l-r Sam Kamyer, MD Empiric, Ann Francke, CEO Chartered Management Insitute, Dean Rdigewell, Director Empiric.

Diversity and Inclusion in the Recruitment Profession

Along with former Westminster Business School Dean Barbara Allan, Heather Melville of RBS, contributor to Westminster Business School’s Women for the Board Programme, and Andy Woodfield of PwC UK, I’ve been judging APSCo’s (Association of Professional Staffing Companies) new Diversity and Inclusion Award.

Like the other APSCo Awards for Excellence 2015, the first stage of judging comprised a paper-based shortlisting process. We read the entry forms and supporting materials submitted by the recruitment companies, and selected our top three. Our shortlisted firms, Empiric, Nicoll Curtin and SThree were then invited for a half-hour Q&A session with all us judges, chaired by APSCo director Marilyn Davidson. These sessions were intense, but also fascinating and enjoyable. Andy Woodfield’s rather inspired question: “what are Monday mornings like in your office?” elicited responses giving a real feel for what working in the shortlisted companies is like… and also, in one instance, the fantastic effects of the diversity and inclusion improvements one shortlistee has introduced over the past two years.

Guaranteed interviews for disabled applicants, and parents’ page

The winners of the APSCo Awards for Excellence were announced at a delicious (just about managed to restrain myself from asking for seconds. Of everything.) and convivial lunch  at RBS.

You can find details of all the awards and winners on the APSCo website.

Although all three companies shortlisted for the Diversity and Inclusion Award are doing great things to improve diversity and inclusion – particularly where gender is concerned – we chose Empiric because

“D&I [diversity and inclusion] is part of who this company are and is completely integrated into every aspect of the business. They have a well-rounded, multi-stranded and beautifully networked approach and are not afraid to start a challenging debate with clients, staff or candidates in search of continual improvement.”

Essentially, the company is committed to encouraging all staff to be as fully themselves at work as they are elsewhere. They work with organisations including Stonewall and Jobcentre Plus, target their job advertising carefully to reach diverse candidates, offer guaranteed interview schemes for disabled applicants and have a parents’ web-page, enabling those on parental leave and their colleagues to keep in contact with each other. And admire photos of each others babies…

Ann Francke of the CMI: Purpose, People and Potential

Between lunch and the Awards announcements and presentations, Ann Francke, CEO of the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) and author of the Financial Times Guide to Management: How to Make a Difference and Get Results, spoke on the importance of good leadership and management.

Quoting from Management 2020 – the 2014 report from the Commission on the Future of Management and Leadership, created by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Management with the CMI, she explored how well-managed and led organisations are distinguished by their commitment to

  • Purpose –“What social benefit does the organisation exist to achieve and how are its leaders held accountable for these aims?”
  • People – “How does the organisation prepare managers and leaders at all levels?”
  • Potential – “How does the organisation support the next generation of managers and leaders?”

British companies, leadership and management. Room for improvement

Francke pointed out that of the 2,113 British managers surveyed for the report,

  • < 1/2 felt their companies were good or very good on purpose
  • < 1/3 scored their companies as good/very good on people
  • <1/4 rated them as good/very good on potential

Meanwhile, in a 2012 CMI study, only 1/5 of respondents rated their line managers as very effective and just under said they were ineffective. And, – if you’re looking to build a business case to persuade your organisation to help you develop your management and leadership skills – it might help to know that while the UK invests about ½ what other countries in the OECD invest in training, and the average manager waits 10 years for management training, well-led and managed organisations see

  • > 20% increase in performance
  • > 30% increase in productivity

5 principles and practices of great leadership

Ann Francke also treated us to 5 principles and practices of great leadership

  1. Stop excluding, start including
    Diversity – of all kinds – improves business performing
  2. Stop controlling, start coaching
    Have honest conversations, discuss successes and failures with an emphasis on lessons learned. Listen.
  3. Stop confusing, start clarifying
    Avoid jargon. Borrow a ten-year-old and see if they can understand your report. If not, rewrite/rethink
  4. Embrace change
    9/10 organisations go through change each year. Resistance is futile.
  5. Stop competing, start collaborating
    Both within and beyond your organisation.

It was a lack of collaboration, Ann Francke pointed out, that led to the horsemeat scandal.

And how many of us want horses in our burgers?

5 Diversity and inclusion must-reads

An Employer’s Guide to Creating an inclusive workplace – Equality and Human Rights Commission

Global Diversity and Inclusion: Fostering Innovation Through a Diverse Workforce – Forbes Insights

Creating and sustaining diversity and inclusion in organizations: strategies and approaches – Evangelina Holvino, Bernardo M. Ferdman and Deborah Merrill-Sands

How to Make Diversity and Inclusion Real
Douglas R. Conant in Harvard Business Review

Millennials have a different definition of diversity and inclusion – Fast Company

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