In­clu­sive Hir­ing Pro­cesses

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Sheila Robin­son, Ph.D., owner of Di­ver­sity Woman mag­a­zine and a 2018 NAFE Woman of Ex­cel­lence, ad­vo­cates that com­pa­nies use im­plicit bias train­ing for de­ci­sion-makers in the re­cruit­ing and hir­ing process. This train­ing, which 88 per­cent of our Best Com­pa­nies use for hir­ing man­agers, al­lows peo­ple to un­der­stand their own bi­ases and how that might im­pact a de­ci­sion to see a can­di­date or move her to the next level.

A Har­vard Business Re­view

ar­ti­cle sug­gests com­pa­nies specif­i­cally schedule the train­ings around work­place sit­u­a­tions only and equip peo­ple with ac­tion-ori­ented strate­gies to deal with bias, such as defin­ing what qual­i­ties mat­ter in ap­pli­cants and ex­am­in­ing whether they ask ap­pli­cants the same ques­tions.

Mariela Dab­bah, au­thor of Poder de Mu­jer ( Woman Power) and cre­ator of the Red Shoe Move­ment (em­pow­er­ing Lati­nas to be lead­ers) and Lati­nos in Col­lege (a plat­form to help Lati­nos suc­ceed in col­leges), has an­other sug­ges­tion for com­pa­nies to avoid bias in the hir­ing process and pro­mo­tion process. A 2015 study by the UCLA Cen­ter for Be­hav­ior, Evo­lu­tion and Culture ex­am­ined white ver­sus African-Amer­i­can, His­panic and Asian sur­names, and found these ap­pli­cants more likely to be re­jected than those with white-sound­ing names. Dab­bah ad­vo­cates im­ple­ment­ing the prac­tice of hid­ing the names of peo­ple be­ing hired or up for pro­mo­tion (us­ing a num­ber or code in­stead of a name). The per­son mak­ing de­ci­sions shouldn’t know the gen­der or race/eth­nic­ity of the ap­pli­cant un­til the ini­tial ap­pli­cants have been de­ter­mined, she says. At larger com­pa­nies, there of­ten are slates of ap­pli­cants who are first re­viewed by HR de­part­ments and don’t know the em­ploy­ees.

She also rec­om­mends “de­sign­ing for eq­uity and in­clu­sion at all lev­els.” This means HR and hir­ing man­agers con­sis­tently look­ing at slates of em­ploy­ees be­ing hired and pro­moted, and en­sur­ing there is ad­e­quate rep­re­sen­ta­tion of un­der­rep­re­sented groups. This prac­tice, like the “Rooney rule” im­ple­mented by the Na­tional Foot­ball League, man­dates that women and peo­ple of color be in­cluded in slates pre­sented for po­si­tions. Eighty-four per­cent of the Best Com­pa­nies for Mul­ti­cul­tural Women re­quire di­verse slates for open­ings. In some of these com­pa­nies, hir­ing man­agers’ com­pen­sa­tion and bonuses are tied to abil­ity to present di­verse slates.

How­ever, the data does show a dif­fer­ence for Asian-Amer­i­can women. While 96 per­cent of the Best Com­pa­nies have re­cruit­ing pro­grams tar­geted at African-Amer­i­can and His­panic women, only

88 per­cent have re­cruit­ing pro­grams tar­geted at AsianAmer­i­can women.

What ac­counts for this dis­crep­ancy? Linda Aku­ta­gawa, pres­i­dent and CEO of LEAP (Lead­er­ship Ed­u­ca­tion for Asian Pacifics Inc.), a na­tional non­profit that works to achieve full equal­ity and par­tic­i­pa­tion for Asians and Pa­cific Is­lan­ders, says that, frus­trat­ingly, many com­pa­nies er­ro­neously think there’s no need to re­cruit Asians.

Asian-Amer­i­cans are some­times ig­nored, she says, “be­cause of the in­cor­rect stereo­type that we have made it, which is driven by the tech in­dus­try be­ing so heav­ily Asian/Asian-Amer­i­can. We are still un­der­rep­re­sented, and Asian women are not get­ting the at­ten­tion they need to be­come lead­ers be­cause of the as­sump­tion they are happy be­ing in­di­vid­ual con­trib­u­tors.” She urges com­pa­nies to have “stay in­ter­views” to im­prove re­ten­tion and po­ten­tial pro­mo­tions of these em­ploy­ees to find out what they re­ally want at the com­pany and what as­pi­ra­tions they have.

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