabilities, this means that you need to be transparent about the core competencies and take a long-term view of the development of those individuals.

How can talent leaders prepare their internal talent teams and managers so that they’re equipped to make the onboarding process as smooth as possible and ensure success for their new employees?

There’s a line of thinking that says it’s best not to draw attention to a person’s disability, so don’t make too much of a fuss about it with others in a new work environment. While I can appreciate where that thinking comes from, I don’t particularly subscribe to the approach. In my experience, it often leads to misunderstanding and alienation. I think that making sure everyone around the individual is aware of the situation, while of course respecting the sensitivity of this situation, leads to the best outcomes. So, talking to managers and other team members about the characteristics and preferences of a person is entirely appropriate if it’s done in a way that’s sensitive to that individual’s privacy and dignity.

For example, a person with autism may not be comfortable talking about themselves in a group meeting. Team members need to be aware that their colleague may not make eye contact, for instance. That’s because it’s their preference, and team members shouldn’t take that personally or stop interacting with them. This is where education and training in advance of the new colleague are really important.

What can employers do to ensure that their new hire has continued success within their organization?

Ongoing support is obviously the short answer. Make sure that the person has someone that they’re comfortable with outside of their direct manager who can check in on them. Leaders should also engage with the new hire about what support they need and how they’re finding their experience. People with disabilities generally want to be engaged with and are open to talking about what support they require. In fact, in many cases, they’re very used to it just because of the nature of their life experience.

If some elements are not working, there may be additional training or support that is required, and there may need to be additional work in managing or adjusting the expectations of all involved. Employers need to be actively thinking about what could be done differently to produce a better outcome. It’s not just about how the individual is feeling and progressing but how the manager and the team around them are feeling. Lastly, it’s important that if everything is being done to support the employee but the outcome is not meeting expectations, be prepared to act. Don’t linger on it. Sometimes I’ve noticed employers shy away from difficult decisions, but that doesn’t help anyone.

Are there any thoughts you’d like to leave us with?

This isn’t easy. If it was, more organizations would be much further down the path. But it is worthwhile, not only because it’s the right thing to do, but because it makes good business sense. Start small, build confidence, think laterally, and then see where it goes to from there. It’s a wonderful journey if you are committed to it.

Research Report

IDENTIFYING RECRUITMENT PITFALLS TO IMPROVE DE&I OUTCOMES

Neurodiversity in the Workplace: Expanding Your DE&I Strategy to Include Neurodivergent Talent

By Tim Powell, Managing Director, APAC 

Neurodiversity in the workplace has become a much bigger part of the wider discussion about diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) at work over the last decade. While the neurodistinct community still experiences prejudice and misperceptions, the cultural wave of “neuroinclusion” and advocacy is driving a number of companies to change their hiring practices in order to attract cognitively diverse talent.  

Neurodiversity has taught us that diversity and inclusion are about more than age, gender, race, religion and physical ability. DE&I is about ensuring different points of view and different experiences are valued. Indeed, Nancy Doyle, an organizational psychologist and neurodiversity advocate, argues we’re all differently abled in some way. We all have different experiences and perspectives that we bring to the table. 

In this article, I’ll explore what embracing neurodiversity in the workplace means for employers and offer some practical advice for creating a neuroinclusive environment.  

What is Neurodiversity? 

Judy Singer, an Australian sociologist, coined the term neurodiversity in 1998 to promote “a political and civil rights movement” for the advancement of “neurological outsiders.” The term refers to the concept that everyone experiences and interacts with the world around them differently. A neurodivergent person’s brain may work in a different way than the average “neurotypical” person. They may have unique ways of learning, communicating, socializing or perceiving their surroundings. 

An estimated 15% to 20% of the world’s population exhibits some form of neurodivergence. While neurodiversity is often used in the context of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and Asperger’s syndrome, many conditions fall under the neurodivergent umbrella, including ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia, Down syndrome, Tourette syndrome, and even mental health conditions like bipolar disorder, OCD and social anxiety. However, people with these conditions may also choose not to identify as neurodivergent. 

Research Report

Identifying Recruitment Pitfalls to Improve DE&I Outcomes

Why Neurodiversity in the Workplace is Important 

We all understand by now that diversity at work improves business performance, and neurodiversity in the workplace is no different. While some neurodivergent traits, like difficulty with organization or sensory issues, pose challenges in traditional work settings, neurodivergent people have unique strengths that offer myriad benefits to employers. 

Neurodiverse professionals often have special skills in pattern recognition, analysis, mathematics and more. In fact, neuroinclusion is strongly tied to innovation. Cognitively diverse teams, consisting of both neurodivergent and neurotypical employees, are more creative, make better decisions and solve problems more efficiently.  

They’re also more productive. According to Deloitte, research suggests that teams that include neurodivergent professionals can be 30% more productive than those without neurodivergent members. Through their Autism at Work program, JP Morgan Chase has found that cognitively diverse employees are 90% to 140% more productive than neurotypical employees and make fewer errors. 

A diagram of what neurodiversity brings to the workplace
Source: Genius Within

In her TED Talk, “The world needs all kinds of minds,” autism activist and prominent animal behaviorist Temple Grandin says, without autism “there’d be no more Silicon Valley, and the energy crisis would not be solved.” In our world of technological advancements and automation, the advantages of neurodiversity in the workplace have never been greater. 

Neurodivergent Candidates: An Untapped Talent Pool 

Despite these benefits, neurodivergent people are far more likely than neurotypical people to struggle with unemployment. It’s estimated that as many as 85% of college-educated autistic adults struggle with unemployment in the United States. According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), just 21.7% of autistic people in the UK are employed and are the least likely to be in work of any other disabled group. In Australia, 70% of new starters with disabilities do not survive the probation period and 65% of Australian businesses are unsure how to access this pool of workers. 

Neurodivergent individuals can sometimes struggle with interpreting nonverbal cues, facial expressions or tone of voice. Sometimes this means they display what may be considered inappropriate behavior for the workplace, like excessive honesty or difficulty maintaining eye contact. This runs contrary to what many corporate cultures think make a good employee—having good communication skills, emotional intelligence and relationship building capacity. 

Most hiring processes are built for neurotypical candidates. Whether we’re conscious of it or not, interviews tend to focus on evaluating social skills and confidence. This may be relevant for some job roles but may not be a genuine need for others. This puts some neurodivergent applicants at a great disadvantage, particularly when high emotional intelligence isn’t required for success in the role.  

In the next section, I offer some practical changes you can make to your hiring program and recruitment processes to support the success of neurodivergent talent. 

“Inclusion is a social, moral and economic imperative. We all lose when human potential is squandered.”

Dr. Nancy Doyle, CEO and Founder, Genius Within CIC 

How to Foster Inclusion for Neurodiversity in the Workplace 

So, how can you make your workplace more neuroinclusive and create a recruitment process that ensures neurodiverse candidates are more likely to be successful? Here are some tips: 

Make Neurodiversity Part of Wider DE&I Strategy 

At the vast majority of organizations, hiring people with disabilities or cognitive differences is often a sporadic initiative rather than a structured program. To achieve success, it can’t be a pet project of HR or any one person. Rather it should become a part of your larger workplace DE&I initiative

Objectives 

The first step in building out a sustainable neurodiversity hiring strategy is to be clear on your objectives. It could be to support corporate social responsibility with an inclusiveness focus; to access a wider talent pool in a tight labor market; or to enhance workforce efficiency and effectiveness. Whatever the objectives, the whole organization must buy into the program and have the right expectations. So, communicate your goals and objectives widely and secure strong, visible and consistent support from senior leadership.  

Audience 

Often, we see that organizations don’t think through how a person with a disability might perform their duties. When organizations define a talent persona for each job type, and target those individuals from the outset, employees are much more successful. This in an opportunity to test your assumptions about job roles and explore the impact if an employee didn’t certain skills. Your selection criteria must be justifiable and define what is essential to succeed in the role. 

Once you’re clear on the skillsets you’re looking for in each role, targeting the audience becomes easier. To help with sourcing neurodiverse candidates, you might consider seeking help from an outside partner who can help you think through the art of the possible and drive informed choices. 

Train 

Education and diversity training in advance of a neurodivergent colleague starting, or in the very early stages of onboarding is important to ensure they’re successful in their new role. Talking to managers and other team members about the characteristics and preferences of a neurodiverse person is entirely appropriate if it’s done in a way that is sensitive to that individual’s privacy and dignity. In fact, it’s critical these conversations take place, so your teams understand in advance what they can expect with their new colleague. For example, throwing a person with autism into a group meeting and asking them to say something about themself is likely not going to be a comfortable experience for them. If managers know this ahead of time, they can make informed decisions about how to introduce their neurodiverse new hire to the team. Moreover, when employees know that their new neurodiverse co-worker may not make eye contact, they’re less likely to take it personally.  

Rethink Your Recruitment Process 

One reason I’ve seen neurodiversity in the workplace fail is because the recruitment process is not sufficiently tailored to the needs of neurodivergent candidates. The focus must be on assessing basic competencies and characteristics as well as a candidate’s capacity and willingness to learn, rather than how well they interview or even their previous job experience (as neurodivergent candidates often have less employment history).  

I caught up with our UK-based Assessment Design team, comprised of organizational psychologists, to understand more about how they’re helping clients create more equitable assessment experiences. They shared that because the interview and assessment process can often be complex—varying by role and company—there is no “silver bullet” and each situation should be addressed on a case-by-case basis, especially since many neurodivergent people are undiagnosed or may choose not to reveal their diagnosis to potential employers. 

Interviews 

Interviews in particular can be a challenging prospect for neurodiverse candidates. While most organizations won’t eliminate interviews altogether, they shouldn’t be the only consideration. They should be balanced with other evaluation techniques, and, for candidates who require adjustments, you might consider weighting interviews so they count for less in the overall candidate appraisal.  

Prepare to offer reasonable adjustments for the recruitment process as neurodivergent candidates in particular will likely need to deviate from established processes. This could mean changing the location or of an interview or allowing for a screen reader during an online assessment exam. Another example of an adjustment is to put the interview question into the chat during virtual interviews to make the experience more accessible. Keep in mind that any adjustments you make for the recruitment process should be adjustments you’re prepared to offer in the workplace as well.  

At PeopleScout, we provide experienced assessors who can act as a neutral third-party in interviews which can help to reduce bias in the scoring. 

Blended Assessments 

The PeopleScout Assessment Design team recommends a blended assessment approach consisting of multiple styles of question, allowing candidates different ways to show their potential. These blended assessments have the added benefit of giving candidates a realistic preview of what the role and organisational culture is like. For example, for a large international airport, the bespoke 1XP experience we created an immersive experience in which security officer candidates had complete various tasks, including “spotting the difference” between images, to test their ability to catch potential security issues in the airport.  

Communication 

Regardless of whether candidates have requested adjustments or not, should always clearly communicate with candidates the steps of the recruitment process, what’s expected of the candidate at each stage and what’s coming up next. All candidates appreciate this, but neurodivergent candidates in particular may benefit knowing what to expect upfront. 

Adjust the Working Environment 

Beyond experiencing issues with workplace etiquette, neurodiverse employees often struggle with sensory challenges, like sensitivity to light or sound. Modern office environments with open floor plans or noisy warehouses or shop floors can prevent neurodiverse employees from being successful in their work. 

Consider offering flexible seating arrangements, quiet places for breaks or noise cancelling headphones. When feasible, remote work is a great option for some neurodivergent employees. Be prepared to adjust lighting or make adaptations to a neurodiverse employee’s workstation. Even changing a uniform to have a softer fabric can make all the difference for a neurodiverse worker. For employees with learning disabilities, assistive technologies, like screen readers, or video trainings can help them complete onboarding modules and job tasks.  

There is no one-size-fits-all approach here. Just like neurotypical people, disabled and neurodiverse employees each have their own unique requirements and preferences for maximizing their productivity. 

Consider Career Paths 

Taking a long-term view of the development of disabled and neurodiverse employees is key to continued success of your program. One idea is to give neurodivergent employees a “buddy” or mentor that they’re comfortable with—outside of their direct manager. Having this extra person checking in on them is invaluable in retaining neurodiverse employees beyond the first three to six months. 

It’s also important that organizations engage with their disabled and neurodiverse employees directly about what support they need and how they feel about their experience. Sometimes employers are uncomfortable asking those questions, but people with disabilities generally want to engage and are open to talking about what support they require. Of course, these conversations should happen in a way that honors the employee’s privacy and dignity.  

Conclusion 

My experience tells me that making disability and neurodiversity part of your DE&I strategy isn’t easy. If it was, more organizations would be further down the path. But it is worthwhile, not only to meet societal expectations, but because it makes good business sense. Start small, build confidence and scale. Neurodiversity in the workplace is a wonderful journey if you’re committed to it and plan appropriately. 

Recession, Recruiting and Resilience: Creating Opportunities for Workforce Planning Success

With signs pointing toward a global recession, employers are preparing their workforces for what’s to come. This may mean cutting back on their investment in talent acquisition, delaying HR projects or even reducing their workforce.

While economic uncertainty can lead to difficult decisions for employers, it’s also important to recognize the opportunity it provides. This may be the perfect time to assess the resilience of your workforce and invest in workforce planning to make it fare better in the long run.

Is your talent acquisition program resilient enough to weather the storm? Here are four questions to ask to find out where you stand.

1. Is your employer brand and EVP still relevant?

If you haven’t updated your employer value proposition (EVP) in the last 18 months, it’s probably out of sync with the market and what candidates want. Now is the time to sense check if it’s relevant in 2023 and beyond. Does your employer brand work for a remote and hybrid workforce? Is it an authentic reflection of what you have to offer your employees?

Even if you’re not planning to hire actively in the near future, employer branding is also important for retention. Auditing and updating your brand will help you retain your current talent and ensure you’re ready to attract top talent in the future.

2. Is your hiring process working for remote and hybrid employees?

At the start of the pandemic, if you shoehorned your old in-person hiring process into your new hybrid or remote work reality and never looked back, it’s time to assess whether that’s really working for you. Remote work often requires a different set of skills than office-based work. Is your current process helping you assess those skills to achieve the quality-of-hire you need?  

Review the competencies and behaviors you need for each role to ensure they’re relevant for hybrid or remote employees. Now is the time to update job ads and evaluate your assessment process to ensure they are in tune with the success factors that drive your business now—instead of those that drove success pre-pandemic.

3. Are you achieving your DE&I recruitment goals?

While you may not be actively hiring, now is a good time to engage with diverse communities to ensure candidates from underrepresented backgrounds make up a significant portion of your talent pipeline when you’re ready to ramp up hiring again.

Increase your visibility in diverse communities via campaigns or event sponsorships. Look into your diversity analytics to understand what’s working and what’s not when it comes to sourcing and hiring your target audiences.

4. Is it time to consider RPO?

Now is the time to re-evaluate how you’re going to market for talent, whether via an internal talent acquisitions team, staffing agencies, recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) or a hybrid model. Work with your procurement partner to scrutinize your spend and evaluate your options to streamline and minimize risk—including standardizing with one global RPO partner.

Just because you’re not hiring at the same volume you were before, doesn’t mean outsourcing is out of the question. Recruiter On-Demand or project RPO engagements offer flexible solutions for targeted hiring needs. An RPO partner can also offer value-added talent advisory services like market insights, employer branding, assessment services and more. Plus, once engaged, your RPO partner will be on tap to hit the economic recovery running and scale up for your hiring surge.

An economic slowdown is not the time to put your talent acquisition strategy on the back burner. Use this time to take stock and get prepared so you’re ready to bounce back faster. You’ll be able to beat your competition and create a resilient workforce that’s ready for whatever the future has in store.

Want more insight into the future of work? Check out our ebook, Destination 2030: 10 Predictions for What’s NEXT in the World of Work.

[On-Demand] The Hard Truth About Candidate Experience: Part One

[On-Demand] The Hard Truth About Candidate Experience: Part One

Heading into 2023, employers continue to face a challenging talent market. Beyond a shortage of qualified applicants, candidate expectations for the recruitment process have never been higher. Our latest research shows that fewer than two in ten candidates rate their experience as excellent, which means engaging top talent in the new year will require a new approach.

Make 2023 the year you focus on how you interact with job seekers. Join PeopleScout Global Head of Talent Consulting Simon Wright for the newest Talking Talent webinar, The Hard Truth About Candidate Experience available on-demand.

This bite-sized 30-minute webinar is part one of a two-part series that makes a case for the importance of a stellar candidate experience and provides the data to back up our recommendations for creating one.

In this first webinar, Simon will cover:

  • The state of the global jobs market
  • Current trends in job seeker behavior
  • The impact of changing consumer expectations
  • The cost of a poor candidate experience
  • And our forthcoming research!

First Nations Candidates: Creating More Opportunities in the Workplace

At PeopleScout APAC we are committed to providing you with information to help guide you on your D&I journey. We aim to cover a wide range of D&I topics, including issues regarding BIPOC, the LGBTQ+ community, gender gaps, people with disabilities and more. In this article, we cover the history and importance of NAIDOC Week and offer advice and recommendations for employers looking to build more inclusive workplaces for First Nations peoples.

Each year in Australia, NAIDOC Week is observed in July to recognise the contributions of the First Nations and Torres Strait Islander communities to history and achievements of Australia. It’s an occasion to celebrate the oldest, continuous living cultures on Earth.

NAIDOC Week takes its name from the National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee. The annual celebration stems from The Day of Mourning, which was first held as a protest to Australia Day on 26 January 1938, the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet, marking the beginning of the colonisation of Australia. Aboriginal Australian were protesting the mistreatment of their ancestors and the seizure of land and resources from the First Nations peoples. It became an annual tradition and evolved into a week-long event in 1975 resulting in NAIDOC Week.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have a rich and ancient history, and each person brings their unique views and experiences to the workforce. Creating career opportunities for First Nations peoples in integral to a workplace diversity and inclusion (D&I) program. In this article, we’ll provide an overview of the First Nations peoples, discuss the challenges these Australians are facing in the workplace and share actionable strategies your organisation can leverage to create opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workers.

Who are First Nations Australians?

“First Nations Australians”, is a general term that includes two distinct cultural groups—Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Within these groups sits a wide array nations, islands, tribes, clans and communities, each with their own culture, language and beliefs.

Australia’s First Peoples cultures developed over 70,000 years on the continent now known as Australia, making them the world’s oldest living cultures. Aboriginal peoples come from all regions of Australia. Torres Strait Islanders originate from a group of 200 islands off the northern tip of Queensland, south of Papua New Guinea. Each Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander person will have their own specific culture and ancestral homeland with which they identify.

A Brief History of Oppression of Australia’s First Peoples

Australia was originally founded as a penal colony for Britain. On 26 January 1788, a fleet of 11 British ships carrying 700 convicts arrived at the colony to establish an agricultural work camp.

Aboriginal populations were subjected to forced labour and eventually segregated. As recently as the 1970s, Aboriginal children were forcibly removed from their families by Australian Federal and State agencies and put into institutions or placed with white families in a misguided attempt to assimilate them into white society. In addition to abuse and neglect, these children were deprived of learning their oral culture as parents were unable to pass down their traditions to these Stolen Generations—and much has been lost.

In 1967, Aboriginal peoples were granted citizenship, which started a journey of slow progress towards reconciliation in Australia. With unanimous support from Parliament, the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation was established in 1991 to raise awareness of the history of the treatment of First Nations peoples in Australia. Today, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) have set out ambitious targets to remedy the disadvantages they now face as a result historical harm.

First Nations Peoples in the Workplace

The Closing the Gap strategy was created 2008 to address six major areas of improvement relating to health, education and employment. The 2020 Closing the Gap report, shows big strides made around education. While still lower than non-Indigenous Australians, 66% of First Nations Australians aged 20-24 years have completed a Year 12 level of education or higher—up 21% from a decade ago.

However, despite educational advancements, First Nations people remain largely underrepresented in the workplace. In 2018, the employment rate of Aboriginal and Torres Islander peoples was around 49% compared to around 75% for non-Indigenous Australians. Unfortunately, not much improvement has been made over the last 10 years with just 0.9% growth in the employment rate for Indigenous Australians.

To counteract these concerning trends, many organisations are now executing against a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), which sets out how they will contribute to reconciliation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and creating meaningful opportunities for them. An important part of a successful RAP is a dedicated strategy for recruitment of First Nations peoples.

“Reconciliation isn’t a single moment or place in time. It’s lots of small, consistent steps, some big strides, and sometimes unfortunate backwards steps …”

Karen Mundine, Chief Executive Officer, Reconciliation Australia

Strategies for Improving First Nations Talent Acquisition Outcomes

Although a small talent pool, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workers can add huge value to your organisation. Increasing the number of Indigenous Australians in your workforce will help you reflect your community and increase your understanding of your cross-cultural customer base. Focusing on Indigenous employment can open up additional business opportunities—including government contracts—and aid in the expansion your revenue potential. 

The majority of Australians (59%) say they would like to work with a First Nations person, and 66% say they would employ an Indigenous Australian given the opportunity. So how can employers attract, hire and create more opportunities for First Nations peoples?

At PeopleScout, we have developed this five-pillar approach to a First Nations resourcing strategy:

1. Labour Market Insights

Your strategy should start with developing a deep understanding of your First Nations target audience. Conduct labour market research in all regions in which you’re hiring to understand the size of the talent pool and gain insight into current employers and role types and common skills.

Working with a First Nations resourcing consultant can help you understand the drivers and motivators of your First Nations audiences. Combine this with demographic data to create a talent persona that informs your recruitment marketing messages so they resonate with First Nations talent.

2. Community & Stakeholder Engagement

Start by communicating with indigenous leaders and educating your recruitment partners—to drive accountability and positive outcomes for any Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) you have in place and how talent acquisition fits in. This is also a good time to ensure all your sourcers and recruiters have completed cultural awareness training. You should also share the labour market insights you gathered so they have a clear understanding of the skill sets that exist within the First Nations communities and how they map to your business.

Once you’ve informed your internal stakeholders, it’s time to identify groups within you’re the First Nations community and start establishing relationships. These could include schools and universities (and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student groups), community groups, social media groups and more. This will help build awareness of your organisation and lay the foundation for referrals to your roles.

3. Attraction

Start by reviewing your existing employer value proposition (EVP) to ensure it’s relevant to a First Nations audience. It’s important at this stage to have a feedback session with your existing First Nations employees or consultants to further develop your employer brand messaging to understand cultural sensitivities in a respectful way that values indigenous knowledge and practices.

Then, update your careers page and any recruitment marketing assets and creative, if needed. You may also consider creating a dedicated First Nations career page. Using these materials, you can actively promote your positions to the community groups with which you’ve been engaging.

4. Assessment & Selection

This pillar is all about ensuring more First Nations candidates progress through each stage of the recruitment process to ultimately increase hires. 

It’s crucial to partner with your hiring managers to ensure they’re aligned with your diversity hiring targets and how your organisation’s RAP might impact their business unit. You should also present them with your labour market insights which will be the basis of an important conversation around required skills within the available talent pool. Your recruiters and hiring managers should agree on where there is flexibility within the technical capabilities for each role—what can be developed on the job versus what skills they need to have from the start in order to be successful. Then, when reviewing candidates and applicants, you can view them through the lens of transferrable skills that an individual can bring to the role—not strictly for exact experience.

The assessment and selection stage of the recruitment process can often be where most roadblocks lurk for First Nations candidates, so it’s important to assess your candidate experience to root out anything that may negatively impact Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander candidates. Document any recruitment process changes and present these guidelines to hiring managers.

As they move through your recruitment process, it’s important to gather feedback from First Nations candidates. Candidate NPS is a good way to gauge the experience of Indigenous candidates versus non-Indigenous and uncover any areas for improvement. Share this data amongst recruiters and hiring managers and adjust as needed to ensure ongoing success.

5. Reporting & Analytics

No First Nations talent acquisition strategy or RAP will be successful without measurement and regular reporting on progress.

The first step here is to define your success measures. These may include:

  • Level of interest / number of applicants from First Nations peoples
  • Candidate source (can help you determine if certain community relationships need more attention and inform your recruitment marketing campaigns)
  • Candidate quality
  • Pipeline data showing the number First Nations candidates at each stage of the recruitment process
  • Number of First Nations people hired
  • Retention rates

The ability to report on these metrics may require you to evaluate your recruitment analytics technology and upgrade your tech stack if needed. Look for a tool that lets you build an RAP dashboard that included modules that show data specific to your First Nations recruitment process.

As you build your dashboards and determine what to include, think about which stakeholders within your business should see the data and what they should see. Your C-suite, talent acquisition teams and hiring managers will all have different needs and concerns. Regularly analysing this data and trends over time will go a long way to ensure you achieve your First Nations recruitment outcomes.

First Nations Peoples & Workplace Diversity

To stay competitive in today’s challenging recruitment landscape, diversity and inclusion must be at the core of your talent strategy. When candidates and customers see diversity within your business—including First Nations employees—they’re more likely to invest their time and resource in your organisation. By celebrating the cultures of First Nations peoples and creating opportunities for them to thrive, you can foster long-term reconciliation and respect for this diverse talent pool—for NAIDOC Week and beyond.

Diversity in the Workplace: A Time to Value Your Colleagues of All Faiths

By Sian Blurton, Client Relationship Director, EMEA

I was lucky enough to spend the past 4.5 years of my career in Dubai. During this time, I embraced a different culture, immersed myself in understanding and educating myself around the Islamic faith and its celebrations. I would like to take this opportunity to thank my Muslim colleagues and their families for the kindness shown to me during my time as an expat.

Our different faiths had the outcome inclusivity for all.

A generosity of spirit is displayed during Ramadan in the Muslim world. I had the honour and pleasure to work on food bank distribution for those less fortunate, and witnessed my Muslim colleagues and friends give money and gifts to those less fortunate.  

Fasting during the month of Ramadan is not about disappointment or deprivation. It is a form of discipline, and the opportunity to achieve clarity and a deeper connection with one’s faith.

Ramadan is a time of reflection. Some may choose to use the month to start anew. Some make resolutions to be kinder. Ramadan is all about being the best YOU possible. something I know I have learnt from.

In addition, I highly recommend attending the amazing Iftar, the meal in which Muslims break their fast at sunset, with friends.

To all my Muslim friends and colleagues across the world, when Ramadan commences tomorrow on 2 April, I will be thinking of you, remembering all you taught me about Ramadan, and thanking you for the love and kindness you have shown. We all should take time to reflect, be humble and be the best versions of ourselves that we can be.

As-salamu alaykum – RAMADAN KAREEM

Women and Menopause at Work: Urgent and Important…but Why Now?

By Sian Blurton, Client Relationship Director, EMEA

I am sure like me, many people watched the documentary with Davina McCall, “Sex , Mind and The Menopause” . 

There is currently so much work being done to remove the taboo and support women experiencing menopause in the workplace. So, what can employers do to gain a little understanding around why 900,000 women are feeling so overwhelmed that they would leave the workplace. 

Symptoms at Work

Menopause is a problem women have been dealing with and managing at work for years and has always been around. The menopause is a physical process in which women stop having periods, either naturally or through surgery. The average woman in the UK reaches menopause at 51 years old—with plenty of working life left.

Symptoms of menopause include, but are not limited to:

  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Hot flushes
  • Fatigue

Clearly, any woman experiencing these symptoms will find it hard to do her best at work.

How Employers Can Support Women at Work

Women experiencing menopause need more support, both personal and professional. Employers need to put the effort in to educate and support managers so they can provide better support to women in turn. 

Together we can drive a positive change. Let’s #RemoveTheTaboo. 

HMRC: Creating a New Virtual Assessment Center for Greater Diversity

HMRC: Creating a New Virtual Assessment Center for Greater Diversity

HMRC: Creating a New Virtual Assessment Center for Greater Diversity

Every year, His Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) hires 40 lawyers in an annual campaign. Ahead of their annual hiring effort, they turned to PeopleScout to help them modernize their assessment center to secure more qualified talent.

56 Qualified Candidates Found for 40 Vacancies
40 % of Offers Made Were to Candidates Who Identified as an Ethnic Minority
33 % of Offers Made Were to Candidates Who Identified as Being from a Lower Socioeconomic Background

Situation

The HMRC team was concerned that their current assessment center was no longer a good predictor of performance in the role. They had also received feedback from a number of candidates who said they’d experienced functionality and formatting limitations while completing the written exercise. 

The HMRC wanted PeopleScout to evaluate their assessment strategy to ensure they were evaluating for the right traits, to improve the candidate experience, and to reduce potential hidden bias within the process since diversity was a critical goal for their recruitment program.

Solution

Reassessing the Assessment Center

Our tech team and assessments experts had several sessions with the HMRC team. The HMRC team was able to share the skill and behavior requirements for the legal roles. Each skill and behavior was weighted to ensure the online assessment was tailored to their specific needs. This collaborative approach gave the HMRC team opportunities to provide direct input into the direction of the assessment center and develop trust in the outcomes as well as PeopleScout.

The new assessment center consisted of a behavioral test which also assessed for verbal and cognitive aptitude. This combination gave HMRC the opportunity to evaluate a broader skillset to better judge a candidate’s fit for the role. The new assessment was accompanied by tweaks to the technology platform which created a smoother experience for candidates.

Our PeopleScout team trained HMRC’s internal teams on administering the new assessment center as well as a new video interviewing tool. In addition to the training session, each interview panel member received a detailed guide to minimize the likelihood of any disruption for the candidate.

Creating an Excellent Candidate Experience

We designed and delivered a webinar to engage candidates and educate them about the new virtual assessment center. This gave them the opportunity to ask questions and feel confident going into the testing stage.

A PeopleScout assessor was present during all virtual assessments to support the HMRC team with their assessment expertise and ensure a consistent experience for all candidates.

Results

Of the applications received, 62% were passed to HMRC for sifting and to complete the assessment center. Just under half passed and completed a virtual interview with HMRC. Ultimately, 56 qualified candidates were identified against 40 vacancies, giving HMRC a talent pool to draw upon for future openings.

Great strides were made against HMRC’s diversity recruitment efforts. Of the offers made:

  • 7% of candidates identified as having a disability
  • 60% of candidates identified as female
  • 40% of candidates identified as minority ethnic
  • 33% of candidates identified as being from a lower socio-economic background

Feedback from candidates was positive with many saying they felt the new platform was easier to navigate.

At a Glance

  • COMPANY: His Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC)
  • PEOPLESCOUT SOLUTIONS: Recruitment Process Outsourcing, Talent Advisory
  • ABOUT HMRC: His Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is a department of the UK Government responsible for administration of taxes, national insurance contributions, the national minimum wage and more.