The First Hurdle

Workplace Equality, Diversity & Inclusion


Arguably the biggest barrier to achieving a diverse, inclusive, and equitable organisation is the first barrier, Recruitment. If you’ve never run the race before it is totally natural to fall at the first hurdle, but what you must do to put this right, is work hard, train hard, analyse your weaknesses and develop your strengths.

If this is a 110 metre Olympic hurdle race, maybe we will come back to hurdles 2-10 in future articles but for now let’s focus on hurdle 1, recruitment and specifically the collection of Diversity Data and how it is used. It is fair to assume that most people, when looking for a job or considering joining a new company expect or hope that the company will be a fair and diverse one. So the racing conditions must be good enough for the runners to compete in, the weather, the audience, the running track, the height of the hurdles and the starting blocks.

The Starting Blocks

“Oh, I forgot about the starting blocks, do they really make a difference to the success rate of getting over the first hurdle?”

If Recruitment is the first hurdle then the starting blocks are the existing culture and values of the company, you must do a temperature check on this before you settle into the blocks or there will be an inevitable false start. A cultural survey and testimonials from a few of your existing employees would be great preparation, a badge of honour that you can wear with pride.

Ok ,so the survey results come back from your existing staff and they are good, you’re out of the blocks and ready to start recruiting, confident in the knowledge that you are starting from a position of strength, but to get over that first hurdle you must continue to collect the data; this time, recruitment data.

The Sprint to the First Hurdle

But what if people don’t want to disclose who they are, where they’re from or what they believe in? Historically, the disclosure rates from minority or underrepresented groups have been shockingly low for many organisations but it really is a case of ‘I’ll show you mine, if you show me yours’. If you’ve conducted a cultural survey and you’re wearing your badge with pride, then your talent attraction success and in turn, your early engagement levels, from your diverse talent pool will be high.

You now have honest and accurate data from both your existing employees and the larger than normal, diverse talent pool that you are fishing from. The data you have collected at the starting blocks and approaching the first hurdle will be invaluable to you and your organisation when building a diverse, equitable and inclusive organisation that allows your people to not only survive, but to flourish, thrive and come to work everyday as their authentic self.

Over the first and on to the next!

So, there you have it, you’re first out the blocks and you’ve set yourself up to clear the first hurdle with an advantage over your competitor. BUT don’t lose focus, keep looking forward, keep your eyes on the prize, each hurdle comes with its own challenges, but the finish line is in sight.


Please connect with me and follow Williams Kent to be kept updated about future events, webinars and of course if you have any HR, Reward or D&I recruitment then we will be happy to help.

Kevin O’Brien – Founder of Williams Kent


Tags: , , , , , , Categories: Employee, Employer, HR

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