Why Inclusive Recruitment?

Iain Cuthbertson, Inclusion Worker with Quarriers explains why…

Considering that people who use services are at the receiving end of new staff, it would seem to make sense that those people are then at the centre of recruitment and selection processes.
Being involved in recruitment and selection isn’t rocket science, but that doesn’t mean that people should be bolted onto selection panels without being fully prepared, or have their views taken into consideration.

Increasing demands for recruiting panels to be as fair and open as possible to all candidates can often mean that there can be a temptation to produce more complex processes to evidence impartiality.

These processes can often challenge organisations to continue to include people, and may also serve to drive people who use services away from wishing to be part of a selection panel.

However, for years organisations have been running courses to prepare managers for the rigours of successfully conducting a recruitment process from start to finish.

Recruitment and selection is a skill that everyone needs to learn and understand in order for the process to be successful. If people who use services are also going to be involved they need to be equally well prepared.

Of course there is more than one way to skin a cat! Involving people who use services in recruitment and selection doesn’t just need to begin and end with people joining the panel.
Opportunities can arise for people to:
* Design job specifications
* Welcome and orientate candidates.
* Include family members
* Participate in pre interview assessments {mospagebreak}

One of Quarrier’s 5 key strategic aims is commitment to creating a culture of empowerment that enables the people who use our services to achieve greater choice, independence and control in all aspects of their lives. This applies to decisions on day-to-day matters such as choice of activities, operational matters such as staff selection and strategic matters such as modes of service delivery. In this way, the people who use our services will no longer see themselves as passive recipients of services, but as active partners with Quarriers in the design and delivery of those services.

In order to involve people who use services more, Quarriers has established the New Horizons Group. The New Horizons Group is a specific forum dedicated to promoting the Inclusive Recruitment agenda.

This group meets regularly to understand more about staff recruitment and also deliver their own views and opinions about how to include people who use services more in the processes. The group receives support from a Staff Development Officer, HRD Manager, Inclusion Worker and two Project Managers.

One of the ideas that the group has proposed is that some people who use services may wish to identify a member from the New Horizons Group who would participate in interviews on their behalf.
Recently the group also organised an Open Day for people who use services and Quarriers staff in order that information about good practice could be exchanged. The group plans to use this learning to develop a handbook about Inclusive Recruitment that can be distributed to every project.

The group have also contributed to creating an Inclusive Recruitment course for people who use services, that provides them with an opportunity to understand how the whole recruitment process works and how staff become employed in Quarriers.{mospagebreak}

The course runs one day a week over three weeks. This lets attendees get on with other activities and also allows time for them to process all the information.

Over the three days people are supported to look at the entire recruitment process from what a job is, to making the final decision after interview. The course covers topics such as:
* Job Descriptions
* Advertising
* Shortlisting
* Confidentiality
* Practical Arrangements
* Scoring Candidates

All participants are encouraged to have the support of a worker throughout the course in order that information is shared within the service.

The training programme has already begun to equip people with the skills and confidence to formally take part in the entire recruitment and selection process.

However not everyone may wish to be so heavily involved in recruitment training or would feel

comfortable as part of a traditional panel.
Some people may prefer to engage with candidates differently and the challenge facing organisations is to ensure that people remain central in the decision process.

One way we worked on this challenge was to meet with Esther who uses one of the services at Quarriers.

Prior to this, Esther normally met with candidates for a short period and would give her opinion informally to the chair of the panel. However it was not always easy to evidence that Esther had participated in the choice of candidate and that her choice was an informed one.

After spending time with Esther and her staff we were able to build on the time she formally engaged with candidates and to also develop a graphic score sheet that was individually tailored for her to assess each candidate’s merits.{mospagebreak}

The score sheet was used to gauge the levels of interaction that Esther felt she enjoyed with each candidate throughout their time together.

We were then able to include this scoring sheet along with the other paperwork from the panel.
Inclusive recruitment has many benefits for organisations and individuals. Through collaboration we are able to share a wider picture of what we each understand about support and how it can be delivered more successfully.

The primary benefits for the organisation are that, as well as becoming more vigorous and dynamic, our recruitment processes become more focussed towards what the person we support wants from us. In short–customer satisfaction.

Inclusive Recruitment also immediately sends the message to new staff that the people we support are at the centre of what we do, and from the very onset this shows a commitment to the values we wish our employees to share.

Finally, encouraging people who traditionally have been disempowered to take on more ownership of their own service, enables them to develop their own sense of confidence and self esteem.

Our vision is for the people who use our services to overcome their disadvantages, become active and valued participants in the community and liberate their potential as confident and independent men and women. To this end, Quarriers is committed to creating a culture of empowerment where the people we support are enabled to make choices, decisions and take control of their own lives – just like anyone else.