Investing in Renaisi's people and recruitment processes

Head of People & Learning, Marie Nichols describes how we’ll make sure the aims of our strategy are applied within Renaisi.

Our new strategy is about achieving real change in collaboration with others. We aim to:

  • Empower people facing economic and social exclusion
  • Enable social and private sector organisations to tackle socio-economic exclusion
  • Challenge the systems that perpetuate and entrench socio-economic exclusion and marginalisation
  • Embody the approaches we believe will lead to sustainable social change.
An illustation of a group of people tossing cogs up in the air. A sign above their heads says "We embody"

Those aims also apply to what we do within Renaisi, and I want to do everything we can to be a more equitable organisation for our own staff. Here are a couple of examples of what we’re doing to make Renaisi a more equitable social enterprise.

Investing in Renaisi’s people

At the end of 2022 we went through the Investors in People assessment, which is a good way to test how our staff really feel about working at Renaisi. It’s always a bit nerve racking waiting for that final report!

I was pleased we increased our overall score this year and got some positive feedback about:

  • positive relationships between staff and their managers;
  • staff feeling able to talk about the relevance of our values to their individual roles; and
  • an obvious shared purpose across the organisation.

All of which is great news for our new strategy.

As always, there are areas to improve including building clarity around our leadership and development strategy, progression pathways, and performance management. We’re also going to making better use of the five Corporate Social Responsibility days everyone gets by bringing colleagues together for joint projects that support the communities we work with.

Inclusive recruitment processes

Alongside these changes for staff, we’ve been striving to make our recruitment processes more inclusive.

We’ve changed where we advertise roles and always advertise with a salary range – but we do not discuss salary with candidates until an offer is made.

We’ve anonymised the application process, simplified language in JDs and use gender neutral language. We’ve moved away from the standard CV / covering letter application process to ask more skills-based questions, and we’ve introduced a mandatory question for all applicants, to test their understanding of equality, diversity, inclusion and equity (EDI). We have a suite of questions about EDI because we know there is no ‘one size fits all’.

We renewed our Disability Confident Employer status to Level 2. All candidates are asked to complete a survey about our recruitment process and we’re committed doing more analysis of the data so we can track our progress towards a more equitable system.

Are we becoming more equitable?

We’re seeing a difference in the diversity of candidates being interviewed and the feedback we get from candidates has been positive.

Comments from candidates include:

• “A fair, effective and easy process”
• “Thought provoking questions that allowed me to recall experience that my CV doesn’t capture.”
• “It was an enjoyable experience being able to express your strengths without the usual CV and cover letter.”
• “I found the application process very creative and challenging, and it really tested me. It made me really think about my work and what I can bring to Renaisi. I really enjoyed it”.
• “The application process was user friendly … which made you feel welcome.”

I’m happy with our progress and I believe that these changes will help Renaisi become a more equitable employer. But equity is a journey and I don’t plan to stop here.

I will continue to look at ways we can improve access to our roles and ensure our staff have a valuable experience working at Renaisi.

Marie Nichols