• Estimated read time: 5 mins
  • Date posted:04/11/2019
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Many organisations are beginning to recognise the advantages of having a diverse workforce; it allows employees from different backgrounds and experience levels to collaborate with one another, helping to drive profit and growth. Despite this, some life science organisations still struggle to hire diverse leaders. If you’re hoping to win over diverse, top talent in the life science industry, then it’s of paramount importance that you have a robust employer brand that showcases your organisations’ diversity.

According to LinkedIn, 77% of talent acquisition managers believe that their employer brand has a significant impact on their ability to hire the best talent. Furthermore, PwC reported that 87% of global workforces recognise that diversity and inclusivity are of high value or a priority to their business. Yet, putting this into practice can be harder than it appears. Are unconscious biases coming into play? Or are diverse leaders simply not applying to your advertised positions?

Employer brand gives organisations the opportunity to demonstrate to high-impact talent why their organisation is a great place to work, and can attract diverse life science leaders if deployed successfully.

What is an employer brand?

An employer brand is essentially the reputation of your organisation as an employer. It demonstrates to candidates what your organisation would offer to them if they were successful in their application – the benefits, opportunities and rewards they would receive in return for their hard work. It gives them an idea of what it would be like to work at your organisation and whether they would be a good cultural fit. The reality is, satisfied employees are your greatest ambassadors; if they live and breath your employer brand and shout it from the rooftops, then your name will get out there and you will attract top talent like a magnet.

Why must your employer brand be diverse?

Diversity is about acknowledging that individuals may be different in terms of gender, age, ethnicity, religion, disability, education and national origin, but respecting them nonetheless. Mutual respect will empower your employees and gives them equal opportunity to excel in the workplace. When diverse employees are represented in your organisation, this will help to create a more appealing employer brand. Candidates from marginalised communities will believe that they have equal opportunity to land the position, resulting in more applications from qualified candidates that might have otherwise gone unnoticed.

What are the benefits of a diverse and inclusive employer brand?

Aside from creating an attractive employer brand, a diverse workforce is a competitive advantage:

  1. Diverse teams tend to deliver better results: With a wide range of different personalities, employees will be able to bounce ideas off one another and learn from their colleagues’ different experiences and backgrounds. Diverse individuals will approach different scenarios in different ways, driving innovation and creativity.
  2. Talent acquisition: 80% of participants take into consideration an organisation’s stance on diversity before they submit an application. If your organisation’s employer brand doesn’t exhibit diversity, then you jeopardise alienating perfectly qualified candidates. Your employer brand can also make the hiring process more efficient; it will be easier to find, engage and win over the best talent if they all want to work for you.
  3. Creating authenticity: A transparent employer brand that showcases who you really are as an organisation and what your values stand for is vital in building trust with prospective candidates. Your workforce should match your customer demographics, otherwise, they will fail to represent the people they serve, which risks creating disconnect between business and patient. Authenticity will help to strengthen your brand in the eyes of your stakeholders too.

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How do you diversify your employer brand?

Ultimately an attractive employer brand that engages and inspires diverse life science leaders is a smarter way to do business. Below are some ways in which you can diversify your employer brand:

  1. Update your mission statement: Your mission statement should encompass your values. These are the guiding principles that define your organisation and the way in which it operates. From a candidate’s perspective, they represent what the organisation stands for and its priorities; if you’re hoping to attract diverse leaders, then you should incorporate diversity into your mission statement. This should be at the heart of your organisation.
  2. Evaluate your hiring process: As mentioned earlier, unconscious biases can infiltrate the hiring process. It’s worth identifying ways you can optimise your senior-level recruitment process, specifically looking at how you source new candidates, assess, interview and offer the best candidate the position. Use one of the last roles you advertised as a case study to establish whether any problems exist; perhaps you’re effective at ensuring there are diverse candidates in the first stage interviews, but they’re significantly dropping off in the second stage interviews.
  3. Set a diversity hiring goal: Set a realistic goal that adheres to SMART principles (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely). Make sure that your diversity hiring goal is achievable; it isn’t plausible for transformations to happen overnight. Communicate your goal to your hiring managers so that they are informed of the change and are motivated to accomplish the goal. If you know that your workforce is comprised of significantly more males than females, perhaps you could focus your attention on tackling gender inequality. Set yourself a target number of female hires that you want to achieve by the end of the year, but ensure this objective is achievable
  4. Re-evaluate initiatives and programs: An organisation’s initiatives and programs can be highly attractive to candidates. Ensure that your healthcare plans are favourable and affordable to people with disabilities, families or for senior workers. Avoid penalising members of staff who can’t commit to long hours in the office; offer them flexible working hours or work from home days. Discarding hard-working employees simply because they have other commitments to fit in around work is counterproductive. Additionally, evaluate your holiday policy and allow employees to take time off for national or religious holidays.
  5. Implement diversity training for your employees: Don’t forget about your existing employees. Communicate the importance of having a diverse workforce, making sure that they all feel included and respected for their identities. You could arrange workshops or training sessions to further educate them and avoid discrimination in the workplace.

How do you attract diverse candidates?

You’ve made all the necessary changes to strengthen your employer brand with the intention of attracting diverse leaders, but just how do you do that? Here are some tips:

  1. Familiarise yourself with diversity hiring goals: Discuss with members of your team (or HR for hiring managers) what diversity goals you want to achieve and then create a game plan. Create a realistic timescale and don’t be afraid to share the responsibilities with those around you.
  2. Ensure key candidate touchpoints reflect diversity: Look at your website and assess how well it highlights your stance on diversity and inclusivity. Rather than using stock photos on your website, upload photos of your real team, especially if they are distinctly diverse. Additionally, assign space on your website for employee testimonials that demonstrate why your organisation is a great place to work. If you made any significant changes to your mission statement, remember to update this across your website and candidate touchpoints. Alter your job adverts to include your stance on diversity and declare that you’re an equal rights employer. By clearly outlining that you don’t discriminate based on gender, age, ethnicity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, education and national origin, diverse life science leaders will be more likely to apply.
  3. Recruit from diverse talent pools: You should start proactively headhunting diverse, life science leaders by widening your talent pool. Ask your existing employees for referrals from their networks so that you can pursue different identities to who you may have targeted previously.

 

By following all of these tips, you will be better equipped to attracting diverse, life science leaders.


For more hiring advice tailored to hiring managers in the life science industry…

* Fraser Dove International is a specialist executive search firm operating exclusively in the Life Science industry. Passionate about people, we take pride in helping exceptional life science organisations source the talent they need to design, manufacture and distribute life-changing drugs, treatments and devices which transform and save patient lives.