That’s why our recent Inclusive Recruitment Review with Port Waratah Coal Services (Port Waratah) in Newcastle offers a good example of how a concerted focus on diversity and inclusion in the recruitment process can make a tangible difference.
In their recent campaign for entry-level operators, Port Waratah saw an 11 per cent increase in applicants who identify as women, and nine per cent increase for people from Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander backgrounds.
This increase resulted from changing the language in the job advertisement to be more inclusive, being overt about the importance Port Waratah places on workplace respect, disrupting unconscious bias in the assessment process, and increasing the confidence of hiring managers to consider ‘culture add’ alongside ‘culture fit’.
Port Waratah saw an 11 per cent increase in applicants who identify as women, and nine per cent increase for people from Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander backgrounds.
From strategy to reality
Port Waratah operates out of the port of Newcastle in NSW. Most people who work at Port Waratah live in the local community, in the Local Government areas of Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Maitland and Port Stephens. Attracting more women as well as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people is one of the company’s strategic intents.
The company has a Diversity & Inclusion strategy, a committee in place, has delivered unconscious bias training to all employees, and leaders, and created a suite of flexible working options (including job roles, leave types, rostering) for its people.
In January 2022, Port Waratah embarked on an Operator recruitment drive to attract people into the entry-level role. Operators are provided a comprehensive training program to perform a variety of tasks, including shiploading and communications, clean-up activities, operating mobile plant equipment and managing the plant control system.
The Operator recruitment drive provided the perfect opportunity to design and test a new approach to hiring. The first step was helping shift the thinking of hiring managers towards ‘culture fit’ and ‘culture add’ – finding people who will model the company’s core values of ‘Integrity, Excellence, Caring and Progress’, and can bring new perspectives based on their lived experience and diversity of thinking.
The Operator recruitment drive provided the perfect opportunity to design and test a new approach to hiring. The first step was helping shift the thinking of hiring managers towards ‘culture fit’ and ‘culture add’
Strengthening the focus on diversity and inclusion in job advertising
Other recommendations focused on two areas. First, following our review of the job advertisement, Port Waratah made four updates including:
- Strengthening the ‘reason to join’ messaging, focusing on the culture of respect and safety as some of the key attraction points for the company. This included a refence to the Port Waratah CEO signing the Diversity Council of Australia’s ‘I stand for respect’ pledge
- Being more explicit about seeking people who bring diversity of thinking and ideas, by ‘looking for people with diverse backgrounds and lived experiences to join our team’
- Outlining the company’s commitment to diversity
Disrupting unconscious bias in the assessment and interview process
The second set of changes focused on the assessment and interview process, including,
- Briefing the recruitment panel provider on the campaign intent and goals around diversity
- Providing hiring managers with anonymised CVs
- Ensuring gender balance in the applications, as well as the interview hiring panel members
- Being mindful about types of interview questions that could lead to affinity bias such as: “tell us more about yourself”
- Spending the same amount of time with each candidate, and asking the same set of questions in the same order.
Learn more about hiring fairly and objectively
These changes, as we can see from the experience of Port Waratah, go some way to reducing unconscious biases, including gender and cultural stereotypes, that inhibit diversity and inclusion progress in many organisations.
There are several ways we help organisations embed diversity and inclusion principles in the hiring process. We facilitate workshops called Recruiting fairly and objectively: challenging unconscious bias in recruitment for hiring managers and recruitment teams. We also run Inclusive Recruitment Reviews where we analyse job advertisements and/or your recruitment policy and practices to strengthen the focus on diversity and inclusion.