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Prospectus shares its commitment to being an inclusive recruitment agency

Emma Bradman, Head of Talent at Prospectus, tells the #WorkWithMe community about her plans to make the recruitment agency inclusive of disabled people.

What was our motivation to becoming inclusive of disabled people?

Prospectus is a values led, certified B-Corp recruitment business working across the beyond profit sector.

Earlier this year the Senior Leadership Team at Prospectus decided we had had enough of the endless talking about the need for improved diversity across our business and our sector – we needed to take action! At Prospectus, we believe that an inclusive workforce should be the norm and we recognise the powerful position we are in to instigate change, both as an employer and as a recruitment business. We put together an Inclusion Task Force led by one of the leadership team, and launched our plans at an internal company event. At the event, we introduced the tangible steps we planned to take to make real change – starting by looking within. One of our Directors talked about his disability, how he managed it and how the company had supported him. We also heard from Anna Bird, Scope’s Executive Director of Policy and Research, who talked about the barriers disabled people face when getting into and staying in work.

Following the event we met with Scope to talk about what action we could take and heard all about the #WorkWithMe pledge – signing up seemed a bit of a no brainer! Our Inclusion Task Force is pan-diversity but with Scope’s support we have made supporting employment opportunities for disabled people a central aim of it. We will use the resources available through the pledge to address the barriers disabled people face when getting into, staying in and thriving in work whether that is at Prospectus or out at our clients in the beyond profit sector.

So what have we done already and what do we plan to do?

Soon after the event we used our internal newsletter to continue the conversation. We looked at what is already happening across the business. For example, our Head of Research wrote about how her team have targets around the diversity of long and short lists of candidates for our clients.

In the newsletter we also ran the first of what we hope will be many features on our #WorkWithMe pledge, explaining why we’ve signed up to the pledge and introducing the Let’s End the Awkward guide to language.

Culture change

We have also been looking more closely at how we capture and report on candidate diversity data. We already know that 4% of candidates that we placed into senior level roles across the sector declared a disability. This a number we want to see increase and we are now working on ensuring we can get this kind of information across the business and throughout the recruitment process – application, longlist, shortlist, interview and placement. We recognise the importance of building diverse leadership teams across the sector but of equal importance is looking at entry-level roles to ensure the diversity of the leadership teams of the future. The more accurate the data the better we can measure our impact and spot what still needs work.

Beyond this, we are also looking at staff training. Prospectus is a learning organisation and we have arranged a programme of training for staff that will cover a range of topics including writing inclusive role descriptions and inclusive shortlisting and interviewing. There will also be a workshop focussing on how we engage with our clients on issues of inclusion and diversity. We must ensure we are challenging bias, unconscious or otherwise, and this training will give our consultants the confidence to do so. We know that inclusive organisations are more successful, productive and impactful. It is also morally the right approach to take and intrinsic to our corporate values of collaboration, community and trust.

Through our inclusion project and being a signatory of the #WorkWithMe pledge our ambition is to increase diversity across our business and our sector. As mentioned, we know that 4% of our senior level placements declared a disability. In addition to this, internally 8% of our managers and 3% of the wider team have declared a disability – we want to see an increase across all of these. We will use the resources available to us through #WorkWithMe and the community around it to drive this. Together we can have an amazing impact on the diversity of our own organisations and those we support!