Diversity, Equitable, and Inclusive hiring practices are some of the common terminologies we come across in several organizations globally. Some companies practice their diversity values as part of their culture, while a few do not have a robust diversity culture.
Inclusivity and diverse hiring practices start at the helm of the organization. But, unfortunately, unconscious bias is deeply ingrained in our system, and we find it difficult to break free from such redundant thought processes.
After all, an organization is reflects its people, and if we do not follow what we preach, we are bound to face a rebuttal.
For example, the rebranding initiative of Victoria’s Secret created a ripple effect in the fashion industry. Aiming to promote inclusivity, VS launched a body-positivity collection showcasing its products for all types of bodies and personalities. It does not discriminate between genders, races, or body types. It was a much-needed change to help them break the shackles of their stereotypical perfect ‘angelic’ body image. But this is a product we are referring to.
How does it relate to recruitment?
Before we step into that, let us understand a few things.
What is diversity and inclusivity?
Diversity refers to the co-existence of different groups of people irrespective of their orientation. Their personality, characteristics, and cognitive skills make them unique and do not revolve around race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, cultural background, etc.)
Similarly, inclusivity refers to equal opportunities and availability of resources for people irrespective of their physical or mental abilities.
DE&I practices in organizations, including recruitment agencies, can help eliminate the first-level bias and prepare a more robust talent force for the future.
Why it matters?
Inclusive and diverse recruitment practices help organizations grow by leaps and bounds and creates a happier workplace. As per a Gartner study, by 2022, nearly 75% of companies with inclusive and diverse decision-making teams will exceed their financial targets. In addition, the study found that unbiased, diverse, and inclusive workplaces and groups outperformed their less inclusive counterparts by nearly 50%.
Now that’s a whopping number to pay consider!
Companies with a diverse leadership team report higher innovation revenue- nearly 45% total revenue versus a mere 26% according to a 2018 BCG report.
How can we create a diverse mindset and build a better team?
Training and educating recruiters
Recruitment is the first spoken contact for any candidate while applying for a job. It is our responsibility to build an ongoing process of educating the team about diversity and inclusivity. Create a program to educate the team of recurring unconscious or subconscious biases to make an organization more inclusive.
Humans make nearly 1 decision every 2.5 seconds, so you can imagine how many decisions we make during the day! There is a chance of bias slipping in amidst those nearly 35000 decisions every day. However, we can make continuous efforts to remove judgements based on bias.
Some biases that exist even today-
- Confirmation bias refers to how we perceive the person and their capabilities within the first 10 minutes of meeting them.
- Superficial bias includes physical factors such as hair color, tattoos, accent, looks, etc.
- The Halo effect influences recruiters to concentrate on just one positive assumptive aspect of a potential employee, forgoing any red flags they may see. It results in hiring the wrong person for the wrong position.
- Attraction or similarity bias influences our decision due to something we might have in common with the candidate, such as the same school or the same city, etc.
These are a few that predominantly play at the back of our mind. However, through continuous training, feedback sessions, and process alignment, we can remove these biases.
Inclusive job descriptions
The first thing a candidate notice is your job description.
It goes to say; you have to be meticulous in drafting one. Your job description is not only a gateway to applications; it is also impressionable. There was a time when recruitment agencies and corporates could get away with writing mediocre and gender-oriented job descriptions.
But is this the case today?
There is a ‘whitening’ of resumes that happens even today. The underrepresented or minority communities often resort to such measures to get a job. They want to fit in, build a career, and get a job. As a result, nearly 40% of candidates with minority names got fewer callbacks.
We need to write a job description showcasing that ‘we mean what we say.’
- Instead of using masculine words in job descriptions such as– proven, analysis, strong, drive, confident, etc., we can use gender-neutral alternatives such as committed, motivating, proficient, inspire, collaborative, people, demonstrated, dependable.
- Check pronouns and avoid using “S/he” but instead use “You” to create a better impact.
- Stop using superlatives.
- Eliminate ‘nice-to-haves’ requirements and keep the ‘must-haves’ as it shows the clarity you have. Women usually apply for a job only when they meet 100% of the requirement, while men may apply for the same position even if they meet 60%.
- Express your values, commitment to DE&I, etc., in your job description to make the candidates feel welcome.
- The above marks the first step in making your selections and hiring decisions diverse and inclusive.
Diverse Interviewers or Interview Panel
A diverse interview panel comprises people of varying backgrounds, orientations, and opinions. It helps in eliminating any bias that may arise through the course of the interview. The diversity of the interviewers can differ based on sexual orientation, gender, race, experience, and skills.
An interview intends to understand a candidate. With a diverse interview panel, you get a balanced outcome in assessing the skills, experience, and passion for working with you. As per SurveyMonkey, a study of nearly 2,600 U.S. adults revealed that 79% of job seekers today want to work for a place that hires people from diverse backgrounds. However, only one-third (34%) of people said they meet with a diverse interview panel. It needs to change!
Asking the right questions
Your recruiters need the training to ask behavioral or hypothetical questions, along with the most pertinent ones. It elicits better responses and allows candidates to showcase their skills. For example, asking them if they have led a team before closes a conversation. However, you can ask how they plan to scale or grow a team if the opportunity arises. Good questions receive inclusive and responsive answers. By not asking good questions, you make might make the candidate feel underestimated or under-utilized.
Whatever you do as an organization or agency, big or small, you have to drive an inclusive culture from within. You have to put your culture statements out in beautiful bold words and practice what you preach.
You cannot expect your recruiter to talk about diversity if they do not get a fair chance! And this change is driven top-down. It starts with the leaders and flows through the employees.
A diverse mindset can flourish if the leaders lay a diverse and inclusive foundation, helping reshape a company’s efforts. The culture is built from the time an organization comes into existence. Culture is not built overnight but nurtured every day with small visible and invisible steps.
Before we part ways…
Most companies fail to meet a diverse and inclusive hiring process, but instead tend to dwell only on achievements, quick turnaround, and gender limitations. The need of the hour is to nurture your immediate team of recruiters and managers to help make better hiring decisions.
Diversity and inclusivity are not another check box from your to-do list. When you have a team with diverse mindsets and thought processes, you tend to make better decisions and outgrow competition. Introducing systems and techniques go a long way in building an inclusive recruitment team and encouraging better hires.