Recruiting, right now, is hard. There are no two ways about it. There’s the so-called Great Resignation, a lack of will from potential candidates to fill open vacancies, the increased demand that hiring businesses deliver on increasingly important metrics (flexibility, inclusion, personalized experiences of work ), as well as high organizational demand for specific skills. This is before getting to another key factor: diversity. It’s something that cannot be forgotten about, despite front-and-center operational demands specific to 2022.
HR knows diverse hiring should be their top priority – but there are big hurdles!
Most in HR know that, and as multiple speakers on this roundtable spoke to, diversity is a top priority. Yet, well, market forces, mistakes, and life can kinda’ get in the way of enacting this priority in the right way. Even in more usual times.
For example, it can be really easy for recruiters and hiring managers to fall into the trap of homogenized hiring; wanting to get people into the organization that are just like them. Alternatively, despite it being an organizational priority on-the-ground recruiters and hiring managers might not be educated about how to make sure their own actions are driven by diversity considerations. Or, as one attendee suggested, recruiters might be getting the process right when it comes to getting diverse hires into the business but the right supporting resources aren’t in place to retain them.
In addition, with so many headline-making recruitment market struggles still in full effect, immediate operational necessities – like, well, just needing to get someone into the business to do the task at hand – can, unfortunately, push diversity down the agenda. Or, as one recruiter experienced, increased competition around hiring means that many firms can’t even get any hire, let alone one that improves diversity. This is despite knowing that presently and for the future diversity is linked to so many good things. Research from Bersin by Deloitte has previously found that the has the highest impact on business performance is diversity and inclusion. Separately, University of Chicago research has found that diverse teams drive higher revenue and better market share.
So, what can be done? One roundtable attendee suggested training is key – training of recruiters, in particular – around how to hire diversely but also what a diverse organization looks like. Another added that storytelling, around diversity and the individual experience, can be a powerful tool to make diversity a priority. The conversation also touched on the role development around getting rid of unconscious bias can play and getting hiring managers to reflect on who they are and how they affected the hiring process, too. Others suggested resourcing hiring teams more effectively would get rid of issues in this area.
Data and analytics: The silver bullet?
The discussion turned to how data and analytics can be useful. But many recruiters struggle with this and it’s also not straightforward. Getting data on how candidates or potential candidates with historically underrepresented characteristics perform, or are treated, at different stages of the hiring process is, of course, guarded by Equal Employment Opportunity Commission rules. So to get data organizations have to abide by their jurisprudence. However, it is possible to get abstracted data to recruiters, to improve their performance, and to show them how particular details and datapoints impact hiring and diversity outcomes. Something that is incredibly crucial.
Data can also be hit by other issues; namely, where the parameters of measurement are. For instance, analysis of how a company is doing by diversity measurements could change depending on the area the company is measuring. Whilst it might be doing well in one area, say the US, it might have problems globally. Different factors will also be affecting this as the area changes.
However, data can help measure where organizations are attempting to make improvements. Such as, measuring before and after outcomes against business-agreed-upon success factors. This, for example, can give a better understanding of how hiring manager unconscious bias training might be improving diverse hiring practices, by measuring before and after the training takes place. And, as one attendee suggested, it can also help improve post-hiring process systems and mechanisms: such as how a company is doing on providing psychological safety for everyone or making the organization as inclusive and supportive for everyone as possible. Again, measuring racial and gender diversity, and understanding trends here can give insight into how likely it is that organization will be supportive and open to anyone.
Data can also, as one DE&I practitioner laid out, help reluctant cultures evolve. If it can quantity, they said, subjects that might be thought of as ‘touchy feely’ – such as diversity, inclusion, and belonging – then cultures might be more open to making diversity a key consideration in every process and operationalize against diversity imperatives. Solely because it is measurable and seems real.
In fact, as one talent acquisition leader suggested, it’s the data that can help make arguments to the business about where the organization needs to focus to get the best diversity outcomes. In fact, as they argued, without the data, it’s hard to know what to measure to improve and set goals around. And although they had strong feelings on what measurables have some of the biggest impacts on diversity metrics, such as leadership hire diversity rates, it’s up to each organization to decide where they want to focus efforts. As one attendee intimated: there’s no silver bullet to diverse hiring and data usage. For HR, then, the outcome is clear: get started, and learn as you go.
Why join an UNLEASH roundtable?
Amid the current disruption, HR leaders need to get ahead of the exponential trend where work, technology, and how work gets done have changed forever. But how should we approach the relevant questions, given the radical uncertainty we continue to face as the pandemic becomes more protracted than anyone imagined? Our exclusive Virtual Roundtables are designed to explore where business leaders are focused now, key challenges and prioritization for the rest of the year, and what matters most in planning for what’s next.
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