Organizations that incorporate diversity into their hiring practices often surpass their less diverse competitors in performance and business growth. However, unconscious bias in talent management strategies can limit diversity and stunt business growth. Here are some ways to ensure that unconscious bias does not keep you from benefitting from increased diversity in your workplace.
1. Have a “blind” application screening process.
Not looking at the applicant’s name, gender, or age when screening an application or resume can filter out unconscious biases about what kind of person might be a good fit for a given position. Too often, hiring teams take more than just qualifications into account when narrowing down a pool of applicants; a process that removes these variables will be more fairly focused on the experience and qualifications of applicants.
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Having a blind screening process not only protects against age and gender discrimination, but it also protects against shying away from unfamiliar, foreign-sounding names. It is not that most people are overtly discriminating, but people do tend to gravitate toward applicants like themselves, with similar backgrounds and even nationalities.
One study revealed that managers who had gone to top colleges were significantly more likely to think that going to a top college was an important qualification for a position, compared to managers who had not attended top schools. This highlights that other aspects of the application may even benefit from a blind screening process.
2. Simplify written job descriptions.
Job descriptions are often written by a committee and end up cluttered with many unnecessary requirements. This leads to bias because women are less likely to apply for jobs unless they meet every qualification, while men are more likely to take a chance and go for it even when they do not meet all of the requirements listed.
Job descriptions with too many requirements may unconsciously leave out women. Keeping the job description simple and including only the most important qualifications will make it less susceptible to gender bias, unconscious though it may be.
3. Avoid gender-exclusive language.
A study was done by social scientists at Duke University and the University of Waterloo a few years ago that determined certain adjectives to be masculine or feminine. For example, “competitive” and “dominant” are masculine adjectives, while “cooperative” and “supportive” are feminine adjectives.
Using gendered adjectives and other gender-exclusive language in a job description will skew the response to it and ultimately result in a different, less diverse pool of applicants for that position. This bias can be against either gender, with more masculine adjectives typically being used for male-dominated professions like tech jobs while more feminine adjectives are used for female-dominated professions like teaching or nursing.
4. Use talent management software.
Automating the recruitment process prevents unconscious bias because software is not programmed to be biased. In fact, using an automated process for the initial stages of the hiring process will eliminate any possible bias that might exist, no matter how subtle or unconscious it might be.
ThriveTRM can help your company eliminate unconscious bias from its recruiting process and increase the diversity of its work force, which research shows will help it become more successful. Contact us to see how our software can empower your company to recruit for unbiased diversity today.