UNBOXED – How to unlock inclusive talent marketing [video]

Watch our event on the impact of DE&I communications on talent attraction. 

  • 1 minute read
  • DE&I

In this session, ThirtyThree experts discuss the importance of inclusive communications and reveal new research on how DE&I content influences candidate decision-making. 

Achieve your DE&I goals faster – read more about our Inclusive Communications Audit.


Amanda Faull  01:06 

Hello, everyone. Welcome to Unboxed. This is a 33 event series, where we unpack all things D&I and employer branding. I can see people are already starting to say hello in the chat. So yes, great to know that people are here. I'm Amanda Faull. I'm the D&I Communication Specialist at 33. And I have a particular interest in the impact of inclusive communications on candidates and employee engagement, which as you can see from our title is something we're talking about today, how our creative and design choices, impact perceptions of your brand, particularly for marginalised groups, and the practical ways to leverage your website and social channels to tell your D&I story and become an employer of choice.  

Amanda Faull  01:55 

I know people are probably still joining. So while you're all introducing yourselves and coming online, I'm going to throw out a poll, just to get us warmed up. And for me to know a little bit more about you and kind of what your challenges are this year, as this is very close to the start of the year, we'd love to know. It's great to see lots of people coming in your biggest D&I challenge this year, I could only put four options. That's all it allows me. But these are some top issues that we tend to see from clients. So is it attracting diverse applicants? Is it telling the right stories or you know, understanding what content you should be talking about and I do have limited source resources or budget? Or have you done lots of things in the past, but you've seen low engagement, and you're not quite sure why. So if you can see the poll, it's somewhere near the chat. I'll give you a few moments. And then we'll close it. Okay. might close the poll? And let's see, what have you said, Okay, top two things, talent attraction, and telling the right stories, maybe not being sure about what you're talking about little less on resources, which is good to know means we've got some buddies play with, and again, kind of engagement. So storytelling, one, I think surprised me, which, today, when I show you what we're talking about, we should cover that.  

Amanda Faull  03:40 

We've got a lot, we've got quite a big agenda today. And so I think we can close the poll. You'll be hearing a lot from my colleagues across 33. You'll be hearing from me first I mentioned, I've got an interest inclusive communication. So I'll talk a little bit about how that shows up in our space. Then we're launching some research today. My colleague, Ali will be on to talk about a survey we conducted at the end of last year looking at the impact of D&I comms and candidate choices, then my colleague, Eleni will come on to talk about how to audit your talent marketing. And we'll have a discussion after with a panel, talking about how you bring all of this to life. So again, that kind of comment about storytelling. I think we'll take a lot of that as you go through the day, and then I'll come back on you'll hear from me one last time to wrap up the session with just some final thoughts and observations. So hopefully, you've managed to join and I'll just kick off because you've got, like I said, a big agenda. So just some understanding about why in marketing and branding, we need to care about inclusive combs, and how we can start designing from inclusion first.  

Amanda Faull  04:56 

Now I know the audience mostly you're from employer branding, talented acquisition. So, as you know, your job is to convince candidates, why they should choose your company over anyone else. And now thanks to the digital age, there are more ways than ever to get this message across and to wider audiences. So whether you're communicating through your website, blogs, videos, imagery, social media, this content must speak to inclusivity. Because with this extended reach across multiple channels, you're now likely to be reaching audiences that are traditionally underserved in recruitment, marketing. And when we don't factor in inclusion, there are more risks of alienating this portion of the population and your potential talent pool. Just because I just saw someone asked how long the session is sorry, my bad, we will finish at four o'clock. So on the nose, we don't usually run over. So thinking about, you know, how do we avoid alienating our audiences? It's important for us to first remember as employers that our word choices are visuals, our designs, and the stories we tell have the power to shape attitudes about shape people's attitudes about themselves and about people who are different from them. So these small decisions can really have a large impact. And One survey found from Ipsos MORI, that 76% of people do believe that advertising has this power to influence how people see each other. And when when we make design choices, it also communicates whether we've considered the needs of disabled people, those who have neurological or physical impairments that make it difficult, or impossible to equally access, navigate, or engage with your content or website. Just to put this in context, there's approximately 16 million Pete disabled people in the UK, and this represents 24% of the population. As a group, disabled people, as you can see are a huge part of your potential audience. However, one study found that 97% of business web pages didn't fully meet website accessibility, Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. That's like inviting someone to your office, but not, they're not being able to get through the front door. So again, if you're not considering inclusion, you're not considering the needs of different audiences, you can't be sure that they have equal access to what you're producing.  

Amanda Faull  07:41 

And just to touch briefly on accessibility, to better understand the issues faced by disabled people, you have to understand how they access and use your websites. And that's being aware of the five different groups of disabled people. That's those with blindness and low vision, deafness, and hearing loss, limited movement, speech disabilities, neurological and cognitive limitations. And in our world, and marketing and branding, we have three main things to consider. Is our text readable? Are our visuals understandable? And are they into are the interactive elements usable. So just to give an example, for someone who has no or low vision, using a mouse would be quite problematic for them, because they can't see where the mouse the cursor is on the webpage. Or if they've got any kind of physical tremors or issues with using their hands. They need to rely on keyboard only navigation or assistive technology, like screen readers to be able to read the contents of the website aloud. So again, it needs to be thought through that How are people using your website? How are they engaging with your content? And are you ensuring that these groups of people haven't been forgotten? And again, I saw another question, will there be a copy of the presentation, this is being recorded, so we will share it after the event. So the challenge for us as creatives combs designers is to think universally, to not be content with catering to just most or some, because what might look good to some will be inaccessible to others. So this example to the left, very common what we do in employer branding websites, you'll see an image from a colleague, there might be a testimonial, there might be some key information about a job. And as you can see, on one side, it's very hard to read the contrast between the text and the background is very light. And if you had considered the needs of somebody who can't see very well, you would dark in the background to make sure that this is legible. But also you would see that this is better for everyone. It's more clearer. So these are really basic examples of how this shows up in our everyday work. And there's many more, which I don't have time to go into today.  

Amanda Faull  10:10 

But I'd also like to expand this definition of access beyond disability, for us to think about those who lack access and other ways. You've probably heard it's hard to be what you cannot see. So there's, for some part marginalised groups. There's a lack of exposure to careers such as engineering, law stem. And what happens is, often people from these groups internalise that if I don't see people like me, it's probably not for me. And there's studies after studies that show the serious impact on self esteem while being identity formation. And of course, the long lasting impact is around education and career choices. 

Amanda Faull  10:56 

A major study from Google in 2022, which surveyed more than 10,000 British people examining identity and how this impacts their viewing behaviour, asked about their attitudes across the major TV brands. Not just TV, media brands, BBC, ITV, Amazon, Netflix, Instagram, Tik Tok YouTube. And they found that across those 10,000 people, less than half reported feeling proud, represented, noticed, understood or included in the content they watched. So how does this relate to employer branding or employment? We need to ask ourselves, how are we challenging this in our marketing? Is representation intentional? Does our content reflect our audience's thinking about when you're doing a photo shoot, or a video shoot or interviewing colleagues? When you think about, okay, we want you to feature someone with a disability. Do you only go think about a wheelchair? Are you embracing people with gender different identity, gender identities? Are you showing people with darker skin tones, hairstyles, textures, representing race along other intersections? So if less than 50% of the UK population, don't see themselves in the media? Is there something we can do in our industry to surprise them is there imagine if there was a career ad, or a website that featured stories of someone like them.  

Amanda Faull  12:35 

And my final kind of issue that we should be considering is, representation is not enough if it reinforces stereotypes, stereotypes of the belief that most members of a group have some characteristic, such as all women are nurturing, and all men like football. This again crops up a lot when you think about campaigns and, and creative choices. And this image I've included his home group, Google's marketing team, because they recognised this trap. They designed these posters for their creative team, to remind them to check themselves, have they gone for the obvious choice? How can they challenge those stereotypes. And similar to representation, the consequence of stereotypes is that this can lead to negative associations about one's group can reinforce stereotypical ideas. And ultimately can lower self esteem, self confidence, and for a candidate, it can reduce their performance in job applications and interviews.  

Amanda Faull  13:39 

So how do we move forward? You know, I've talked a lot about all the issues, what are some things that we've seen and implemented to improve the inclusion throughout the creative process? The first step is recognising that everyone has bias that it's ingrained in us. And sometimes it's conscious, and we can correct ourselves. But most of it's implicit, which means it's ingrained from our upbringings, backgrounds, experiences. And bias is really designed to help our brains make shortcuts and connections in our decision making. Where it's problematic is when our brains make judgments about other people, which is what I said earlier about when we're deciding kind of a major campaign, and we're talking about different groups. If it results in something that's promoting, again, that kind of negative associations unintentionally, you know, we're just creating more of the same problem and not actually projecting a new story, a new story, a new narrative. So just to kind of put some context and practical principles that we can think of, and how we can avoid inaccessible, inauthentic and kind of stereotypes in our are creative and start embedding inclusion in that process. I appreciate in this industry, there are a lot of people involved in decision making from creative brief through to the final product, whether it's an employer brand, Project website, talent campaign. So really, these are just the start of thinking, you know, where can you put some checks in place in your process? How can you start embedding some of these principles so that you can challenge different decision making across that process? So the first, it's unsurprising is to recognise that everyone has bias, and how do we start uncovering our own biases? What what could potentially be a bias in the decision making? Microsoft has an inclusive design principles, and they look for ways for someone might be excluded from equal access. And they see it as an opportunity to challenge that to create something that's not only good for that one person or that one group, but can benefit everyone. And so if there's an agreement that we all have bias, and we need to have time to check, again, I think a lot of times it happens where there might have been great practice. And then a senior leader comes in and says this has to be the direction which might be influencing their own personal bias. But it's having that kind of recognition at the start. And then part of that is slowing down where possible to build in those moments to check. Because as I said, bias is a shortcut. So having a time to pause, reduces that reflexive reaction, and gives our time gives ourselves time to check for any of those potential bias. And this is much more likely to happen when you're under serious time constraints. You've got fast turnarounds, you need to make quick decisions. So whether you need again, like a Google your process, your checklists, something that tells you okay, this is the time we need to take a beat and just reflect and make sure we're not, you know, Miss stepping. As part of this process, to ensure that you're not falling into the trap of stereotypes is to remember people are individuals. And not to classify people as groups are generalisations. And this comes about a lot when you're speaking with colleagues or grabbing testimonials or capturing the story is not making assumptions about them not pigeon holing or seeing them as a tick box, but allowing them to show up as themselves as their whole person. And we've got a whole body of work on ethical storytelling, which if you've come to previous events, you'll know what I'm talking about. But a big part of again, kind of embedding that into your processes, is not seeing people as just a group. To help with that, as well. How can you build in perspective, wider perspectives? If you're a small team? Can you engage with a marketing panel, a diversity marketing panel who can give you feedback? Can you do audience testing internally or externally, especially with those groups that you're finding hard to attract? And then just the final thing for me, is, it's important to take step, take a step back. Again, this is a fast moving industry. We're constantly adding to our creative to our marketing, lots of different teams can be involved a new strategy, a new campaign. And sometimes you're so far away from your original concept. So every couple of years, looking at what's out there, is it still right? Is it still current times move on? And does everything still align? So if this seems like a lot of effort, I know I've talked through a lot. It is important because the results matter. And that should be your motivator. Because when we factor in inclusion, what we've seen is you create much more authentic work much more reflective of the world. And when it comes to design choices, solutions that benefit everyone.  

Amanda Faull  19:07 

So as that picture I showed you, lots of people can read that previously, most people would probably switch off. So that was my warmup that was a lot to cover in the start. Hopefully, I've given you some food for thought just to kind of think about as you're going into the new year, you know, you maybe have some new strategies in place, but you haven't thought about how do I make sure I'm checking that it's in the right direction. But we've been doing this a lot to ourselves at 33 and putting those checks in place. And as I mentioned, at the end of last year, we commissioned some research with our brand and insights team, so we could check ourselves. And I'm delighted to bring my colleague Ollie on now who can talk about that project, the results and what it means for everyone in the room, so I'll hand over to ollie now. 

Ollie Joseph  19:58 

Thank you, Amanda. So My name is Ollie Joseph and I'm a consultant in the brand and insight team here at 33. So I do all things research EVPs messaging strategy, employer brand consultancy, and this section will cover a piece of research that we here at 33 have commissioned the 33 2024 D&I survey. So we wanted to learn from this is how communicating about D&I impacts decision making for jobseekers and employees, and crucially, what impact different pieces of content actually have. So if you spend enough time on LinkedIn, you'll see a lot of articles and advice around how companies can show candidates and colleagues that they valued D&I problem is a lot of the content leans heavily on US data and UK and US markets are actually very different expectations and experiences of D&I are not the same in these two markets. Now, the problem that you encounter is a lot of recommendations really blur the boundaries between D&I policy and D&I comms. Therefore, we really wanted to do our own piece of research that focuses purely on the calm side, we really wanted this research to give us evidence to test our own assumptions and opinions. So we can make the right recommendations for content activations and strategy to our clients. 

Ollie Joseph  21:16 

 So in the research we commissioned, we spoke to 340 UK based adults in full time employment, we made sure we had a roughly 50:50 gender split and a sample that was broadly representative of the ethnic makeup age profile, and employment sector split of the wider working age population. And there are three things I'm going to focus on in this section. The why the how, and the who, so why should employees care about diversity inclusion? How can employers demonstrate that they care about diversity inclusion, and crucially, who the candidates actually trust when it comes to communicating around diversity and inclusion? But let's start with the why.  

Ollie Joseph  21:58 

We asked the question in the survey when choosing whether to apply for a job, how important is it to people's decision making that a company has a commitment to diversity and inclusion? So there's a considerable body of literature and evidence to support the moral and business case for why businesses should have this commitment? But to what extent did jobseekers actually care about this? I'm actually going to pose this question to you so in the poll that you can see on screen now, I want you to answer the question what percentage of respondents said this was important? I'll give you a couple of a couple of moments to do this. few moments. And so as you can see for the results, show on screen? Yes, so option D is correct. So see most people, most people got that. So yeah, you're completely right. Eight and 10 respondents said that it was at least somewhat important that a company has a commitment to diversity and inclusion when choosing whether to apply for a job. This these graphs show this actually went up to 85% amongst female respondents and 82% amongst ethnic minority respondents. What's more, when we actually cut the data by age, there's a clear correlation in how important a factor and employer having a commitment to diversity and inclusion is when choosing whether to apply for a job. Now, if you look at 18 to 24 year olds, not a single respondent answered not important when answering this question, with 86%, identifying as at least somewhat important.  

Ollie Joseph  23:29 

So what does this mean? This is evidence support the point that it's not just those with protective characteristics, you look for evidence that a company values diversity inclusion, this is something that really does factor into decision making more broadly. What we also found is that secondary factors linked to D&I are also important to candidates in particular, showing policies to support well being 92% of respondents identified this important when making a decision about an employer when applying for a job. Well, these results show us that people do place value on working for a company that actually shows its empathetic employer. Being an employer with a clear set of values to communicate around well being and well being does it really does impact decision making. We found this even more the case amongst female identifying respondents 94% That's nearly 19 And every women we spoke to so it was at least somewhat important that a company has clear values when choosing whether to apply for a job.  

Ollie Joseph  24:29 

Again, what we want to remember is that these points are connected. Addressing these topics clearly and effectively allows you to tell a story about the company and send a message about the extent to which you value colleagues quality of working life holistically. So yes, diversity inclusion matters to job seekers communicating with clarity, policies and values that demonstrate that you're an empathetic employer that cares about the well being and quality of life employees matters.  

Ollie Joseph  24:57 

How do we actually show this how can we prove this to prospective to candidates. So we actually posed this question ourselves, we asked when showing that a company values diversity inclusion, how important is the company website and all social media channels do the following. Based on our experience and expertise, we came up with the following list of 12 ways of showing that a company values diversity inclusion. And this this, we actually chose to exclude things that were UX and accessibility basis, there's actually a lot of sufficient rigorous and scientific evidence to support the best practice. Instead, what we focused on with these most objective pieces, so things that are more content and activation based. So how did these activations compare?  

Ollie Joseph  25:37 

The key takeaway really, is that they will all seen as important, none of the activations had fewer than the 72% of respondents identifying them as important in showing that a company values diversity inclusion. What's more, if we look at the results from those who answered in the previous question, that they consider DNI when choosing whether or not to apply for a job, each option was voted as important by the eight and 10 people. If you look at how these different activations ranked, we can see that communicating while being policy does still rank the most effective way of showing that a company values D&I. And these more policy based and structure options, even out scored some of you know the most Evert indicators, you know, literally showing a diverse workforce. What we found reassuring is that these actually are recommendations we make into our clients. However, you know, nothing should be assumed. That's why we felt it was important that we actually validate and test our assumptions. And that, you know, we have the humility to be able to be prepared to be proved wrong.  

Ollie Joseph  26:34 

A key learning also is that it's not just in the rankings of the different activations is that over six in 10, respondents said they'd be more likely to apply for a job if a company did all of the activities mentioned on the previous slide. It's not even that this is best practice in terms of producing content that attracts more diverse talent is that doing all of these things make you more attractive as an employee in general, for everyone, even over half of male identified respondents said that doing all of these things would make them more likely to apply for a job at a company they already considering to work for. And likewise, the same is true for non white ethnic minorities respondents. Well, this data indicates is that yes, these activations work in showing that a company values D&I but it also helps to shape a more favourably perceived employer brand in general. In other words, these activations provide crucial information and send a clear signal about the type of employee you are.  

Ollie Joseph  27:26 

There's also a retention angle to this. In some ways, these results were more surprising. For those already at the business. It's sometimes easy to dismiss D&I employer brand activations that comes, you know, perhaps for these people the extent to which key experienced curators can actually deliver on the promises that we make that will impact their engagement. However, these results indicate that these activations do impact retention engagement, nearly half of respondents said they'd be more likely to stay at a company that promotes activities and stories from employee network groups. And again, you can see here people stories play a crucial role and fostering a sense of belonging and engagement amongst employees. What's more, only one in 10 respondents and one in 25 Female identifying respondents said none of the D&I activations and comms examples we provided would make any difference and then being like more likely to stay.  

Ollie Joseph  28:17 

But the final point I want to talk to you about is the how not all sources of information are created equal, some sources are more trusted than others, some make a greater impact. So final question for you. When we ask the question. When a company talks about its commitment to diversity inclusion, which of the following You most likely to trust, which of the options do you think was the most trusted, so what we'll need to do is just quickly type the option you think was the most trusted in the chat you can see on screen, you know, feel free to use the corresponding letter Don't worry, you don't need to have to type the full thing out. I'll give you a moment to read the different options and then put in the chat which one you think is was the most selected as the most trustworthy? So I'll give you a moment to do that. 

Ollie Joseph  29:12 

Okay, a few votes, quite nice range. few votes for a. 

Ollie Joseph  29:18 


Ollie Joseph  29:20 

So the answer was G. So the answers to the grand reveal there. So there we go. Option G employee stories or videos are the most trusted source when a company talks about diversity inclusion. What this shows is that people are looking for social proof. They're looking for real stories that they can relate to. The more senior and detached from the day to day the company, the less relatable it is, and this impacts the extent to which this is a trusted source of employee stories of videos who employed community groups are seen as more trustworthy and this makes them make them far more impactful. What's more, these findings were even more pronounced when it came to our female identifying respondents.  

Ollie Joseph  30:01 

So, I appreciate I've covered quite a lot there and quite quickly, but it's worth summarising a few key points. So when speaking to prospective candidates, the story you tell about your company needs to show that you value DNI and it can't just say you need to show it. You need to use social proof and provide evidence you need to showcase your programmes, and talk about resources you offer and initiatives you run. People trust different sources. As with everything, this is not a one size fits all. The key is to mobilise as many sources of information as you can, but bearing in mind the value of providing social proof. And the benefits are clear for this. Go beyond you know, the moral and corporate citizenship case as well as the well established business case. argument as simple. As the survey has shown us talking about D&I makes your company more attractive and makes your current employees more engaged. In other words, getting your D&I comms, right will help to alleviate your talent challenges, and signifies the type of company you are and the type you want to be. So with that in mind, I am going to hand it back to Amanda. 

Amanda Faull  31:09 

Okay, thanks, Ollie. So, lots of things to think about. We found those debts incredibly interesting. But as I said, As Ali said, it's been invaluable in validating things that we've already been recommending to our clients and helping us improve and refine our own approach. And back to that first question I asked everyone about what is your challenge? There's a lot of people who said storytelling. So hopefully some of the things that Ali mentioned, are giving you some ideas about okay, what are the things that we should be talking about? So before I hand over to Eleni, I have one more poll question for you. And I'm just curious to know, because as I said, you know, times change things move on. And so how I'm gonna open to the poll. Sorry, when was the last time you audited your talent columns? So again, for options? Have you done it recently? Maybe not for a long time? Never. We're not even sure what a combs audit is. So again, this is just a quick poll. Have a few moments. I think there's a tiny delay on our end. Okay, I'm gonna close the poll now. Okay, interesting. Good to see some people have done it recently. Quite a few people who don't know what an audit is, which is perfect for me to introduce our next speaker, who is Eleni, a client partner and head of D&I at 33. She's been with the agency for over eight years, and spearheaded the creation of our D&I team. So she'll walk through 33's unique approach to auditing communications with that lens of inclusion. So over to you, Eleni. 

Eleni Antoniou  33:06 

Thank you, Amanda. And hello, everyone. So as Amanda said, I head up the D&I function here at 33. So I oversee a lot of the work that we do with clients in this space, I oversee a lot of the thought leadership that we produce in this space as well. So I want to take the next few minutes of your time to show you how we work with our clients to audit their comms and specifically looking at those communications from a D&I lens. We do this through a process a project that we call unlocked, which has been developed by our in house diversity and inclusion, digital design, and UX teams.  

Eleni Antoniou  33:48 

So let me tell you a little bit about how this works. Our teams have developed a framework that we use to audit a client's careers website and social channel performance against 35 Plus inclusion and accessibility metrics. And this framework draws from leading market research and best practice in our field, as well as of course, from our own expertise of having done this sort of work for our clients for many years now. But also it has been validated by the research that Ollie just walked you through. So it is kind of very robust, very much focused in kind of data and best practice. We assess across four core categories. We look at content, so evidence that shows to candidates you take the NI seriously. That could be anything from how transparent you are about your D&I targets your D&I strategy, looking at things like your employee resource groups, are they voc or are they present in your comps, the employee stories that we talked about before? We also look at language and tone of voice and that is specifically looking at is your messaging inclusive? Is it accessible? Does it promote a positive and open culture, we look at inclusivity. And that's where we focus specifically on the audio visuals on your channels and whether they are authentic or whether they're promoting bias and stereotypes. And finally, accessibility, that is the more technical side of the audit. And that's where we use Web Content Accessibility Guidelines to identify the most common accessibility barriers.  

Eleni Antoniou  35:37 

We deliver this findings to you through a personalised report that's kind of looking at your external communications channels. And it's focusing on the things that you do really well, and that you should continue doing. But also looking at those areas for improvement. We also deliver an actionable plan. And that was kind of quite important when we when we were designing this process here at 33, to give our clients something that is very practical to implement, and that allows them to see what they can do in the short, medium and long term. And we deliver this through an interactive workshop where we discuss the findings and the recommendations, we look at best practice from across the industry. And we also train your in house teams on how to create inclusive comps and things they need to look out for.  

Eleni Antoniou  36:33 

There's a number of reasons why we would advise our clients to conduct an audit. And there's a few listed on this slide here. But the most common one is if they are struggling to attract candidates from certain underrepresented backgrounds, that clearly shows that there are either certain barriers in place in your comms that we need to remove, or there are certain messages that we need to either introduce or reinforce. Another very common reason, especially with Big Hero Pieces, like your careers website, is that things like accessibility standards and best practice change all the time. Also, content gets added incrementally new pages new copy changes to the navigation. And sometimes that happens by different teams within the organisation over a period of time. So it is good every few years to take a step back, take stock and look whether your website is still telling the right story, whether it's still moving in the right direction, or whether confirm the message has been lost somewhere along the way.  

Eleni Antoniou  37:39 

And to ensure you're making the most out of footnoted, it is quite important to time it right, of course. And some key moments when we would advise our clients to consider an audit are, if you're about to commission a new website or refresh your existing existing one, that's a great opportunity to take a step back, take stock of everything and make sure that the findings and the recommendations of the audit make their way into the brief, especially kind of commissioning and your website's a very expensive exercise. So it's quite important that you're making the right decisions. And you're confident that you're not alienating any of your talent pool. Also, if you're launching a new talent attraction campaign, again, especially if we think about audiences, like an early talent audience, for example, that are quite broad. It's really useful before you go to market with it, or even before you start kind of thinking about the different elements, to audit everything from a diversity and inclusion perspective, making sure that those findings find their way into the brief and they inform your strategy. They inform your creative. If you've had a new talent or D&I strategy that's been launched across the organisation, doing an audit of your comms channels helps you make sure that the strategy is embedded fully into your communications and that everything is aligned. If you're conducting an overview of your social channels, that's a great opportunity to not just to look at some of the more traditional metrics, like your engagement, your followers, the frequency of posts, but to also look at how inclusive and how diverse your content is. And then finally, if you're conducting an end of campaign review, it is fairly valuable to look at a number of different metrics. So not just your application and your hiring numbers, you know, how candidates have interacted with your website, all of the things we would traditionally look at an Active Campaign report, but also bring this kind of diversity and inclusion focusing, and then take all of those findings alongside the data and make sure they're informing the brief for your next campaign. 

Eleni Antoniou  40:04 

There are a number of benefits associated with reviewing your comms from an inclusivity and accessibility perspective and from taking some steps to make improvements. But the most common ones that we've seen are around building trust by being genuine and authentic in your comms, enhancing reputation and credibility, externally, but also, as Ollie just showed you with your internal audiences as well. And of course, improving costs to hire by making sure that your content, your language, your accessibility credentials are catering to the needs of your audiences, and are addressing any barriers to entry.  

Eleni Antoniou  40:49 

In terms of how we conduct our audit, we've been guided from six principles from the very beginning. And that's because we wanted to develop something that is robust and rooted in science and research, but doesn't at the same time, feel overly academic and cumbersome and almost impossible to implement. So if I were kind of to quickly walk you through those, we aim to be practical. And that means focused on your challenges, and on how to implement solutions. Instead of making it almost too difficult to put into practice. achievable. That's about including realistic recommendations that take your budget and your time pressures into account. Again, this is all about giving our clients something they can actually action balanced. And that's providing you with a holistic picture that outlines your strengths and the things you're doing well, and you need to keep doing in your comms, as well as the development areas. This isn't about pointing fingers, we were very clear from the beginning, this needs to be a very balanced you that celebrates the successes, alongside highlighting the development areas, time bound.  

Eleni Antoniou  42:02 

So what we give us an implementation plan that maps out short, medium and longer term improvements, again, making it very easy and practical to identify the quick wins, as well as some things are might need a bit more time and effort to put into place. personalised and that's all about understanding the realities of your business and your priorities. We would always sit with our clients and try and understand their objectives and challenges in this space and make sure those are fed into the audit. And finally, objective when we talk about things like diversity and inclusion, that's very, very important that it's not the opinions of an individual that we're putting in front of you. But it's a kind of framework that is using data points and metrics, and it's validated by audience research.  

Eleni Antoniou  42:51 

I am now going to invite three of my colleagues to join me so we can explore in a little bit more detail how you can tell your DNI story through your website and social channels. So, Richard heads up our digital design team has been heavily involved in developing the audit. Nikita is one of our senior social strategists and see works very closely with our clients to help them embed D&I into their social channels. And Amanda, you've all just met. She's our D&I comms specialist, and she has been leading the development of the audit.  

Eleni Antoniou  43:32 

Hello. Lovely to see you. So, Richard, I'm going to start with you. And just to ensure we have a base understanding, what do we mean by accessibility? And why is it so essential in a website design? And before you answer just to kind of flag to our audience, you can ask questions using the q&a functionality as well. Obviously, I have a few questions that I have prepared, but we want to make sure we answer some of the audience questions as well. Sorry, over to you

Richard Sparks  44:03 

sure sounds good. What do we mean by accessibility? Accessibility is a person's ability to access a website's content. So ensuring that everything there is accessible to everybody. Essentially, we base this on three categories. So Perceivable, Operable, and understandable. Perceivable would be things like non text content, so imagery, and having alternative text to support that imagery, or video content that has captions, transcripts, that type of thing. Operable would be things like the navigation, the user journeys, the actions users take, if there are any distracting animations, that type of thing. And understandable would be the readability of text. Has it been considered for everybody? Has the copy been adapted for the web? And are there any sort of predictable or the interactions on the website predictable for users? I've answered your question.  

Eleni Antoniou  45:06 

Thank you so much. So we've talked a lot about what content to feature and how to deliver it. But how important is the where, and that's kind of bringing the kind of the UX conversation in the front of it. So what does the data tell us about where DNI content should be on the website? I think, Amanda, if you want to start and then Richard, I'll come to you to add on as well. Yep. 

Amanda Faull  45:32 

Yeah. So from conducting a few audits, and obviously building websites, I think we've talked about all this great content that you should be talking about, you've invested a lot of time and money in creating stories. And some of the most obvious fixes that we've observed is that they're not where a candidate might obviously go. So are they in the key points of a candidate journey? They're often isolated to a D&I page where you've got to get three clicks before you get there. So if D&I something so central to your business, and that's a core message you want to get across to your candidates? You know, have you thought about, is it integrated in the right places? And is it shoved at the bottom, or as should it be more prominent at a key point in that journey. So I'm sure rich can talk a little bit more about how we have helped integrate that. But that's just something we've observed that it tends to be almost like an afterthought, even though it's quite essential, in terms of the message you want to convey. 

Richard Sparks  46:45 

I'm gonna think in terms of messaging it's having, presenting the messaging at the right time. We know from the data that most users when they come to a website, for instance, they will search for a job, they will land on a job description. So it makes sense to imbue the job description with this content, so that as a candidate, they get the full picture of a company. And from an accessibility point of view, they can access all of that content. So that's, I mean, that's our strategy of the how we develop websites at 33. And yet, we, you know, we sort of embed accessibility as part of that. 

Eleni Antoniou  47:26 

Great, Nikita, I'm gonna come to you so we can talk a little bit about social. What type of diversity and inclusion content receives the most engagement on social channels? 

Nikita Spice  47:41 

I think it's a it's a an interesting question, because it's very broad, because obviously, every business works in a different way, and might have different ways of communicating this. But the key thing and as the data shown throughout this, as well, is that storytelling and authenticity are always at the heart of these things, specifically sharing the personal stories of people within the business in like a candid way. And, you know, it doesn't have to be something that's standalone. And people don't necessarily want to see and hear people saying, we are diverse, and we are inclusive, they want to see it illustrated in the content. So how does someone live a company's values, but also they can talk about the way in which they do that as an individual, through their own experience as well. So it's about weaving the two together, storytelling and diversity and inclusion?  

Eleni Antoniou  48:34 

And how do you start thinking about D&I as part of your social strategy? 

Nikita Spice  48:41 

I think the key thing to think about is seeing it as more of more than a pillar or an element of a strategy. But something that instead weaves through every single part is more of a lens and something that's shown throughout the content, rather than something that is sort of talked about exclusively. So thinking about language, and tone of voice, all of those accessibility considerations that you have for a website should also be considered across social, especially with video content being much more popular on across platforms, that captions making sure that people are speaking at a good pace, leaving room for calls for people to catch up and engage with content. There's, you know, there's so many considerations to have to be had. But I think the one thing, the one piece of advice, I would say is to make sure that it's an overall lens of all social versus a pillar or something that you consider around certain cultural moments. 

Eleni Antoniou  49:45 

And, Amanda, I'm gonna come to you next. Obviously, you've done quite a few of those audits for our clients already. What are some common pitfalls in the relationship between the Careers website and the client social channels? 

Amanda Faull  49:57 

Yeah, I think it's kind of building on what Nikita said, first observation is it tends to be one stronger than the other. So you've either spent a lot of time on the website, making sure the messaging is correct, you've listed everything that's makes you different stands out. And then you don't always see that translated across social, because maybe it isn't integrated across your strategy, maybe it is just a small pillar, or it comes up in those bursts when it's a key diversity day, and suddenly, you know, the whole company's behind it, but you're not remembering all those little things that Ollie touched on, you know, that very long list that we've come up with that, you know, matter around diversity and inclusion. And so, from what I've seen, sometimes that's all on the website, but you don't have that across social, or you've got this amazing content, straight stream on social or some amazing engaging videos or some authentic stories from your colleagues. And again, it's not backed up on your website, or it's not integrated alongside those company statements. So I think it's, again, that kind of, you're just missing this opportunity of making sure those match so that you have that continuous experience for candidates. 

Eleni Antoniou  51:17 

Lovely. I want to talk a little bit about trends now. And reaching Nikita, I'm going to draw on your expertise here. Are there any trends right now in either social or website design that could have a huge impact on inclusion? Or accessibility? Richard, do you want to go first? 

Richard Sparks  51:36 

That's good question. Are there any trends? I think as a, as a medium, it's matured quite a lot. I think, you know, historically, there's been lots of trends around, you know, animation, for instance, I think the trend at the moment is things that are very usable, you know, they are, you know, people iterate on, on designs, people use the test. You know, as an industry, it's very mature. So I think the trend, I think, really is that many websites, many apps are becoming more and more inclusive, and including inclusive features. And it's important that we stay up to date that we we we sort of, you know, stay current, essentially, 

Eleni Antoniou  52:26 

Nikita, anything that you've seen? 

Nikita Spice  52:29 

I think that probably one of the the best trends that's around at the moment that relates to everything we've been talking about is it's user generated content. And there's so much opportunity now, because people's expectations of social content is somewhat more realistic than before. Yes, we might still have to spend a lot of time editing it and preparing content that people actually want to see authentic Day in the Life content or pictures from people's regular life. And it means that social content doesn't always require a full scale shoot, or a full scale production. And can also in a world where we are hybrid working between different offices, different locations, it means that you can get that global presence and that global feel because you can inconvenience everyone in the content because all they need is a phone or even a laptop, to capture content. So I think that's a real opportunity that people have to capture, trending content and engage in those conversations easily with user generated content. 

Richard Sparks  53:36 

I think that's a good point around the phone as well, a lot of the data we're seeing is that lots of people are viewing content, consuming content on phones, you know, 10 years ago, that wasn't the case. So that is very much designing your website, your experience with the phone in mind. 

Amanda Faull  53:56 

I think also, again, going back to that point about, you know, social and website can mirroring each other. You've seen more and more clients integrating their social streams onto their careers website. So Instagram channels, where maybe the content doesn't change as frequently on your website, maybe the same stories are on there for six months, and you don't have you know, the budget to do another big full scale high production. But if you have your Instagram, you can start adding some of that authentic social proof that you don't always get from just the six photos that you had to pick from. So I think that's again, something as a not necessary quick win, but considering where does that show up on your website to ensure that people get that social proof that Ollie mentioned.  

Eleni Antoniou  54:43 

Great, lovely, so they need to work together they need to be part of a holistic strategy and actually what we've just said they need to complement each other it doesn't mean that exactly the same content needs to fit your across both their different mediums but you know, we can do things quicker on one takes maybe a bit more time for the website, but it's long as there's kind of a thread connecting the two. Lovely, I think we're gonna finish the panel here because I know Amanda wants to wrap up and has some key learnings and top tips to share with everyone. And we do want to finish on time. So thank you so much rich. Thank you, Nikita, Amanda, I was gonna lead to wrap things up. 

Amanda Faull  55:22 

Okay, thank you. So that I want to wrap up, I did promise that this would finish at four o'clock. So I'm just going to leave you with a few things of food for thought, because we covered a lot of ground. So some of this is a bit of kind of repeating, you might need to play this back to capture some of the data. But it's just again, to think of like, what are some things that you could practically do to help with your strategy or going forward? And some of the things I've just talked about?  

Amanda Faull  55:54 

First one, is this, what you offer and what you actually talk about. And again, this is something we commonly see is that you if you want to be this employer of choice, how are you standing out? What are the things that you can talk about? What's buried in your HR policy book that you could be celebrating, and find a creative way of talking about it. So either look at your social channel or your website or internally and find the stories and things that really bring to life?  

Amanda Faull  56:24 

What make you different around D&I going back, and really emphasising that point that Ollie made about proof points. And obviously, you know, employee stories play a big part in that. We see a lot of content that, as Nikita said, just as a statement about, you know, what you stand for? That's important, that's important to include, what direction are you taking? What's your strategy? But how do you evidence that? How do you bring that to life? And that's, you know, how do you make sure you're not just another company saying, we support well being we support inclusion? How do your employees back you up?  

Amanda Faull  57:04 

And so it's looking at, you know, integrating that across your website? Do you have statements about D&I? Could you add a testimonial or a video about somebody talking about how that's been valuable to them? Your employee resource groups are incredibly valuable in terms of content and storytelling. So it's thinking about as you're going forward, are you doing enough to integrate those stories across your website and social on that point of integrating stories.  

Amanda Faull  57:35 

As Nikita has said, it's, you know, it's valuable to have this video content. And it doesn't have to always be high production, depending on kind of what medium you're using. But allowing people to show up as themselves. It provides that nuance when you're, you're talking through film, because as I mentioned, in my presentation, an image can only show kind of one dimension of someone, and it might, you know, lead people to make assumptions. Whereas a video, someone can show the multiple aspects about them. So if you really want to start pushing, you know, the storytelling and featuring people from in that reflect your audience. Again, it's kind of the emphasis on film. Again, this is what Nikita said about incorporating the messaging across everything. And this is across social across your website. You know, it's shouldn't just be isolated to over there. Is this something that you can naturally weave through your language through the imagery that you use? You know, how are you conveying it?  

Amanda Faull  58:37 

And just taking again, a step back? And and have you missed an opportunity, as Rich said in that key point in a journey to make sure you've made that statement clear, because not everyone's going to click everywhere or scroll to the bottom? So again, do you have that data about where candidates go, and at what point should you be feeding them and that information, and I guess that's my last point, which is the where, so, again, making sure it's not just isolated in one particular spot, make it prominent, put it on your job description, make sure that people can see that personalised information. So that it's, you're not kind of deflecting them at the first hurdle. 

Amanda Faull  59:21 

So that's my kind of Whistlestop. We've got one minute left. So I will wrap up there but just wanted to finish with you've heard a lot of information, a lot of Comms support that we can offer as well. So if you're interested in an audit, hopefully you understand what that means and how we can help around that. Or if you're just interested in embedding D&I across your comms strategy over the next year. please do get in touch. We'd be more than happy to help. So thank you. We finished on time and I hope you have a wonderful rest of your day. 

Not everyone feels seen or accurately represented in talent marketing, and many creative and design choices overlook accessibility and the needs of disabled people.  

Rewatch this session to learn: 

  • How to spot stereotypes and exclusionary content. 
  • Our research into what DE&I content candidates look for across your website and social channels. 
  • Putting the principles of inclusive communications into practice. 
  • How to audit your talent marketing.
  • Five ways to unlock your DE&I storytelling.

We discuss practical ways to embed inclusion throughout your creative process to create content and experiences that resonate with diverse audiences.  

Want to discuss how to create more inclusive communications?
Get in touch with us at diversity@thirtythree.co.uk. 


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