Last week I was honoured to talk at the IPG’s Spring Conference about diversity. We had chaired a panel on the same subject at The London Book Fair in March, and I wanted to bring a really practical approach to the Conference that gave IPG members ideas to take away and develop further. It felt like we could have talked for a lot longer on the topic—but for now, here are ten tips to help get you started on the path to improved diversity.
1 Collect all your diversity data so you have a starting point.
2 Create an inclusivity policy and strategy once you have identified areas of improvement.
3 Take time to understand your biases and how they affect your behaviour. This free test
from Harvard University is a good way to uncover your unconscious bias.
4 When recruiting, make sure your interview panel is representative enough to challenge your bias, taking into account factors like educational background, age and ethnicity. If you are a small business, perhaps ask a mentor to sit in.
5 Trial blind recruitment. You can do this for free by using Survey Monkey
6 Internally, create a safe space for your team and encourage a culture where we challenge non-inclusive behaviour and support inclusive behaviour.
7 Develop a mentoring scheme and consider reverse mentoring.
8 Consider hiring apprentices or employing interns.
9 Provide flexible or agile working and create a policy for it.
10 Make sure diversity and inclusion are on your board’s agenda and in your company strategy, so you can revisit progress every time you meet.
Follow these steps and you will start to see a difference in your business for the better. The danger of doing nothing is that your business will start standing out for the wrong reasons. Publishing professionals moving jobs today are researching deeper into the mission and values of a business, and factors like diversity, inclusion, sustainability, culture, flexibility and career development are all important if you are to attract the best talent. This cannot be simply a box-ticking exercise, so do please take this practical advice back to your business, and perhaps appoint some diversity champions who can help put it at the heart of your organisation.
As discussed at the Spring Conference, it is also worth noting that The Book Trade Charity
can provide financial support to candidates who would not otherwise have the means to attend interviews, covering costs such as travel, hotels and even clothes. This is a brilliant scheme, and we pledged on our panel session to promote it alongside all entry-level roles in the future.