Ask anyone what they love about working in travel and hospitality and they’ll mention at least one of the following: ‘meeting diverse people’, ‘exploring different cultures’, or ‘feeling part of a team’. Equity, diversity and inclusion is part of what makes our industry great.
But true ED&I isn’t just a feeling: successful ED&I results from strategy and accountability. According to PwC, 80% of companies in the hospitality, travel and leisure sector have a D&I strategy in place. But dig a little deeper and it’s clear we have some way to go. Because, while all of the companies surveyed covered gender in their strategy, less than half (41%) cover LGBTQ+ issues, only 24% cover BAME and disability, and just 18% cover age and social mobility.
Added to that, only 25% of companies have appointed someone to lead the D&I agenda – and, let’s be real, we all know leaderless projects flop. Meanwhile, just a third of companies have access to the right internal data on diversity – but without metrics, how do we measure improvement? Most interestingly (for recruitment nerds like us, at least), a mere 28% of companies have embedded D&I in their hiring processes.
Whether you’ve got a strategy that could be improved, or you’re part of the 20% who haven’t yet pulled their finger from within their nether regions and got cracking (ahem), here’s why it’s worth the effort when it comes to recruiting.
Show you care about ED&I to strengthen your employer brand
In a survey by Deloitte, 80% of people said inclusion efforts were an important factor when choosing an employer, squashing the misconception that it’s only underrepresented groups who care about ED&I.
“Devising a comprehensive ED&I strategy helps you to appeal to as wide an audience as possible, demonstrates that you are listening and that you care, provides access to the broadest pool of candidates when it comes to recruitment, creates loyalty among your existing employees – the list goes on!” says Aby Hawker (she/her), Founder and CEO of TransMission PR.
But beware social-washing: “Don’t do it for the brownie points,” says Aby. “Do it because it matters to you as an organisation and because you want to do better. The benefits of communicating authentically with a diverse audience will follow.”
Publicise your ED&I strategy to attract applications from underrepresented groups
Publicly committing to an ED&I strategy could encourage applications from underrepresented groups, who are more likely to trust that your business is a safe, nurturing place for them to work and thrive. Make sure you’re transparent about your ED&I goals and achievements – we’re talking stats and figures, not wishy-washy statements – to gain candidates’ trust and prove you’re not just paying lip service.
Leave breadcrumbs throughout your comms to let people know your business is an inclusive place to work – our guide to inclusive language in recruiting is a good place to start.
Provide unconscious bias training to prevent talent being overlooked
Making unconscious bias training a must for anyone involved in the recruitment process – in fact, we strongly recommend it for your whole team – helps ensure everyone who qualifies for a role is given a fair chance, rather than being overlooked because of their gender, age, race, sexual orientation, ability, or anything else that isn’t relevant to the job description.
Go one step further and reduce opportunities for unconscious bias from your application and interview process by removing names and other identifying information from CVs, and standardising your questions. Your shortlist will be shinier for it, we promise.
Partner with ED&I-focused organisations to grow your talent pool
Organisations like Saira Hospitality and Fat Macy’s provide hospitality training for underprivileged groups, giving you access to a wealth of untapped talent, while improving people’s lives. It’s a win-win.
Similarly, if you need help designing your ED&I strategy – including how it relates to your recruitment process – reach out to the experts. “There’s no reason for businesses not to have one considering how many organisations there are out there to support brands with creating and rolling these strategies out,” says Olajide Alabi (he/him), co-founder of equality, equity and inclusion consultancy SISU.
Commit to ED&I to increase employee retention
Now, we shouldn’t say this because it does kind of put us out of a job. But the easiest recruitment is no recruitment – right?
“More than ever, consumers want to feel seen by the brands with which they interact. ED&I enables you to explore and truly understand your audiences so that you can speak to them in a way that resonates, allowing them to form a deeper connection with your products and services and creating loyalty rather than just a transactional relationship,” says Aby. “This applies to all stakeholders – from employees to suppliers to service users.”
With more than two thirds of people saying that they’d look for a new job if their employer didn’t prioritise ED&I, devising (and committing to) an ED&I strategy could help you keep hold of the talent you’ve already invested in, saving you time and money in the long run.
So, what's the most important consideration when creating an ED&I strategy? “You must communicate with your teams and find out what they really need,” advises Olajide. “Ensure you’re getting a diverse spectrum of voices before making decisions – this is the basic foundation before beginning your ED&I journey.”
“Start with a review of where you are now and where you want to get to – and, most importantly, why this matters to you as an organisation,” adds Aby. “Then do the work and bring everyone along on the journey. This is not a quick fix, for it to have a lasting impact organisational change has to become part of your organisation’s DNA.”
Any final words of advice? “Go into it with an open mind and be comfortable with not knowing what you’re going to be faced with,” says Alibi. “Lean into your vulnerability and be brave.” Now that’s a sentiment we can get on board with.
As for recruitment advice right now? Well we'll leave you to the team to give you their best advice for hiring managers below: