Written by: Team PredictiveHire
Diversity hiring and six top tips to get it working for you
To find out how to interpret bias in recruitment, we also have a great eBook on inclusive hiring.
What is workplace diversity?
While workplace diversity might once have been considered a ‘nice to have’, today it’s a ‘must-have’ for employers who recognise the value it brings to their organisation.
The idea of workplace diversity is that the people in any organisation’s team should reflect the society in which we live – that is people of different genders, different ages and different ethnic and cultural backgrounds. That seems logical and simple enough, yet achieving diversity is still a struggle for many.
What does diversity look like?
Today, workplace diversity is not just about increasing female representation and employing team members from different cultural backgrounds. While these are great goals, true diversity is about so much more.
Diversity can be broadly sorted into two categories:
Inherent – effectively the defining traits and characteristics we are born with – gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, socio-economic background, religious and cultural backgrounds.
Acquired – reflecting our experience of the world around us and covering things like education, life knowledge, learned values and skills, socio-economic mobility, political beliefs. These are developed, earned or achieved over time.
It’s the combination of inherent and acquired traits that make people and societies diverse. This holistic view of culture, background, life experience, education, values and perspectives is a top priority for recruiters and employers alike.
What is diversity hiring?
Diversity hiring simply describes the processes of recruiting that supports diversity in the workplace.
Diversity hiring is not about increasing workplace diversity for the sake of diversity. Diversity hiring is all about giving every candidate an equal opportunity, regardless of their background. It’s about identifying and removing any steps in sourcing, screening and shortlisting candidates that may allow discrimination against candidates and personal characteristics that have nothing to do with their ability to do the job such as gender, age, religion, sexual orientation and so on.
By removing biases against individuals or groups of candidates, the process of finding the best candidates to be considered for the role can be based on merit and all the qualities identified as essential for the role and the organisation.
A fairer path to recruitment considers the experience of the candidate at every single step.
From discovering an opportunity through to offer. It addresses bias, inclusivity and fairness. And ideally, it makes recruiters’ lives easier. This is explored in the Inclusive Hiring e-Book here >
Why do you need diversity?
Diversity is embraced by companies who understand the value it brings to their business.
In their 2018 report Delivering through Diversity, McKinsey&Company found that:
- Companies in the top-quartile for gender diversity on executive teams were 21% more likely to outperform on profitability and 27% more likely to have superior value creation.
- Beyond gender, companies in the top-quartile for ethnic/cultural diversity on executive teams were 33% more likely to have industry-leading profitability. This diversity included traits such as age and generation, international experience and LGBTQIA+ representation.
While McKinsey’s study was focused on US global companies, their findings are reflected in other studies, white papers and shared experiences of organisations all around the world.
They confirm that workplace diversity impacts a wide range of business metrics:
- better performance and productivity
- business growth
- improved problem-solving abilities
- increased creativity and innovation
- a sense of belonging that boosts employees’ health and wellbeing
- fewer incidents of discrimination or harassment in the workplace
- improved employee retention and tenure
- enhanced reputation as an employer
It’s what employees want too
Unsurprisingly, diversity in the workplace can be a deal maker or breaker for millennial and GenZ job seekers. Deloitte found that 83% of millennials are more engaged when they can know a company fosters an inclusive culture.
But it’s not just the next generations. A recent survey by Glassdoor found that 67% of all candidates say it’s an important factor when considering employment opportunities while more than 50% of current employees want their workplace to do more to increase diversity.
Diversity hiring laws
While there’s no doubt that diversity hiring is good for business, for any organisation that doesn’t embrace diversity, the opposite can also be true. Apart from missing out on the benefits that diversity brings to productivity, employee satisfaction and business reputation, employers also risk breaking the law.
Within Australia, diversity is supported by national and state laws that cover equal employment opportunity, human rights, and anti-discrimination in the workplace. It’s essential that all employers understand their own responsibilities and the rights of employees or job candidates. The cost of non-compliance can be severe while the damage to an organisation’s reputation could be matched by irreparable damage to sales, business contracts and their employer brand.
In Australia, it is unlawful to disadvantage employees and job seekers in any way because of their:
- sexual orientation
- physical or mental disability
- marital status
- family or carer’s responsibilities
- political opinion
- national extraction (place of birth or ancestry)
- social origin (class, caste or socio-occupational category)
- industrial activities (such as belonging to a trade union)
Unconscious bias – it’s a human condition
Whether innate or learned, everybody is capable of unconscious bias. Reinforced by our own personal experiences, cultural background, beliefs and world view, bias is how we feel about something – a person or group of people, an idea, a thing – and how we use those feelings to make judgements and decisions about those people or things, often instantaneously.
Psychologists and researchers have identified over 150 types of bias that impact the way we engage, assess and interact with others. In the recruitment process that’s 150 ways that otherwise suitably qualified candidates can be overlooked, ignored, put aside or deliberately discounted. You can read more about unconscious bias in our article here.
Algorithms do the job humans can’t
Because unconscious bias is a universal and inherently human condition, it’s a problem that can’t be solved by any amount of bias training or awareness.
So if humans can’t solve the very human problem, what can be done? Sapia has solved the issue of unconscious bias in hiring by taking humans out of the process for top-of-funnel interview screening through an Artificial Intelligence enabled chat interview platform. It’s an easy way to implement data-driven decision-making with a structured and automated process that provides a level playing field for all candidates.
Six more ways to build your diversity hiring capabilities
Adopting Sapia Ai-enabled decision-making to remove bias from the early interview process is one of the easiest ways to get diversity hiring working for you. Here are some further ideas from Sapia’s team to help increase diversity in candidate sourcing, screening and, ultimately, hiring.
1. Agree your diversity priorities and goals
More female graduates in technical roles? A better cultural spread across the organisation? More women in middle management? Without understanding how diversity hiring supports your business plans, how would you ever know you’re making progress? Diversity hiring strategies and initiatives should be agreed by your leadership team, documented in HR plans and socialised among all stakeholders.
2. Develop your employer brand and policies that support diversity
Developing a reputation as an employer who values and nurtures diversity starts with your own people. Talk to your people to hear what’s important to them and understand if they think any policies (or attitudes) are holding diversity back. Talk to your team about diversity and the benefits it can bring.
Think about policies that may support more diversity in your workplace. Beyond hiring, it may be providing extra time off for community events or religious festivals, or simply providing workplace flexibility and freedom for employees to be comfortable being themselves.
The more your team buy into policies that support, value and celebrate diversity, the more your reputation as a diversity employer will organically grow. And the more it grows, the easier diversity hiring will become… as candidates who value diversity will be lining up to work with you.
3. Use your ATS to build diverse talent pools
Sapia’s automated interview platform is designed to integrate seamlessly with leading Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS). Even before the interview process, use screening tools in the ATS to filter and sort candidates on skills, qualifications or experience alone. This blind screening to identify candidates with the best potential adds an additional layer of bias-free screening to your diversity hiring.
4. Mind your language and rethink your screening factors for diversity
Undertaking a review of past job ads can help you see where bias may have crept into your recruiting process. Is your language inclusive? Would all candidates feel they could apply regardless of age, gender or cultural background? While being careful not to actually be biased, your words can talk more directly to the candidates you want to attract and explain why they’d be a great fit for your team.
While you’re reviewing the way you reach out to candidates, also consider whether you’re screening or interviewing for the qualities you actually value most or you’re unconsciously guiding the process towards certain types or profiles. Sometimes you need to ask others to check your own bias.
5. Add some diversity into your candidate sourcing
Is it time to fish for candidates in a different talent pool? If you’re relying on the same sources and same screening factors, you’re likely to keep cultivating the same type of candidate. Think about where and how you can connect with a more diverse candidate pool.
If you are targeting more women in specific roles, for example, find relevant interest or networking groups online or within platforms such as LinkedIn and talk to candidates directly. Ask your female employees to recommend their own connections or former colleagues and share job leads. The same principle applies to reaching out to any particular demographic or skill set and employees appreciate having their opinions and recommendations heard and valued.
6. Consider some affirmative action
Especially when you’re starting your diversity hiring journey, you may want to help things along with specific diversity programs that could offer an internship or traineeship to candidates of specific backgrounds. Consider working with local schools, colleges or community groups to make connections and target the appropriate up and coming candidates. It can also be a great way to engage and motivate your own team in supporting diversity hiring goals.
Sapia: Blind screening at its best
Sapia solves bias by screening and evaluating candidates with a simple open, transparent interview via a text conversation.
Candidates know text and trust text and questions can be tailored to suit the requirements of the role and the organisation’s brand values. Unlike competitors, Sapia has no video hookups, visual content or voice data. No CVs and no data extracted from social channels. All of which can be triggers for bias– unconscious or otherwise.
Sapia’s solution is designed to provide every candidate with a great experience that respects and recognises them as the individual they are. People are more than their CV and candidates appreciate the opportunity to tell their story in their own words, in their own time. Sapia is the only conversational interview platform with 99% candidate satisfaction feedback. You can read more about blind screening in our article here.