By Phil Kerry, Chief Executive
Every charity I’ve ever worked wanted more diverse leaders. Every one rued the lack of applications from Black and Asian colleagues despite their internal EDI plans showing just how committed they were to anti-racism (especially during #BlackHistoryMonth). And in every one, the difference between the people accessing services from the charity and those running it couldn’t have been more stark.
New Horizon Youth Centre has been no exception to this and so this last spring, with a run of #recruitment planned following the launch of our new strategy we decided to change this.
We spent time talking to our Staff Diversity Group and Board Diversity Committee and agreed a plan to try and significantly improve the number of applications from minoritised communities, candidates with disabilities and ensure that we removed the biases in our processes that may have stopped them progressing (our historical recruitment data shows that white people were twice as likely to progress through shortlisting and appointments).
In doing so we made the following commitments:
- Overhauled our recruitment pack to ensure it had better representation in it and a new, prominent equality and diversity page up front
- Changed our application process from a cumbersome form to CV and covering letter
- Worked hard to find new recruitment channels and sites to attract broader rage of candidates
- Continue with blind shortlisting (removing all personal information from candidate applications) which had been in place since 2018
- Guaranteeing interviews for candidates disclosing a disability who met the minimum criteria for the role and explicitly offering to refund travel or childcare costs for candidates attending interviews.
- Once initial shortlisting had taken place, carrying out a check of diversity monitoring information to ensure no key groups had been inadvertently missed or potentially disadvantaged.
- Made a commitment to never have all white staff interview panels
16 roles later (including 7 managerial positions) the results spoke for themselves. We had our highest every average number of applications and of those 62% of prospective candidates were from minoritised backgrounds with 66% getting the job. 13% of applicants disclosed having a disability and 33% of successful candidates disclosed having one.
Is any of this rocket science? No. Was it more work? Yes. But was it all worth it? Absolutely yes.
We are unbelievably proud of the community of young people we support at New Horizon Youth Centre and the fact that it is one of the most diverse in the capital. Young people of almost every religion, race, gender, nationality, sexuality and neurodiversity come through our doors every year.
We’re glad that our staff are now even more reflective of that too, after all we know that it is their collective diversity that makes us a success. Of course, we also know that there is more to do. We’d love to hear how you’ve improved your recruitment and diversified your leadership?