ATTRACTING DIVERSE TALENT BY OVERCOMING UNCONSCIOUS BIASES
Workforce diversity is critical to an organization’s abil-ity
to adapt and thrive in today’s rapidly changing
environment. Diversity is the presence of differ-ences
in gender, age, experience, culture and more.
Diversity alone is insufficient – you also need to practice inclusion.
An example to outline the difference: diversity is being invited to
the dance, but inclusion is actually getting up and dancing.
Although there are many types of diversity, this article will fo-cus
on gender diversity.
To be successful in fostering a culture of diversity and inclusion,
this must be a priority not only for HR, but also the organization’s
top leadership. At BlueShore Financial, women comprise 44 per
cent of leaders at the assistant vice president and vice president
levels. A commitment to gender diversity ensures opportunities
are equally available and attractive to women and that the process
is fair to all. It does not mean discriminating in favour of women in
hiring or other practices. Decisions are based on merit, not gender.
ATTRACTING A DIVERSE SET OF CANDIDATES
A diverse workforce can be achieved only if there is diversity in
hiring. A few suggestions:
■■ Does your job posting use gender-neutral language? There are
websites that analyze your job ad to determine whether the
language will appeal more to men or women.
■■ Are the job requirements truly essential, or simply nice to
have? A number of studies have shown that men will apply for
a job when they meet 60 per cent of the stated qualifications,
but women apply only when they meet 100 per cent. This may
not be due to a lack of confidence, but rather their assumption
that having all the listed qualifications is non-negotiable.
Alleviate this by specifying which qualifications are an asset,
and which are essential to the role.
■■ Are your job ads in the right publications, associations or
networks to reach your desired target markets?
■■ Do your people policies and practices support gender
diversity? Do you offer flexible working hours, the opportunity
to return to work part-time after maternity or parental
leave? Can employees leave work early to attend to family
commitments and then log in and work from home later?
OVERCOMING UNCONSCIOUS BIASES
To be human is to have biases, regardless of how good our in-tentions
are. Unconscious biases help us filter and deal with the
millions of pieces of information our brains receive. For example,
if presented with 200 resumés for a job opening, we cannot possi-bly
interview all candidates. Our brains take shortcuts to narrow
down the list, based on past experiences and beliefs. The danger
with unconscious bias is that we believe we are being completely
objective when in fact we aren’t.
One tool to help with this is the online Implicit Association
Test (IAT), which measures attitudes and beliefs that people may
be unaware of that affect their behaviour and decisions.
By Marni Johnson
HRPROFESSIONALNOW.CA ❚ JUNE 2017 ❚ 31