Now more than ever, employers are focusing on diversity within the workplace. And while it may sound easy to “just hire more diverse staff,” in practice, it isn’t that simple.
Dialing in on Diversity
Diversity in the workplace is about more than an equitable cross-section of culture and talent. Social issues aside, there are measurable advantages to having a more diverse workforce. These include, according to Indeed, an overall increase in creativity and problem-solving, better decision-making, increased profitability and productivity, happier and more engaged employees and an enhanced company reputation.
Done successfully, blind hiring can set the course for culture change. “If you put together a well-thought-out program, it can possibly help your organization achieve greater diversity, or open your eyes to promising job candidates who might have slipped through the cracks before,” says Insperity.
What is Blind Hiring?
Blind hiring aims at eliminating factors that may contribute to biased hiring. A blind hiring process begins with the use of inclusive language in job descriptions. It continues during resume review and candidate screening by removing names, addresses, gender, religion, education and other identifying information so recruiters can focus on the candidate’s qualifications and skills.
Putting it into Practice
Blind hiring is just one facet of a workplace diversity initiative. Companies also should consider staff diversity training and possibly a corporate culture refresh.
SHRM advises that companies develop a strategy before implementing blind hiring practices. Start small and set a goal – hiring more female techs or executives, for instance. Decide what information to hide on resumes and applications. In a few months, measure your results and adjust accordingly.
Make sure your efforts to eliminate bias continue on through the hiring process, notes Harver. “Next to practicing blind hiring, focus on implementing other strategies such as assembling diverse interview panels and using interview scorecards to evaluate candidates.”
Drawbacks of Blind Hiring
Developing a blind hiring process is helpful in eliminating bias, but it is not a perfect tool.
Forbes points out that it can’t overcome all hiring diversity challenges “such as graduates of top college programs being disproportionately white and Asian-American, or the majority of applicants to technology and engineering roles being male.”
SHRM also warns against the “like me” bias -- the very human tendency for hiring managers to inadvertently favor a candidate because of irrelevant details like shared interests or backgrounds.
Some champions of blind hiring recommend extended screening initiatives – asking candidates to complete a project or anonymous questionnaire, for instance. While the approach has some merit, companies risk offending the candidate by appearing impersonal, even robotic.
A More Inclusive Workplace
Removing bias from hiring is just one piece of a workplace diversity initiative. Employers also should consider their current internal demographics, customer base, benefits, mentoring and peer support programs, promotion policies and employee attitudes on inclusion.
For many companies committed to a more inclusive workplace, taking steps to eliminate hiring bias can be a valid first step in their journey toward diversity.
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