Channels Sans Biases

Channels Sans Biases

To begin with, let us take a step back and ask ourselves how many of us truly acknowledge the meaning of the word “diversity”. To the most of us, it means a demographic group like race or gender.  Over the last two decades, I have seen diversity indicated in many boardrooms by means of a pie chart, showing the percentage of male v/s female employees, and, steps taken to increase and/or attract female talent or a distribution of different nationalities in the organisation.  But, in the true sense, diversity means inclusion. Inclusion of people who bring in a unique dimension of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious or political beliefs and other ideologies.


In Quotes “In the true sense, diversity means inclusion. Inclusion of people who bring in a unique dimension of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious or political beliefs and other ideologies.”


How does it all begin at the workplace? What does diversity mean for the existing workforce? What does diversity mean for those responsible to identify and bring in new talent who go on to become part of your existing force? For the existing workforce, it begins with awareness about and acceptance of inclusion- Acceptance that today’s world holds in individuals, who do not conform to set norms and behaviours, and, to see different perspectives through their lens.


For those who have the important role of bringing in the right kind of talent into their organisation, the responsibility is greater. Let us look at the available recruitment channels, or, those waiting to be explored, that can help us recruit the right fit profiles for the organisation.


1. The job description must be drafted with care to attract more diverse candidates.  Refrain from using words like “dominate” and “ambitious” which seem to indicate more masculine traits.  It can pose as a deterrent in the minds of the female candidates.


2. The workplace culture must be more appealing to attract diverse candidates. Work-life balance and flexible work schedule are clear differentiators for the millennial workforce, who do not want to be trapped in a conservative “captive attendance” set-up.


3. Find a valid and reliable personality assessment tool/partner. The tools make use of inputs from candidate and aid in measuring personality traits, motivations, and skills.  Studies have shown that personality assessments increase workplace diversity because they do not reflect adverse impact i.e. personality scores do not differ for minority group members.


4. Take advantage of third party websites to post your open roles. I say this since referral schemes are a huge success in most organisations. However, the downside is that the candidate pipeline can be a bottleneck for diversity, where there is heavy reliance on hiring through referrals, and in general, people’s networks comprise those who are similar to them demographically. In addition to the above, provide the candidates with ways to find out more information about your company and employees. This can be best achieved by creating a unique, media‑rich page of your company showcasing your culture, leadership and employees.


5. Strategic seeding of your pipelines with more diverse candidates will bring good results. Research shows that when the final candidate pool has one minority candidate, this candidate has virtually zero chances of getting hired. However, a “two in the pool effect” represents a promising method for overcoming unconscious biases and increasing diversity in the workplace.


6. If there are at least two female candidates in the final candidate pool.


7. One of the main barriers to increasing workplace diversity is the lack of an official diversity recruitment policy or system.


8. Good intentions are insufficient to overcome pipeline issues and unconscious biases that interfere with the hiring of the best candidates, and, more diverse candidates. Recruiters and talent acquisition departments need organisational support to put in place a system that has shown itself to be effective at increasing workplace diversity.


9. Research showing the most promising methods for recruiting more diverse candidates includes automated screening using AI and blind hiring.


Innovation 1: Resume screening using AI


1. Technology that uses AI is enabling recruiters and talent acquisition professionals to automate the most tedious and time-consuming part of their day - screening resumes and shortlisting candidates.


2. Automated resume screening increases diversity by replacing manual shortlisting.


.3. This allows you to have a system that objectively and consistently applies shortlisting criteria across all candidates, which reduces problems related to compliance and discrimination.


4. Automated resume screening software lives inside your existing ATS (Applicant Tracking System) that automates candidate shortlisting without disrupting your workflow or the candidate application process.


5. This software uses your existing resume database to learn about employees’ experience, education, and other characteristics and applies this knowledge to new applicants to rate, rank, and shortlist the strongest candidates, free from unconscious biases.


Innovation 2: Blind resumes


1. The most common blind hiring method being tested currently is to remove the candidate’s name from their resume.


2. The theory behind removing the candidate’s name from his or her application is that it helps recruiters make decisions that are free of unconscious biases regarding the candidate’s race and gender. Other identifying personal information that is being removed from resumes is graduation year, college names, and even addresses.


3. This helps you identify high quality candidates because it enables you to more objectively evaluate a candidate’s skills, knowledge, and, the potential to succeed.


4. However, unless you use software that is dedicated to anonymising profiles and resumes, it can be time-consuming or even impossible to do on your own.


Innovation 3: Blind interviews


1. Extending the blind resume concept is the blind interview.


2. Companies are implementing blind interviews by removing personal identifying information from applications and getting candidates to anonymously answer job-related questions.


3. However, the recruitment process for candidates at most organisations includes a phone screen. It is almost impossible to anonymise a voice over a phone call unless you are using technology that is specifically going to do this for you.


While these methods and tools can assist in supporting and increasing diversity in our organisations, true change can only be brought about when we break free of the shackles that bind us in our minds to accepting unique individuals for the skills and competencies that they bring to the role, rather than their backgrounds and preferences.  The world is changing, and so must we, if we want to keep up without losing out.

Judy Manjlekar is the HR Director, India Operating Centre, TechnipFMC. She wields an experience of 20 years in HR and has worked in some of the leading organisations such as Baker Hughes Inc. and Omron. She joined TechnipFMC in 2013 as the Head-HR. Judy has an MBA in HR from National Institute of Business Management, Chennai and a degree in Humanities from Mumbai University.


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