What do Coca-Cola and Roche have in common?
One is an American company that sells a convenience product on a massive global scale (Their website even states that their logo is recognized by 94% of the world’s population). The other is a Swiss pharmaceutical company, perhaps best known for selling the world’s top three cancer drugs. Other than their size and international presence, Coca-Cola and Roche sell very different products, for very different purposes, and often to very different consumers.
And yet, they both share a key mission: the desire to recruit top talent. In today’s era of globalization, organizations with vastly disparate products or initiatives are not necessarily competing based on location or direct rivalries (ergo Toyota versus Ford). International corporations virtually everywhere are in many ways competing to recruit people with similar skills and competencies. In other words, they’re all competing with each other. Plus, the talent pool appears to be shrinking.
So, in order to stay competitive, organizations need to consider how they can most effectively recruit the best employees. To accomplish this, organizations should adopt a more inclusive approach.
What Is an Inclusive Approach?
If you’re wondering what “inclusive approach” means, you’re in the right place. Inclusion is the practice of acknowledging and integrating diverse identities, backgrounds, and perspectives so that everyone feels welcomed and valued. This inherently involves holding yourself (and others) accountable for practicing inclusive behaviors.
But in order to modify our behavior, we have to understand what we’re modifying. That’s where implicit bias enters the picture. If you aren’t already familiar, implicit bias is the result of your brain’s natural tendency to take shortcuts. More specifically, the human brain unconsciously compresses our analysis of our environment or circumstances by identifying patterns and similarities to help us make decisions more quickly.
This can be useful for making snap judgments, but it’s thoroughly unhelpful when we want to embrace new ideas and practices. The pillar of an inclusive approach to recruitment and hiring is the practice of monitoring for implicit bias and adopting best practices for reducing or eliminating its potential.
Why Is It Important to Implement Inclusive Hiring Practices?
Think about it: job seekers want to work for companies where they feel valued and purposeful. This is especially true of Millennials, who comprise an increasingly large portion of the global workforce. In order to successfully recruit top talent, companies need to make a strong case for themselves so that candidates will want to choose them over another employer.
In other words, it’s not just potential employees who need to prove themselves—employers must have a solid resumé, too!
What’s more, evidence shows that inclusion fosters the creativity and innovation that make diversity so valuable. Establishing inclusive policies is the natural step forward because it makes an available position more appealing to a broader range of candidates. If these practices are consistently implemented, organizations not only improve engagement and productivity of current employees, but they also develop a reputation of inclusivity that will serve them in future recruitment efforts.
Practical “How To’s” to Help You Hire inclusively
So, let’s get started! Below are some tips on how to develop the inclusive approach that give companies a competitive advantage in the “war for talent.”
- Start with the job listing itself. Modify wording to be gender-neutral and inclusive. Make sure that required skills focus on core competencies, and revise any unnecessary requirements. For example, an advanced degree would likely be an advantage, but it might not be absolutely necessary.
- Broaden your recruitment efforts. Use additional online platforms or attend community events to seek out diverse talent pools. Partnering with universities can be a great start, particularly those that serve minorities, such as Historically Black College and Universities (HBCUs) and Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs).
- Reduce bias during the screening process. Use pre-employment tests to assess critical skills, and remove any identifying information when reviewing resumes, such as the candidate’s name and educational background.
- Don’t mess up the interview! Standardize interview questions so they are the same for each candidate, and have a panel of diverse interviewers present and taking notes. Interviewers can then compare different perspectives and make a more objective and collaborative decision.
- Slow…down. Spend time evaluating your reasoning, and take more time than feels natural to make a final decision. This gives you and your associates another opportunity to monitor for any unchecked biases.
The way companies approach recruitment can have a strong impact on the type of job seeker to whom they appeal. It’s not really effective to claim to be an equal opportunity employer if, for example, the job description isn’t inviting to people with disabilities, or if the position is only listed on websites that target more experienced professionals. Cultivating diversity by prioritizing inclusivity in recruitment efforts might require some systematic changes, but it’s the best way to get top-notch results.