Diversity, equality, and inclusion have become key focuses for companies in 2020. While many brands had prioritized these core values previously, the movement to give each candidate equitable footing is gaining traction.
Companies can focus on bringing equality to the workplace by starting with the hiring process. After all, it is hard to have a diverse workplace if you don’t bring on employees from a variety of backgrounds.
Unfortunately, saying you want to diversify your hiring practices and actually diversifying your hiring practices are very different things. Here’s what you need to know to attack the root of the problem.
Diverse Hiring Starts at Diverse Recruiting
Too often, employers will pass the buck when it comes to hiring diversity. “We would love to increase our diversity,” executives might say, “but we don’t have many people of color apply.” Without a diverse talent pool of applicants, hiring managers are more likely to meet with disproportionately while candidates.
The reality is that it is the responsibility of the business to get its job postings in front of diverse audiences. For example, if your employees only attend networking events and job fairs in predominantly white areas, then you will have mostly white applicants.
Plus, you are creating an extra burden for applicants of color to travel outside of their neighborhoods—typically longer distances—than their white counterparts. (And yes, even the most progressive cities still have high levels of segregation, as shown on these maps of large metropolitan areas.)
Start with your recruiting and outreach processes if you are serious about increasing the hiring of diverse candidates. You can’t expect people of color to magically find you.
Look for Ways to Remove Hiring Bias
Even companies that claim to be equal opportunity employers with a focus on diversity may inadvertently create bias in their hiring practices. Resumes are filled with clues about a person’s background, from the college graduation date (which allows employers to estimate age) to name, address, and volunteer experience.
In fact, studies have found that “whitened” resumes, or resumes scrubbed of any racial clues, receive significantly more calls than resumes that hint at a person of color’s race.
There are ways to eliminate bias from the hiring process. The first is with technology. AI tools can focus on the experience only, highlighting the top candidates for hiring managers regardless of race. This filter means that companies would just see the 10 best candidates before they ever considered a person’s background.
Additionally, some companies have systems that specifically hide identifying information, including a person’s name, during the resume evaluation process. You don’t know whether a candidate is male or female, black or white, until you call them for an interview.
Improving your recruiting processes to have a diverse pool of applicants can ensure that a fair number of people of color apply for your jobs. Then, technology can remove unconscious bias that might cause you to call white applicants over the people of color you worked to recruit.
Implement Pay Transparency
It is 2020 and most companies still have a substantial pay gap between men and women (made even worse for women of color). Executives will often bend over backward to justify this difference.
They claim the data comes from women taking maternity leave or that men are simply stronger negotiators or better at the jobs. The reality is that companies save money by paying all women, but particularly women of color, less.
White women make $0.79 to a white man’s dollar. Black women make $0.62 and Hispanic or Latino women make $0.54 when compared to a white man. When these women find out just how much their white and male counterparts make compared to the amount of work they do, they are more likely to quit or move somewhere that will value their services.
This discrimination has led more companies to embrace pay transparency. The idea is that employees can see what their coworkers are paid, making any bias immediately clear. Pay transparency helps recruiting because women and people of color know they will be paid as equals. It also takes the burden off candidates to negotiate a stronger salary.
“Women are less likely to negotiate for a higher salary, and if they do, they can be penalized for behaving too aggressively,” Kim Elsesser writes at Forbes. Companies can reduce turnover and improve their hiring practices by being open about their pay.
It is the job of every employee in the company to promote a diverse work environment and improve the hiring process. The burden doesn’t just fall on the human resources team and should never fall on employees of color or job candidates. Consider how you hire and work with employees at all levels of the hiring process to see how you can improve your diversity.