Q&A with Joseph Williams, Co Founder and CEO at Clu
- What started Joseph’s journey as a LGBT ally and entrepreneur?
Joseph Williams is an LGBT+ community hero doing with invincible determination and courage including supporting those within the LGBT community who have been erased, ignored, and discriminated against because of their disabilities. As a campaigner, he has been fighting for more democratic systems for almost two decades. As a professional, he has spent his career creating digital interventions that reinvent the full recruitment experience for the user. The organisation he is building at Clu is a meeting of these two worlds.
He set up his inclusive hiring platform Clu in 2021 after experiencing discrimination in the workplace based on his own sexual orientation and didn't want others to experience the same barriers in the workplace that he did.
He is also the Co-Founder & Executive Director of ParaPride, the UK's first official charity focussing on the connection between the disabled and LGBT+ communities. ParaPride claims that as many as 40% of LGBTQ+ people are recognised as having a disability, including mental health conditions, sensory or physical impairments, or a chronic health condition.
- What is inclusive recruitment?
Inclusive recruitment is about matching the best people to the right roles for them, regardless of their age, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, or other characteristics that may have traditionally been underrepresented or marginalised in the workforce. It involves creating a fair and unbiased hiring process that embraces and values the unique perspectives, experiences, and talents that individuals from diverse backgrounds bring to the table.
Inclusive recruitment goes beyond simply avoiding discrimination or meeting diversity quotas. It aims to create a workplace that fosters equal opportunities, where all candidates are assessed based on their skills, qualifications, and potential to contribute to the organisation's success. By embracing inclusive recruitment practices, companies can build diverse teams that reflect the communities they serve, enhance creativity and innovation, improve decision-making, and drive better business outcomes.
- What is your advice to companies wanting to have more inclusive recruitment processes? What are the fair processes when recruiting?
The key principles of inclusive recruitment include:
- Removing bias: Taking steps to minimise unconscious biases during the recruitment process, such as using standardised assessments and structured interviews that focus on job-related skills and qualifications. Using sophisticated AI to drive recruitment processes rather than human lead processes that can lead to innate biases is a key process and shows that inclusive recruitment needs to start at the very start of the recruitment journey,
- Expanding candidate pools: Actively seeking candidates from a wide range of sources, including diverse professional networks, minority-focused job boards, community organisations, and educational institutions that serve underrepresented groups.
- Language and job descriptions: Ensuring job descriptions and recruitment materials use inclusive language and avoid gendered or biased language that may deter certain candidates from applying.
- Diverse interview panels: Including diverse interviewers in the selection process to provide different perspectives and reduce bias.
- Flexible hiring practices: Offering flexible work arrangements, such as remote work options or alternative schedules, to accommodate candidates' diverse needs and circumstances.
- Employee resource groups: Establishing employee resource groups or affinity networks to provide support, networking, and mentorship opportunities for underrepresented employees and candidates.
- Training and education: Providing diversity and inclusion training to hiring managers and interviewers to raise awareness of biases, promote inclusive behaviors, and enhance understanding of the value of diversity in the workplace.
Of course, our ultimate recommendation is to use an ethical AI rec-tech platform such as Clu which matches candidates to roles they would be great at, irrelevant of their background. For inclusive hiring platforms to work, they need to be based on unbiased, evolving data sets and smart data analysis.
By embracing inclusive recruitment practices, organisations can attract a wider pool of qualified candidates, create a more inclusive and welcoming work environment, and ultimately build stronger, more innovative teams that drive success and growth.
- What are the benefits of a diverse workforce?
A diverse workforce brings numerous benefits including:
- Increased creativity and innovation: Different backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences foster a rich pool of ideas and creative problem-solving approaches. A diverse workforce encourages fresh thinking, stimulates innovation, and promotes the development of unique solutions.
- Enhanced decision-making: Diversity brings together a variety of viewpoints and insights, leading to well-rounded decision-making. Diverse teams can consider multiple angles, challenge assumptions, and make more informed choices, ultimately improving the quality and effectiveness of decision-making processes.
- Broader range of skills and expertise: A diverse workforce encompasses individuals with a wide array of skills, knowledge, and expertise. This diversity of talents enables organisations to tap into a broader skill set, facilitating growth, adaptability, and competitiveness.
- Expanded market reach: With a diverse workforce, organisations can better understand and connect with a diverse customer base. Employees from different backgrounds bring cultural competence and insights that help develop products, services, and marketing strategies that resonate with a broader range of customers.
- Improved problem-solving and teamwork: Diversity fosters a culture of collaboration and encourages individuals to leverage their unique strengths and perspectives. This leads to more effective problem-solving and better teamwork, as teams are exposed to a variety of approaches and can draw upon different experiences and expertise.
- Enhanced employee engagement and retention: Inclusive workplaces that value diversity create a sense of belonging and psychological safety, leading to higher levels of employee engagement and satisfaction. Employees are more likely to stay with organisations that embrace and appreciate their diverse backgrounds, contributing to improved employee retention rates.
- Better organisational performance: Research consistently shows that diverse companies outperform their peers in terms of financial performance and productivity. The combination of diverse perspectives, improved decision-making, and increased innovation contributes to better overall organisational performance and long-term success.
- Reputation and brand enhancement: Companies that prioritise diversity and inclusion build a positive reputation, both internally and externally. They become employers of choice, attracting top talent from diverse backgrounds and demonstrating a commitment to social responsibility and equality.
It's important to note that realizing the benefits of diversity requires inclusive practices and an environment where all employees feel valued and empowered. Companies must actively promote diversity and create inclusive policies, programs, and leadership practices to leverage the full potential of a diverse workforce.
- How can people encourage diversity in the workplace?
Encouraging diversity in the workplace is essential for creating an inclusive and thriving environment. Here are several ways individuals can promote and support diversity:
- Educate yourself: Take the initiative to educate yourself about different cultures, backgrounds, and perspectives. Read books, articles, and research on diversity and inclusion topics. Attend workshops, webinars, or diversity training programs to enhance your understanding and awareness.
- Challenge biases and stereotypes: Examine your own biases and assumptions. Be aware of stereotypes and actively challenge them. Embrace the concept that diversity includes not just visible differences but also diverse perspectives, ideas, and experiences.
- Foster an inclusive mindset: Cultivate an inclusive mindset by valuing and respecting differences. Embrace the belief that diversity enriches the workplace and leads to better outcomes. Actively seek out opportunities to collaborate with colleagues from different backgrounds and perspectives.
- Be an ally: Stand up as an ally for marginalised individuals and underrepresented groups. Speak out against discrimination, bias, or exclusionary behavior. Use your privilege and influence to support and amplify diverse voices.
- Create a welcoming environment: Ensure that your actions and language contribute to a welcoming and inclusive workplace. Use inclusive language, respect preferred pronouns, and avoid making assumptions about others. Foster a culture where everyone feels safe, heard, and valued.
- Actively listen: Practice active listening when engaging with colleagues from diverse backgrounds. Seek to understand their perspectives, experiences, and concerns. Ask open-ended questions and be receptive to learning from others.
- Support diversity initiatives: Engage in diversity initiatives and employee resource groups. Participate in events, discussions, or activities that promote diversity and inclusion. Volunteer to be part of diversity committees or task forces within your organization.
- Mentor and sponsor: Offer mentorship or sponsorship opportunities to individuals from underrepresented groups. Help them develop their skills, navigate their careers, and access opportunities. Advocate for their advancement and visibility within the organisation.
- Encourage diverse perspectives: Encourage diverse perspectives and voices to be heard in meetings and decision-making processes. Create an environment where individuals feel comfortable sharing their ideas and opinions without fear of judgment or retribution.
- Continuous learning and improvement: Commit to continuous learning and improvement regarding diversity and inclusion. Stay informed about current issues, trends, and best practices. Be open to feedback and be willing to adjust your behaviors and attitudes accordingly.
Remember, promoting diversity is an ongoing effort that requires commitment, empathy, and a willingness to challenge the status quo. By taking proactive steps, individuals can play a crucial role in fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace culture.
Joseph Williams is the Co-Founder and CEO of inclusive hiring platform Clu. He is passionate about social education, democracy and the power of digital in elevating both.
As a campaigner, he has been fighting for more democratic systems for almost two decades. As a professional, he has spent his career creating digital interventions that reinvent the full recruitment experience for the user. The organisation he is building at Clu is a meeting of these two worlds.
Clu is on a mission to make the working world work for everyone. The ethical AI company is improving the accuracy, experience and inclusion of job applications for everyone. After years of being overlooked for jobs the Founders knew they would be great at, they decided to create a hiring process that elevated everyone for the talent and skills they have, regardless of where they developed them.
Through Clu, Joseph wants to create the biggest social mobility intervention of our time and open up the world of work to everyone.
See his LinkedIn profile here.