The Inclusive Workforce

Date: 25 May, 2023

On 25th May 2023, Nétive VMS together with APSCo Outsource hosted the  webinar – The Inclusive Workforce | Enabling Diversity & Inclusion in the Staffing Industry. We discussed how to tackle inequality in recruitment and selection, as well as in the workplace.

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On 25th May 2023, Nétive VMS together with APSCo Outsource hosted the  webinar – The Inclusive Workforce | Enabling Diversity & Inclusion in the Staffing Industry. We discussed how to tackle inequality in recruitment and selection, as well as in the workplace.

We were joined by Melanie Forbes, APSCo OutSource Managing Director and Liz Johnson, Managing Director – The Ability People and Paralympic Gold Medalist. Also Narada Bouwland, Marketing Advisor, and Mark Jones, Senior Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Manager – Randstad UK&I, joined us to discuss this important topic and share their practical experience.

Read the highlights from the webinar:

Look at the numbers

Organisations with active diversity and inclusion (D&I) policies are proven to become more effective, successful and profitable (McKinsey research). Moreover, inclusive companies are 1.7 times more likely to be innovative, 2.3 times more cash flow per employee. And not only that. Because teams with ethnic, cultural and gender diversity often outperform organisations without diversity. An inclusive organisation also improves employee satisfaction, leading to higher retention rates.

The barriers

Barriers to diversity and inclusion often stem from a lack of prioritisation and understanding.

Organisations should focus on solutions and ways forward rather than just discussing the problems.

Creating an inclusive workforce

For a diverse and inclusive workplace, the organisation’s goals, values and culture need to be aligned to create positive employee experiences. Well-designed recruitment processes can help, allowing diverse individuals to present themselves comfortably.

Creating an inclusive environment is the responsibility of everyone, not just recruiters or management. It requires aligning the brand’s value proposition with the employee’s value proposition.

Great place to work

What if we look at the impact on the individual person? Richly documented Great Place to Work research shows that at inclusive organisations, people are 10 times more likely to look forward to going to work. And that they are 6 times more likely to take pride in their work. They are 5 times more likely to stay with their company for a long time. So the concept of employee retention is really deeply embedded in all this. The data shows very clearly that companies with teams that are ethnically, culturally and gender diverse perform better.

Prioritising diversity and inclusion

Liz: ‘I think interactions start from good will and good intentions. Because we all know that by 2023, no matter what demographics we are talking about, diversity should not be a barrier. Despite the best intentions, one of the biggest barriers is lack of priority. 

But when it is on the radar, we are happy to offer support in all different areas.

Whether we are looking at recruitment processes, environments, or broadly helping people choosing the right language or helping them see what they should and should not do. I believe that historically, people are very afraid of doing something wrong. And then safely choose to do nothing. That is why it is good to actively look for solutions and improvements. With each other and without judgement.’

Sense of urgency

Narada: ‘Lack of urgency may have a correlation with economic prosperity? If an organisation is doing well, including recruitment, there is little urgency to take up the issue. Unless it is related to the organisation’s purpose or values. This is why I believe it should be embedded deeper in the organisation than HR policy. Personally, I also look at organisations that are intrinsically motivated to take up the topic.’

Culture you create together

Mark: ‘Sometimes the brand value proposition from a talent and attraction perspective, why people come to work at the company, is really polished. But you can’t polish the culture of a company, it is what it is. And that culture is not just about attracting talent. It is also about talent retention, promotion, equal opportunities. Equal opportunities for every individual, even, maybe especially, when there are 16,000 people working in an organisation. Not easy, but very important to do, to make sure people feel seen, heard, respected and part of that culture. They create the culture.’

Unconscious barriers

Liz: ‘Sometimes no one is really aware of the barriers that exist because they don’t experience them themselves. We are trained to make good eye contact, sit up straight, open your body, use words that demonstrate your knowledge. But not everyone can’t present themselves that way for whatever reason. So we train recruiters to understand that there is more than one way to establish what is possible.’


Taking steps forward on Diversity and Inclusion comes down to the value proposition of the brand, the value proposition of the employee. You can hire as many people with different characteristics as you want. But if you don’t create the environment in their daily lives where they stay, that they feel valued, that they get promoted, that they have an environment or a company that cares about them and values them, then they won’t stay. Create an environment where everyone feels seen, heard, respected and part of that culture. A diverse and inclusive culture.