This Case Study is based on a series of interviews with Colin Barnes in the autumn of 2018. Colin has been involved in recruiting a more diverse workforce with the Greater Manchester Police and is now part of a team that recruits more diverse people into the Greater Manchester Fire & Rescue Service.
The Greater Manchester Fire & Rescue Service aims to bring in more diverse applicants.
There hadn’t been a serious recruitment drive for a long period and new recruits came in by responding to on line advertising. The selection process involved a fitness test and a panel interview, typically with 5 people from current staff. Current staff were predominantly white male, as were new applicants.
1. Changes to the recruitment process
The diversity team started a strategy of community engagement; visiting community events and locations and engaging in face-to-face conversations.
Impact of changes to the recruitment process
2. Changes to the selection process
The diversity team invites all those that have registered their interest at a face-to-face event to a taster day, thus taking away any barriers for application. At the taster day information is given about the selection process to ensure all applicants have the same information about selection.
The selection process now includes an assessment process, structured interviews and a wider group of interviewers (8-12) from a variety of backgrounds. These new measures allow for less bias in selection.
Impact of changes to the selection process
3. Initiatives to increase retention
The on boarding process now includes education about diversity and (in)appropriate behaviour to make sure that people feel included from the start. Staff networks for diverse groups have been set up.
Impact of initiatives to increase retention
4. Creating engagement from the leadership
Engaging the leadership was a vital part of the programme. If leaders are on board diversity can become part of the core business. Speakers were invited, such as a female RAF pilot. Leaders are now invited to graduation days of new recruits and positive stories about achievements of underrepresented groups are regularly shared.
Impact of initiatives to engage the leadership
5. Creating engagement from staff
Initially current staff were sceptical, believing that diverse recruitment meant lowering standards. So staff were invited to be involved in the taster days, and the selection process, and their feed back was used to fine tune the new selection process.
Impact of initiatives to engage staff
Future plans – 2019 and beyond
So far results have been good but recruiting staff from underrepresented groups is an ongoing process.
Next steps include: