How to build a diverse workforce

Understanding and accounting for unconscious bias

The first step to creating a diverse and inclusive workforce is to remove unconscious bias: the inherent or learned stereotypes about people that form without realizing it. Leaving these biases unchecked can sabotage the recruiting and interviewing process in your organization. A company might create a plan for improving diversity and inclusion, but if it doesn’t address implicit biases, it won’t make much of an impact. 

These types of biases include:

Liking people who are perceived to be just like you. This can occur during the resume review process or during an interview. Be aware that no matter the size of the connection, it can make an impact if you’re not conscientious of it.

These biases occur when people attempt to prove a preconceived notion based on a candidate. This can impact the hiring process before a candidate even walks through the door.

This type of bias occurs when individuals are judged as a result of superficial factors such as tattoos, weight, or piercings. Be sure your team is aware of what is important for the job and what should never be considered.

This type of bias occurs when you think someone is a good person because you like them. Stick to what matters for the job and not how much you might enjoy someone’s presence.

This type of bias occurs when an individual is so hung up on a perceived notion of a particular gender, ethnicity, etc. that they are unable to think objectively about a person.

Put your new bias knowledge to the test with the activity below.

With so many ways to subconsciously make mistakes, it’s pivotal that you focus on what matters for the job itself. Instead of letting recruiters or interviewers make assumptions, we recommend you use people data.

The Predictive Index’s Behavioral and Cognitive Assessments provide you with an objective way to measure who a candidate is and how well they will fit a job while avoiding the potential biases listed above. These assessments don’t care what university you went to or what group you’re a part of. However, these tools don’t guarantee diversity—that responsibility lies with the person using the tools. However, people data ensures a fairness for candidates and employees of all backgrounds.

Companies can also account for these biases by being clear as to how their employees are hired and promoted. Publishing employment diversity information across departments can help keep companies accountable as they strive to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion. Often, well-meaning organizations believe they’re free of bias—until they look at the numbers.

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