Diversity & Inclusion: It Starts With Hiring

Improving diversity and inclusion in the workplace has taken center stage for many organizations. In light of recent national events, it has come into clear focus many organizations lack a truly satisfactory level of diversity and inclusion. Organizations know they must do better – we all must do better.

Organizations by law must adhere to equal opportunities for employment, which includes how you hire and retain talent. The level of diversity and inclusion in a workforce can be a direct reflection of current hiring practices. Your HR staff and recruiters are the frontline workers who can impact, positively or negatively, the diversity in your workplace.

We should all be examining our recruiting and hiring practices for discrimination and bias. Research has claimed all individuals have unconscious biases, and these biases influence our decisions whether we know it or not. Being in a position to make a direct impact, we should be asking each other and our colleagues how can we reduce any bias in our hiring processes.

One way we can overcome our own biases is with honest conversations. The Office of Diversity at the University of California San Francisco suggests “sharing your biases can help others feel more secure about exploring their own biases.” These conversations must take place in a safe space with everyone being open to differing perspectives. Start having these discussions with each other and within your talent acquisition team.

Here are two example scenarios you can discuss and review as a team:

  1. A position is open which requires an employee to work more than 10 hours a day. The HR team uncovers a pattern where the hiring manager is not interviewing female candidates. Could the hiring manager be automatically rejecting female candidates with the notion a woman would not be able to commit to the long hours due to childcare obligations?
  2. A new job opening receives hundreds of resumes across your desk. You begin to glance over the names of candidates and make a realization – you have discarded all the applicants whose names you cannot easily pronounce. How do you overcome this implicit bias?

Discussing these issues within a workplace are often sensitive conversations. Including a third party, such as a recruiting firm, in these discussions can add new perspectives, call out potential groupthink, and keep accountability for genuinely improving diversity and inclusion. Even if you are not utilizing external recruiting services, the expertise and neutral insight a third-party recruiting firm can add to these conversations is invaluable.

Unconscious bias affects our decision making, which ultimately impacts the hiring within an organization. The responsibility of improving diversity and inclusion falls on all of us. Now is the time to start the dialogue and take the necessary steps to move forward.