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Achieve an inclusive workplace

A fair and inclusive workplace is better for you, your staff and your business. An unbiased recruitment process and an accessible, welcoming workplace means a wider pool of talent will be available to you. Read on for some advice on how you can help diversity flourish in your business.

Quick tips

  • Talk new recruits through your diversity and inclusion policies. Consider diversity training for staff involved in hiring.
  • Check your organisation's image matches your ambition to be inclusive. For example, do you use photos showing diversity?
  • Visit the BEMIS Scotland website for support in fulfilling your equality and diversity policies and recruiting from minority ethnic communities.
  • Join Stonewall Scotland’s Champions programme, which supports employers in ensuring LGBT equality. Sign up for the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index to track your progress.


To comply with the Equality Act 2010, employers must make reasonable adjustments to support disabled job applicants and employees. Capability Scotland estimates that the average cost of reasonable adjustments for a new recruit with a disability is just £75.

Here are some tips for making your company accessible.

  • Sign up to the Disability Confident scheme so applicants know if they disclose a disability and meet the minimum criteria, they’ll be guaranteed an interview.
  • Raise staff awareness to create a culture where people feel they can disclose a disability. Consider disability awareness training from SAMH, Remploy or Capability Scotland.
  • Take a look at our guide for best interview practice. Ask if candidates need support or adjustments in the workplace.
  • Remember some adjustments, like flexible work patterns, are free.
  • Apply for an Access to Work grant to fund equipment or support that staff with a disability or health condition may need.
  • Find out how to balance health and safety with equality legislation with this guide.

Case study: Hillcrest Housing

Hillcrest Housing Association is one of Scotland’s largest, and provides housing and care services across Edinburgh and the North East of Scotland. Hillcrest worked with the Glasgow Centre for Inclusive Living as part of their Graduate Recruitment scheme and received support when recruiting a young person with visual impairments. This included help to apply for an Access to Work grant.

Lesley Pert, HR Manager said: “Making adjustments was quite straightforward. The adjustments included equipment such as larger screens, some specialist software and additional support on travelling to and from work. All funded by GCIL and Access to Work."

"Not only has this experience given us the opportunity to support a young person to develop skills in the workplace, but it has also helped us to practise what we preach.”

“We support our clients, tenants and services users in a number of different ways and we aim to do this with our employees too.  When employing disabled people, it’s important to have the right equipment, if it's needed, and support employees by having a flexible, open mind.”

Gender balance

Gender imbalance is still a major issue in many key growth sectors. Here are some ways to attract talent from a broader talent pool:

  • Promote diverse role models at careers or recruitment events. Role models are a great way of challenging gender stereotypes.
  • Speak to young people about the career options in your sector and dispel myths that some jobs are only for boys or girls. Find out how you can engage with local schools and colleges via Marketplace.
  • Run taster sessions or tours for groups of young women or men.
  • Follow this up by offering work experience of trials for women or men.
  • Check if your job ads could better promote roles to the under-represented gender.
  • Attend an Equate Scotland seminar on recruiting and retaining women in science, engineering and technology. Equate Scotland can also advise on recruitment materials and process.
  • Use the Close the Gap Think Business Think Equality Self-assessment tool to assess how your employment practice measures up when it comes to gender equality.

Case study: CMS Windows

CMS Windows is a manufacturing and installation company based in Cumbernauld. As the firm grew to take on bigger projects the company quickly realised a more diverse workforce was crucial to the long-term success of the organisation. So they took steps to accommodate female staff.

HR Manager Anna West said: “The more we educate girls and young women about the possible career opportunities available, the more interest we get. Using our own female role models to promote employment opportunities within our organisation is very helpful.”

She praised one recent apprentice Chloe Goode, who stood out among the applicants for an apprenticeship in warehousing and storage with her can-do attitude:

“We have a gender positive statement within the factory and we have used Chloe for photographs to show we encourage female employees at our workplace. Additional female toilets have been built in the factory. Our policy is to treat all employees fairly and equally. We ensure this is achieved by monitoring the composition of the workforce to ensure that this policy is effective.”

Positive action

Positive action isn't the same as positive discrimination. Positive action refers to steps you can take to promote equality and diversity. It's about providing support and encouragement to job applicants and staff who may be at a disadvantage because of certain personal characteristics. Whether that be age, disability, gender, sexual orientation, religion or race.

These are some low-cost recruitment practices you could use:

  • In your job ads, state clearly that you're open and welcoming to applications from under-represented groups.
  • Have a presence at events where you'll have the chance to interact with under-represented groups. This could include attending LGBT or minority ethnic community events.
  • Offer young people work experience placements in sectors where a certain gender is under-represented. For example, engineering and construction for young women or the care sector for men.