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National Equality Standard

Celebrating a major milestone on our diversity journey

We are delighted to have reached a significant milestone in our journey to build an even stronger culture of diversity and inclusion at Hays. Hays is now one of only 20 organisations in the UK to have achieved the National Equality Standard (NES), one of the UK’s most rigorous and prestigious accreditations for equality, diversity and inclusion (ED I).


At Hays we have always been proud of being a meritocracy, where the best can succeed regardless of their background. This accreditation is an important independent recognition of our commitment to this aim and to continually strengthening our culture of diversity and inclusion, and follows a two year journey to accreditation.


As recruiters we understand exactly how beneficial a diverse workforce is for organisations to succeed, and our research reiterates how important this is to employee engagement and retention. It’s something we know matters to our employees, and that our clients talk to us about daily. We know that a workforce where everyone has a fair and equal opportunity to succeed benefits individuals and the organisation as a whole, but like many organisations we had more to learn about how to be truly inclusive.


The journey to achieve this accreditation hasn’t always been straightforward, and along the way we have had to challenge ourselves to look closely at our organisation from top to bottom to ensure we are truly as fair and inclusive as we aim to be.


Here are some of the lessons we learned along the way:


Embrace your challenges


As the saying goes, you can’t improve what you don’t measure – and we weren’t measuring the diversity of our workforce as effectively as we could be. As part of our journey we needed to understand exactly where we were, and how to improve. Although we were confident in our fair and meritocratic culture, we didn’t have all the facts readily available to back this up. Implementing a more robust voluntary diversity monitoring process has given us a much clearer picture of where we are, and where we needed to improve.


Commit for the long term


A truly inclusive culture cannot be created overnight, genuine change takes time to be established. We focused on long term changes that were embedded throughout our whole organisation, rather than short term fixes. Ensuring that everyone from our trainee consultants to senior leadership were on board for the journey was essential, as was a shared commitment to holding ourselves accountable for our progress. For example we introduced unconscious bias training for our hiring managers to ensure that our recruitment processes are truly fair.


Be an advocate for change


Building a stronger culture of diversity and inclusion has not just been beneficial within Hays, but has helped deepen our knowledge of the ED I challenges our clients face and our ability to advise them on their own diversity journeys through our diversity expertise, events and thought leadership. We can now be even more confident in our expertise, and in being an advocate of ED I to our clients and the communities we work in.


Over the course of our journey to NES accreditation we have sometimes had to ask ourselves some difficult questions, and challenge our assumptions about our organisation. But today we have a much stronger culture of diversity and inclusion as a result, and are confident that we are a fair and meritocratic employer, where people can come to work for us in an environment where they can succeed, be rewarded, and be themselves.


We look forward to continuing our journey!




Nigel Heap

Managing Director, UK & Ireland


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