Forgive me, but I just have to get to the point of this blog in the first couple of lines:
Everyone is good at something.
Everyone deserves the chance to make a difference.
Got it? Good. Maybe I can now explain how a cute Dragon in the UK retailer John Lewis Christmas ad encapsulates the need for diverse thinking during the hiring process.
Edgar is a dragon, who can’t help but feel excited about Christmas. Unfortunately, he is only really good for running around and burning things, so snowmen, skating ponds and Christmas trees don’t last long with him around. Everywhere that Edgar goes, his unique “talent” for spitting fire is far from appreciated.
He isn’t much good at anything else and he becomes disheartened.
However, he does have one friend. Someone who believes in him.
This little girl is the daughter of the village baker. One day, as she is watching some bread being baked in the flames of the oven, she has an idea. Edgar is awesome at something, he just needs to find his niche in the festive season.
Cut to the big reveal….
The girl and Edgar enter a hall with a banqueting table filled with delicious food. All the citizens cower away from Edgar, fearing the worst. With a knowing smile, the girl pulls out a Christmas pudding (covered in brandy) and Edgar sets it alight, as is the custom in the U.K.
Everyone cheers. Edgar smiles and looks up gratefully at his friend.
She knew that he was different, but she also believed that his difference could be useful.
If you believe in the power of diversity, you too will help others to find their difference.
Acknowledging the power of diversity in a corporate setting (as well as in wider life) is currently at an inflection point. There is lots of positive noise about how valuable diversity is, but until business decisions start being made to reflect this thinking, it will simply remain a “nice idea” that is only worthy of lip service.
Recruiters and hiring managers can play a huge part in giving the diverse workforce of the future their first few big breaks. Just as the girl believed in Edgar, why can’t recruiters and hiring managers broaden their criteria a little sometimes and look at what candidates can bring to the table (rather than what they can’t).
Diversity only has a chance to shine when it is given a chance.
(Image credit: John Lewis / Waitrose)