The hiring process is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get. But when the resumes start coming in, people often stick to what they know and pick their favourites. They play it safe knowing what they like, thinking that familiarity will tick all the boxes the same as it did before. But what if a Turkish Delight could actually fit the role better than another Cadbury Milk? And what about that Cherry Ripe? You can’t know what each has to offer unless you give them a try,
Unconscious bias stops us from trying that new chocolate type and has also been called out as one of the main reasons for inhibiting workplace diversity. So, what are some of the strategies businesses have explored to increase diversity in the workplace?
1. Quotas and Targets
Just like a box of Cadbury Favourites, with its assortment of at least one of each chocolate type, organisations have implemented quotas and targets to promote workplace diversity.
For example, Belgium introduced legislation for quotas and in 15 years increased its proportion of women in parliament from 16 per cent, to women making up over 41 per cent of the country’s Chamber of Representatives by 2014.
The theory behind this tactic is that quotas in the corporate world can help put an end to the world’s ‘boys club’ networks that have existed for centuries.
Quotas and targets force managers to at least taste a Picnic bar.
2. Blind “Tasting”
In the same way you reach into a box of Cadbury Favourites without looking, blind “tasting” removes any personal identification details from resumes – potluck style.
This includes removing the name, gender, home address, even the year prospective candidates graduated or the year they acquired qualifications from the initial hiring process. All that is left to judge are skills and experience.
New York City-based advertising company FCB Worldwide integrated anonymous testing into its hiring strategy. After implementing blind testing, the company’s human resources department reported a 19 per cent jump in the number of women hired, and that 38 per cent more ethnically diverse candidates came in for job interviews as a result.
Like a lucky dip, you could end up with a Crunchie, something you never considered before, and actually really enjoy it.
3. Keep an Open Mind…
There are some people, myself included, that just want to give all the different chocolate bars a go.
My own medium-sized IT consultancy caters to pretty much every ‘diversity checklist.’
More than 50 per cent of my workforce are women. My youngest employee is 18 and my eldest is 67 years old. My employees come from India, Malaysia, Russia, China, Norway, America, Australia and more. And some of my team members are living with disability; we have an employee that’s legally blind and another that has cerebral palsy.
So, what’s ‘my secret’ to diversity success?
I haven’t implemented any quotas or blind testing. I’ve just kept an open mind and actively prioritised building a team of diverse thinkers, considering attitude and their values in the hiring process.
The world is full of different people, cultures and skills, so why shouldn’t your team be the same?
And the results speak for themselves – studies have found that decisions made and executed by diverse teams delivered 60 per cent better outcomes.
Within my own business, diversity has been key to our success in winning a range of clients and being able to apply different problem-solving mindsets to our clients’ unique challenges.
Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get – you could miss out on the best person for your job, unless you give them a try.
First published: 11 May 2019, www.business.com