Diversity in the workplace has definitely been a hot topic this year. It’s becoming more common for people to expect a business to have more than an Equality and Diversity policy but to show how they are taking steps to create a more diverse workforce.
Last week, Jemma attended an In-house Recruitment event and the speakers confirmed many of the things that we have been saying for years. She heard firsthand how employing people from marginalised groups is good for business, people from these groups bring fresh ideas to the workplace, problem-solving is improved as new perspectives are brought to the group and clients love to see people that they can identify themselves with.
At the conference, Jemma sat in on a talk by Neil Armstrong of Tripad. A good measure of how well an organisation is doing in terms of hiring talent from a diverse ethnic background is to look at the demographics of the location.
Neil discussed working with a City Council whose location was made of 40% people from Black, Asian and others from an Ethnic Minority background however, the workers from this background only made up 18% of the workforce.
The council wanted some practical solutions to see whether or not this percentage could be improved. One measure was to introduce blind applications, this is where CV’s and applications are stripped of personal information which can identify a person such as a name, suffix, date of birth, and address. The result of this meant that the workers from Black, Asian, and Ethnic Minority backgrounds increased from 18% to 39%.
Automating The Interview Process
Another business at the exhibition found that hiring managers would ask candidates the same question but in a different way, this was not done deliberately but it did mean that some candidates had an unfair advantage.
The business decided to automate the way in which questions were asked and they too found an increase in diversity of the candidates that were hired.
Use A Diverse Panel
A well-known psychology theory is that people like people like themselves. There is something comforting about familiarity and this is often the case in interviews. The thing we like might not be that it is a man or a woman or that they are black or white, it could be that we have a similar mannerism or taste in music of fashion sense.
So, it makes sense to interview people as a panel and to ensure that the panel is not made up of the same types of people. Some businesses will argue that they are too small and that they don’t have enough people from diverse backgrounds who can form a panel. There is a solution to this. You can borrow people from other businesses, ask for a non-executive director or even put someone on a panel who is not yet management.
What Else Can You Do?
Of course, these three steps are not the only way to improve diversity at work and there is no guarantee that the diverse talent hired will be retained. There are other factors that need to be addressed such as inclusivity and company culture, ensuring that leadership is diverse even if that includes mentorship and leadership programs, dealing with internal bias and so much more.
That being said, if you are looking for 3 practical steps to hiring a diverse talent pool you could try the above.