Hiring for diversity is the smarter way to do business
Did you ever ask yourself how you feel about certain things? Or on the contrary, how others feel about the same things? Starting to investigate your perspective in contrast to others will most definitely bring light to the fact that we see things differently. But it is our unconscious, preconceived biases that constantly affects us. By examining our own biases you will discover hidden and sometimes negative stereotypes that affect how we relate to other people.
Because everyone has biases. You, me, your boss, your colleague, the miss congeniality-friend, your partner… Well, I think you get the picture. It´s a good thing to address and be aware of. Because if you already have a picture of what type of staff you want to hire, it’s difficult to change that image it. Not only that, most of us are actually not really aware of our own bias when recruiting new people to our organisation.
Ingrained human biases
Let me give you an example: the librarian. In Sweden a typical bias for this person is that this is a white woman in her mid-fifties, in a grey cardigan, flats, a tight hairstyle, and glasses. She may hide amongst the bookcases and jump forward when you least expect it to silence children who talk too loudly. When you see her in front of you, she may have an index finger in front of her mouth and ask you to lower your voice.
Because in libraries, you are only allowed whisper. But why is this how we picture a librarian? Did everyone in Sweden see a librarian just like her when they grew up? Or maybe they´ve seen a “typical” librarian in movies or so on. And this is only one bias, based on one country. Of course, the prejudice of a librarian can look very different in another part of the world.
Diversify your recruitment and find hidden talent
Regular hiring may often give you candidates that reflect the company’s employees. Or even reflect your own bias of who you think the candidate should be. If you instead choose to use the praxis of diversity hiring you will have a much wider range of candidates. They will be based on merit with special care taken to ensure procedures have reduced biases. Especially those related to the candidates age or gender, color of skin, religion, sexual orientation, socio-economic background. Or other personal characteristics that are unrelated to work performances.
To identify and reduce likely preconceptions in sourcing, screening, and shortlisting, you should make your process objective and fair. This will help you source candidates that may be overlooked or unintentionally discriminated against. An example is to remove the barrier of anything that is not related to the skill set.
Increase innovation and creativity
In McKinsey & Company’s report (Diversity Wins: How inclusion matters) from 2020, they state that companies and institutions with greater levels of diversity are achieving better financially. With the right conditions and leadership, mixed groups are more innovative and creative, and in addition, the work environment is proven better by diversity. Another effect of conscious diversity work is that it increases the company’s trustworthiness in relation to customers, users, and the outside world.
Because having employees with different skills and backgrounds gives us knowledge and perspectives that help us understand the different needs of the target groups. Having diverse staff also enables us to understand and meet the needs of people. By taking different perspectives into consideration, you also create an atmosphere that supports positive relationships and communications. When a company is dominated by one type of individuals their collective blind spot will add up to tunnel vision.