Diversity and Inclusion. Rooney to the rescue?

Diversity and inclusion is a topic gaining momentum within the recruitment and HR world with many businesses ensuring a greater breadth of workforce across an organisation. It’s been argued that the more diverse an organisation, the more together and therefore productive they are.

Most recently the public news on gender pay gaps highlighted the fact this is a wider issue that needs tackling quickly.

Although you wouldn’t tend to think of American Football and diversity in the same sentence, the NFL took the lead on this issue back in 2003.

The Rooney Rule. Nothing to do with Wayne and Coleen, this is a policy that the NFL put in place and requires league teams to interview ethnic-minority candidates for head coaching and senior football operation jobs.

Although no preference is given to ethnic minority candidates, it at least ensures a greater mix within a recruiting shortlist and a chance for those minorities to impress and be hired for a job they wouldn’t have had that chance to even interview for in the past.

Away from the NFL, companies like Facebook and Pinterest have put similar policies in place when it comes to hiring. A sign perhaps that established brands are taking diversity and inclusion seriously when hiring talent.

Moving forwards, should the Rooney Rule be a policy that more or perhaps every company should look to implement? In some candidate short markets (especially across many Digital areas like Marketing, Tech, Development etc) you’re lucky if you can get 3 suitable candidates, let alone they allow for ethnic or gender diversity. So how practical would this be in a day to day environment?

Personally speaking, a policy in place like this means it’s on your mind, and if it’s on your mind it’s beginning to take a priority. This will mean future improvements to the rule can take shape resulting in a more effective, balanced, productive, and diverse workforce.


Originally written in June 2018.