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HS2: recruiting more varied and diverse talent

Category: Women, diversity, BAME, Equality in the workplace, Engineering, diversity talent

The words Diversity and Inclusion in white on a red VERCIDA branded background.

HS2 holds the objective of creating the most varied workforce within the British infrastructure industry, encompassing the entirety of the company and its supply chain. At the stage of construction, close to 25,000 fresh jobs, inclusive of 2,000 apprentice positions. Additionally, the key contracts for the building and development of HS2 will create multiple thousands of opportunities for organizations across the supply chain. The company is focused on ensuring that its major contracts measure up to the promises of promoting inclusion, equality and diversity.

Diversity: a force for unity in divided Britain? - the Annual MCA debate in June was attended by several panelists. In the energetic debate at the event, the audience in attendance subjected the panelists to some difficult questions, which shifted to the discussion about the true effects of prospering EDI on the consultancy sector.

On being asked about the origin or a quality EDI practice, a panelist stated the presence of a culture that does not promote excuses. Progress occurs upon engaging leaders and holding them accountable. People are managed by leaders and are diverse in nature. A good practice of EDI is a good practice for people. The consultancy industry depends on people. This sector will depend on diverse groups of people, who impact rising diversity and create advanced ideas. The need for insights and creativity also rises as a marker of difference between offerings.

On being asked regarding the basics of EDI, the answer from the panelist end was web accessibility. Websites which lack AA accessibility are not considered as genuine. IT departments must enquire about the AA accessibility of a particular website, and if tests were conducted to ascertain the same.

Additionally, there are other EDI practice basics, apart from both the physical and digital environments. Importance needs to be laid on training, encouraging the participation of people in EDI activities, and process equality analysis. Effective communication and celebration of the success of EDI are all crucial. Stress also needs to be put on transparency regarding representation in the workplace, through all organisational levels.

When being asked about the slow speed of progress, the answer referred to the powerful culture of mediocrity that is harder to push through. In the UK, mediocrity is associated with strong cultural values. However, it leads to limiting beliefs from organisations, who are then compelled to go down the path of fixing people, through increased mentoring, training for leadership and coaching. These have all been designed to encourage competition for diverse groups. The impact is negligible and even negative, as diverse groups are subject to the very same processes.

Organisations should actively stop fixing people with the above-mentioned methods, as they are ineffective.

People from the disabled, BAME and female communities are prepared for recruitment, to become leaders, and impact the culture of organisations. Facilitating the desired changes will see organisations fixing the system by modifying models of recruitment, reassessing of promotion criteria, and striving to eliminate bias during selections.

HS2 has always upheld the values of equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in strategies of recruitment. Doing so has helped to recruit the best workers, and develop highly innovative solutions.

The organisation recently joined Blind Auditioning, to remove application forms or CVs entirely, with the aim of replacing them with assessment of skills based on the job description. Incorporating the process known as “blind audition”, the success rate for women being shortlisted rose from 17% to about 47%. In the case of BAME people, the rate rose to 50% from 14%; which are based on the technical competence. The change was considerable upon fixing the system.

The sector of consultancy must adopt a different way of thinking to achieve significant progress for EDI.

There is a need for lesser meetings and initiatives, and an increase in action, and restructuring of fundamental promotion and selection procedures. In addition, change and outcomes need to be focused on more, instead of inputs. Leaders who are accountable for outcomes of EDI can generate significant progress in shorter time spans.

Are you interested in a career at HS2? Please click here!

Vercida works with over one hundred clients who are committed to creating an inclusive work environment. If you are an employer and interested in working with Vercida to promote your diversity and inclusion initiatives and attract the best candidates, please call 02037405973 or email [email protected] for more information.

We are also officially recommended by Disability Confident as a step on achieving Employer status, please 'click here'for more information.

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VERCIDA works with over one hundred clients who are committed to creating an inclusive work environment. If you are an employer and interested in working with VERCIDA to promote your diversity and inclusion initiatives and attract the best candidates, please email [email protected] for more information.

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