Identify the bias. Identify and create a plan of action to rectify the source that’s bringing in any type of bias or favoritism in the workplace. Is it in the application screening? Or when you meet the candidate for the first time? Do you see a pattern of the type of people that are being promoted? Is there a specific individual or team of people at your workplace that consistently passes on certain resumes or applicants? It’s important to find the root of the bias and work from there.
Ask an outside expert. It can be difficult to see the mistakes that your company might be making when you’re right in the middle of it, every single day. Admit where you are and reach out for help. Don’t assume you know where to go next. Hire an outside expert with fresh eyes who can help you identify the problems of your hiring process and guide you with a concrete plan. Keep in mind you’ll be tackling sensitive topics, so discussing it with someone outside your organization would also work in your company’s favor.
Get feedback. If you have a diverse group of close friends, gather them for dinner and ask if you can discuss bias in the hiring process. Listen to their stories and see what insight you might be able to gain from their experience or views. Ask if they’ve worked for companies with an ideal hiring process or what they would change if they could. This can be extremely helpful to your next steps.
Work alongside recruiters who are genuine. Find a recruiter that celebrates diversity and is completely up front that it’s an important value to them. Let them know that you value and desire an unbiased candidate flow that supports the diverse environment your company needs. Make sure they’re genuine, this means that you find more material or content other than just legal jargon at the bottom of a website footer when it comes to the subject of diversity. If they’re tip-toeing around the topic or brush past it just so they “check a box” that they’ve covered it, this isn’t who you want to work alongside with. You want a recruiter that addresses the situation head-on. There aren’t many of them out there, but it’s important to seek this out to build the best hiring foundation for your company.
Be transparent with your team and potential candidates. Going forward, transparency is key. If you’re going through great lengths to change your hiring process to prevent biases and to build more diversity, your employees should know. Send an email out or have a company meeting to explain the new process. This isn’t so you can get a pat on the back for “doing the right thing” or to expose your wrongdoings in the past — but so you can let them know that you are aware and so that the topic of diversity is no longer “taboo” to discuss at the workplace. Employees will feel like they can talk about it with their peers and go to HR if they have concerns. Take it a step further, and place your new initiative on your company website where your application process lives. Potential candidates will have the opportunity to see that even though your company might look like a specific image now, that you’re aware and you’re diligently trying to change that. Github did exactly that, check out their CEO’s letter on diversity and inclusion. (Also includes insightful infographics and charts.)
These tips are from a recent article called We're Hiring...but only those who look like us. Let me know what tips you find helpful and if you have any that have assisted you with removing bias in the hiring process and the workplace.
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Humanity. Ubuntu. Efficiency. These key values create the foundation for inclusive and healthy workplace cultures. U.S-based Culture Circle, founded by Charisse Fontes, is the only Black-owned, Woman-run Culture Consulting Agency that transforms the employee experience through the lens of anthropology and humanity. Connect with our tribe here.