Diversity & InclusionTalent Acquisition

Minimizing Bias from Start to Finish

An inclusivity audit can produce actionable results to minimize unconscious bias and deliver meaningful change to an organization’s hiring approach.

By Zee Johnson

Current candidates are in the market to work for organizations that cultivate inclusion and belonging, says Pip Wells, Innovation & Diverse Hiring Consultant at Resource Solutions. In fact, McKinsey’s Great Attrition survey found that 51% of respondents left their jobs last year because they didn’t feel a sense of belonging.

Now, leaders are becoming more intentional about uncovering the biases that are hindering them from attracting the top talent they seek. Forward-thinking organizations are moving from proactive instead of reactive in their approaches.

Knowing where to start when unearthing inequities is a question that Wells says many leaders are asking. The answer is quite simple, she says.

“Bias and barriers are introduced even before a candidate visits an employer’s careers page,” Wells explains. “Look at all third-party sources that a candidate may come across before they go onto your careers page. Peer review websites like Glassdoor have enabled greater transparency than ever before. Candidates can see what an organization is like to work at before even visiting their offices. Is an employer family friendly? Does it provide psychological safety? Are their diversity commitments genuine?”

Doubling down on DE&I through bias elimination efforts is not specific to any company size, reach, or industry. Wells has experience working with organizations from across the globe and what they all have in common is their intention to strike change and be better.

“We’ve got clients who are actually at the start of their diverse hiring challenges who need help before they can start implementing things like a new careers page or setting up an interview process,” she says. “Then we’ve also had companies come to us and we’ve completely revamped their entire recruitment process.”

Regardless of where a business is starting, conducting a thorough inclusivity audit of the recruitment process can help determine where a company stacks up on the inclusion spectrum and reveal opportunities for improvement. Wells says auditing an end-to-end process through eight diversity lenses will assist in this process.

  1. Gender
  2. Ethnicity
  3. Disability and neurodiversity
  4. LGBTQ+
  5. Age
  6. Faith
  7. Socioeconomic background
  8. Veterans

With this eight-lens audit, leaders can not only analyze hundreds of data points to detect which factors need attention, but they are also provided actionable recommendations to help drive change. “It’s a highly detailed auditing framework using a research-based methodology which enables us to look at the end-to-end recruitment process for our clients.”

Take, for example, the pre-apply process. The majority of today’s candidates start their journeys on Google, looking at reviews on different websites and content through search engines. All of that messaging needs auditing because it’s outside of an organization’s control. Then organizations need to look at the careers page content; conduct a facial representation audit; audit job postings for the language used, the tone, and the sentiment; and understand the referral, application, and submission processes, among others. On average, an audit will analyze between 157 and 252 data points, blend research and data from over 100 sources, and produce a minimum of 44 recommendations for meaningful change.

And Wells can say from personal experience that the process drives real results. “We wanted to hold up a mirror to our own organization and we conducted an audit on ourselves back in early 2021.”

Discovering that there was room for improvement, leaders were able to make the necessary changes to position Resource Solutions as an equitable employer. “What’s amazing is on Glassdoor, you can see that our D&I score has actually doubled since the time of audit, which just shows our changes have really been having a fantastic impact.”

Contrary to what some think, instituting change doesn’t have to come at a high price. An audit could discover one simple alteration that should be made. “Sometimes, many people have the misconception that it costs thousands of dollars to implement change,” Wells says. “But the reality is that these can be really quick changes, like adding equal opportunity statements to your job description to ensure that all candidates of different backgrounds are encouraged to apply at your company. It’s a change as simple as that.”

Auditing the recruitment process comes in handy in a hiring landscape that quickly changes. Uncovering and getting rid of any biases is how companies can ensure they’re keeping up.

Tags: Diversity & Inclusion, Talent Acquisition

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