At One Housing we want to ensure that our recruitment processes are as accessible and inclusive as possible. We also hope to address a lack of representation of women and people from a BAME background in our senior management teams through positive action.
We engaged with training provider GGT Solutions who supported us in developing and delivering the content of the workshops.
In implementing the Rooney Rule we have been supported by our partners at REED Talent Solutions as well as other search partners.
In delivering the expectations around both we have also engaged with our hiring manager community during the roll-out of this approach to ensure their expectations and training needs are being met through the workshops that are delivered.
In redeveloping our approach to recruitment, we incorporated a focus on diversity and inclusion as a thread running throughout our recruitment practices. One key element was the launch of mandatory Unconscious Bias Awareness workshops for all hiring managers, with a specific focus on recruitment decision-making.
Through these workshops we have been able to make our hiring managers more aware of their unconscious biases and how they may impact upon hiring decisions leading to disadvantage for BAME candidates. The workshops also provided delegates with tools to adjust automatic patterns of thinking and reduce or eliminate potential discriminatory behaviours when recruiting.
In the fifteen months since the workshops launched, 236 of One Housing hiring managers have attended them, and they now form an integral part of our ongoing manager development programme.
Alongside these workshops One Housing have also adopted the ‘Rooney Rule’ when recruiting to all positions at head of department level and above. The ‘Rooney Rule’ is a form of positive action aimed at minimising the disadvantage that BAME and female candidates face when applying for leadership positions. In practice, One Housing’s adoption of the rule ensures that candidates who meet the requirements for a role and are BAME and/or female are automatically progressed to the next stage of the recruitment process. By positively increasing the representation of diverse candidates on our candidate shortlists, we have been able to increase the diversity of our colleague cohort in key leadership positions and eliminate some of the disadvantage faced by candidates in an unmodified recruitment process.
Our hiring managers participated enthusiastically in the unconscious bias workshops, with transparent and open peer discussions allowing hiring managers to honestly consider how their implicit biases can and do influence their recruitment decision making, and the disadvantage this creates an reinforces for BAME and female candidates.
Delegates to unconscious bias workshops were surveyed to understand the impact the workshops had on their approach to recruitment. Hiring managers reported an increased understanding of unconscious bias and its implications when recruiting, as well as feeing better able to identify biases and use the strategies they learned to mitigate their impact.
In the period since implementing the Rooney Rule, One Housing have initiated 28 recruitment campaigns to senior leadership positions. Application of the rule has resulted in 60 BAME and/or female candidates being automatically progressed to the next stage in the recruitment process, including to interview.
Our senior managers are becoming more representative of their wider workforce with 31% BAME representation and 45 female representation at this level of their organisation.
Our hiring managers, candidates and recruitment partners have all been engaged in ensuring the success of the initiatives we have launched. However there have been points of learning that have come to light as we refine our processes.
For example, automatic shortlisting of candidates for interview within the Rooney Rule can be challenging for managers who would otherwise have the final say on their shortlist, however we have mitigated for this by ensuring that the rationale for its application is explained in full to managers to ensure their buy-in and support.