From insights to action: What new data reveals about bias and DE&I

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When it comes to DE&I, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the things you could be doing. There’s no shortage of information about the steps that others are taking or guidance to point you in the right direction. But rather than limit ourselves to one or the other, we wanted to provide both insights and ideas for action.

Greenhouse recently partnered with EVERFI to conduct a survey on mitigating bias when building diverse teams. Greenhouse Director of Talent Acquisition Ariana Moon sat down with EVERFI Senior Vice President of Workplace Culture Elizabeth Bille to discuss key takeaways from the survey as well as their tips for reducing bias and improving your DE&I efforts. Read on for some of the highlights of their conversation.


Busting a common DE&I misconception

Before diving into specific tactics, it’s worth addressing a common misconception about DE&I. Ariana shared a question she’s heard countless times: Does prioritizing inclusion and monitoring candidate demographic data mean you’re breaking the law?

There is nothing illegal about broadening your talent pool and using strategies to cast as wide a net as possible to create a diverse pool from which to draw candidates. Full stop.
–Elizabeth Billie, Senior Vice President of Workplace Culture at EVERFI

The only part where it becomes a legal issue is when you’re making decisions about who will move on to the next stage or who will get hired. In those cases, decisions need to be made without regard to any protected characteristic. “But the good news,” says Elizabeth, “is if you’ve broadened your talent pool and you’ve sourced a very diverse slate of candidates to choose from, that will make the whole process more inclusive.”


Overcoming bias in the hiring process: Strengths and areas of opportunity

The survey revealed some good news – 70% of respondents are already using structured hiring. Having consistent, objective criteria when evaluating candidates is critical when it comes to reducing bias in the hiring process.

But the survey also uncovered some areas of opportunity. For example, only 53% of organizations are using a variety of sourcing channels. “What we’re seeing is that organizations are taking some steps to mitigate bias once the candidate comes in the door and is being interviewed, but they may be drawing from a narrower pool of candidates that is not as diverse as it could be,” says Elizabeth.

What can you do if this is the case at your company? Ariana recommends developing your sourcing skills in-house. “What we’ve seen as the most effective way to diversify our hiring pipelines is to invest in our own ability to source and to conduct outreach directly to underrepresented candidates.” Ariana recommends getting hiring managers involved in sourcing because, for candidates, there’s nothing quite as powerful as a hiring manager reaching out in a personalized way.

Another area of opportunity is in creating inclusive employer branding content, when it comes to both hiring sites and job descriptions. The survey revealed that only about 30% of companies are conducting reviews to ensure their hiring sites are inclusive. As a simple first step, Elizabeth suggests adding imagery that shows your workforce and your DE&I statement.

Similarly, only 46% of employers check the inclusivity of their job descriptions. Taking time to review your job descriptions with an inclusivity lens only involves a few steps. You’ll want to avoid biased language that excludes specific identity groups, intentionally use inclusive language and consider narrowing down the requirements you list or be explicit about which characteristics are nice-to-haves as opposed to necessary for the role.


Using data to inform your DE&I efforts

Once you take steps toward promoting DE&I in your company, how will you know when it’s working? This is a question many companies are still trying to answer, according to our research. Only about 30% of our survey respondents deploy diversity and inclusion surveys and then report on them. “Employers who want to take their efforts to the next level should consider implementing these types of surveys,” says Elizabeth. She also notes that EVERFI builds surveys into their courses so employers can measure the impact of training on employees’ perceptions, beliefs and attitudes about DE&I as well as whether their perception of their employer’s efforts has changed as a result of the course.

You can’t improve what you don’t measure.
–Ariana Moon, Director of Talent Acquisition at Greenhouse

Greenhouse regularly uses Culture Amp surveys to get information about new hires’ onboarding experiences and to get feedback on how to continuously improve these programs. Ariana says our surveys also ask employees whether they feel set up for success and if they have a sense of belonging at Greenhouse. “The fascinating thing about this data is you can see how sentiments differ based on different slices of demographics,” says Ariana. “We’ve begun to identify the groups that have the lowest engagement or the lowest inclusivity scores and focus on uplifting their experience, because we believe uplifting the most underserved can uplift everyone.”


Want to hear even more from Ariana and Elizabeth on key trends in hiring and onboarding, strategies to hold leaders accountable to DE&I goals and much more? Tune in to the on-demand webinar here.

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Melissa Suzuno

Melissa Suzuno

is a freelance writer and former Content Marketing Manager at Greenhouse. Melissa previously built out the content marketing programs at Parklet (an onboarding and employee experience solution) and AfterCollege (a job search resource for recent grads), so she's made it a bit of a habit to help people get excited about and invested in their work. Find Melissa on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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