With so many organizations committed to creating diverse and inclusive cultures, it’s no wonder that some have missed the mark on their diversity imperatives.
I have learned from many of my colleagues that an emphasis has been placed on hiring for the sake of meeting diversity imperatives that have quotas for hiring black and brown people. And while it is well-intentioned, it is also an unrealistic and unsustainable way to recruit, retain talent, and create a truly diverse and inclusive culture. The purpose of diversity and inclusion is not to foster an environment of meeting quotas. The purpose of diversity is to foster an environment in which all members of an organization are treated equitably and can contribute fully to an organization’s mission and embrace its values.
Diversity is the range of human differences that include race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, age, sexual orientation, ability, social class, attributes, or religious or ethical values systems, national origins, and political beliefs. Diversity embraces these differences because they can be engaged and leveraged to achieve organizational excellence.
Inclusion, however, is the activity of diversity, it is the intentional and ongoing engagement of people in the organization and all the activities of that organization with which people connect. Inclusion empowers people to bring their best selves to work, and it is where the inherent worth of all people is recognized. Inclusive organizations promote and sustain a sense of belonging when their values and practices respect the talents, beliefs, backgrounds, and ways of being of its people. So, how can an organization get to a place of diversity? Remove bias!
A colleague of mine said to me that “we all have biases,” and I would agree with that statement, however, it is what we do with our biases that make the difference. Recently, I attended a course on DEIB planning and found myself pondering the recruitment process as it is generally where most black and brown people are rejected as they interview; the idea of blind resumes came to mind. In order to take bias out of the equation in the recruitment process when reviewing resumes, why not a resume that only provides the facts (e.g., character, skills, positions held, and accomplishments) and leaves out, names, addresses, colleges, and universities. Studies have shown that recruiters are more inclined to select resumes with traditional names (e.g., James, John, Cathy) and put aside those with more ethnic names (e.g. Malik, Asia, or Yudi) to move forward to a hiring manager. They are also inclined to only review resumes where the education is deemed ‘Ivy league’, hence an uneven playing field for those who do not have an Ivy League education. My idea solicited a lot of great feedback from my colleagues and most responded that blind resumes would not only be value-added for recruiters but for hiring managers as well allowing them to only focus on the skills and experiences necessary to fill open positions.
Of course, there would have to be some protocol in place to extract only the content needed with which to make informed decisions for hiring talent. It may require rethinking how applicant Applicant Tracking Systems are used or how we eliminate the content temporarily until a decision is made on who to contact for an interview. Another thought that I gave to the process is blind interviews. Why not use our time on lockdown to use the technology at our fingertips to allow the candidate to see the recruiter and not allow the recruiter or hiring manager to see the candidate? This would make the blind interview successful in that one can’t judge what one can’t see. The point here is, in order to remove bias from what we do every day requires us to do something radical that allows organizations to change how they look at people. This is important so that diversity can truly be diverse, valuing the value in others and leveraging it to foster cultures of diverse thought and diverse perspectives.