Olympics Special 5/7: diversity-focused recruitment and a vision to inspire social change

Original post by Alison Clements via HR

A vision to inspire lasting social change was central to London’s bid to host the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

So when the flame is lit this July, will the world see Olympic-inspired workplace diversity and inclusion at its best?

In HR terms, filling 177,000 jobs (paid and voluntary) in a way that both reflects the diversity of the six host boroughs – Barking & Dagenham, Hackney, Newham, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest and Greenwich – and showcases how dynamic and inclusive the UK can be, is a major undertaking.

LOCOG, the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games, says between 18% and 29% of the 7,000 paid employees (the rest are volunteers or contractors) will be from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds, while the target for disabled people working at the Olympics is 10%.

“The diversity of the capital was one of the reasons London was awarded the games and, as such, we wanted to create a working environment that would enable everyone to be a part of this event,” says LOCOG’s HR director, Jean Tomlin. “So we put together policies, such as Attitude over Age and Access Now [see Box], which would allow us to recruit a workforce representative of London and the rest of the UK.”

LOCOG wants to recruit a most diverse workforce – from age, race, disability, sexuality, gender, to gender identity and belief – and, from the start, diversity and inclusion have been woven into everything the organisation does. “We knew we had a huge opportunity to set an example and help inspire other organisations to make diversity and inclusion a key part of their business,” says Tomlin.