Diversity Hiring: How Inclusion can Help Your Organization Thrive

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In an article I read recently, I really like the way described inclusion: Inclusion is acceptance, the feeling of confidence and affection, belonging, affinity, and the notion of having power. All of these things need to come together if we are to create an inclusive environment.

The pandemic has been able to bust a lot of myths about remote working; it has wreaked havoc on working women, forcing enterprises to prioritize progress on diversity. There is an urgent need to improve workplace inclusivity, as relook at talent management in general – where we source talent to the skills we look for, advances in our career path, development opportunities—all the way through. In effect, are we allowing people to bring their whole selves to work?

According to a recent Mckinsey article, “COVID-19 runs the risk of wiping out six years of advances on the diverse-workforce front. That’s devastating. COVID-19 has disproportionately affected women and people of color, who tend to be concentrated in sectors that have taken a real pounding during the pandemic.”

Where are we in progress?

If we are looking at junior and managerial cadre, we see great diversity ratios being maintained. Women to men ratio can be as high as 60:40. But as you move on the experience path, we have seen a sharp drop in the representation of women. This phenomenon is called the leaky bucket. This ratio of women representation in the workplace at middle management can vary between 20-30%. This gets progressively worse, as we move into senior leadership level; for example, the number of female CEOs in the Fortune 500 is abysmal. Another area to look for where we can increase the women representation is board representation.

To address the elusive right ratios of diversity, we might have to rewrite the rules of talent hiring?

A lot of what we speak about in terms of talent development is appraisal science and being transparent on what matters objectively in terms of job success. Many businesses are seriously considering this. You can see it in implicit bias preparation, evaluation structure, and assessment teams that major corporations are implementing. And, most importantly, you can see it in the data that is available.

All of the assumptions about the expertise, abilities, qualities, and experiences needed must be challenged vigorously. We often screen candidates based on our personal expectations rather than what is actually predictive of success. Then there’s the need for some good old-fashioned validation. Organisations will need enough performance data, as well as a way to monitor what happens to people who did not make it through the recruitment process. One will be more confident that what they are doing makes sense and doesn’t institutionalise bias due to the way the models are constructed.

To become inclusive, organisations should become intentional about how inclusive they are at the core of everything they are doing. It needs to transcend to every part of the organisation.

In the area of talent acquisition, we can look at 3 fundamental ways we look at our hiring process:

#1 Widen the hiring base/market

Look beyond posting roles. Use the power of working with ecosystems – where you are working with associations like – aspire for her, Jobs for her, Wsquared, Gurgoans moms, Shereos, among others. If the employee base is not already diverse, companies should reconsider their reliance on employee referrals for a more inclusive method. Hiring managers should ask women employees in the company for referrals, and if they are hesitant, examine it as a data point on how the organisation is perceived — then analyse and take action on its systemic issues.

#2 Look beyond asking the obvious cliched questions

Organisations have realised that asking about wage history and career experience leads to a lack of diversity in recruiting. Also having strict guidelines on college degree requirements or alumni status from prestigious colleagues have led to erecting barriers or bias for entry-level recruiting because it has little or no impact on the particular skills required for those positions. Another thing is asking salary background questions have long been used by hiring managers to determine if applicants are too costly or inexperienced, excluding women and minorities from applicant pools. Look beyond the obvious. Look for the individual’s skill and ability that you are hiring for the role and not the college or salary background information.

#3 Do not let Bias creep in

Most common, the hiring manager makes their first impression on the basis of the candidate’s resume and how they present themselves in an interview. This is bias creeping in. To prevent this, have technology help you. Look for tools (example blendoor) which focuses on the individual’s skills and ability and takes the focus away from their gender or race.

Inclusive recruiting practises are the first step toward building a diverse and high performance teams. By adopting an inclusive mindset in your hiring team will help you be successful in hiring a diverse organisation that has a significant impact on the top-line and bottom-line of any organisation. Diversity is one of the most important considerations in any situation, particularly now.

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