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How to hit your diversity goals and eradicate unconscious bias

Increased productivity, innovation, and income are just a few of the benefits associated with diversity in the workplace. It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise then to discover that 85% of employers taking part in a recent Robert Walters survey claimed diversity to be a key business priority.  However, it’s clear that more needs to be done; with less than 50% of employers having established programmes for the purpose of sourcing candidates from diverse backgrounds.

In this blog, we’ll explore the hidden issue of unconscious bias and the ways in which the Vacancy Filler Applicant Tracking System (ATS) can help you achieve your diversity goals.

Setting Diversity Goals

There are some key criteria which should be applied when setting goals for diversity in the workplace. Ideally such goals will be realistic and achievable, with the level of workforce diversity being representative of the wider community. There should be a shared sense of accountability among hiring managers and other staff with recruitment responsibilities.  Meetings may be arranged involving a variety of business stakeholders, for the setting of suitable diversity targets. There may be a focus on the increased recruitment of female managers or customer service staff from different ethnic groups.

Defining unconscious bias

While the majority of employers realise the value of workforce diversity, the issue of unconscious bias still impacts recruitment decisions. This happens whenever the recruiter forms an opinion or shows a preference based on personal interaction with a candidate. Such responses are quite inevitable given the impact of our personal backgrounds and everyday encounters.

ACAS makes the following points about unconscious bias:

  • It's natural
  • It's unintended
  • It can affect decisions
  • It can be mitigated.

Enhancing Diversity

If unconscious bias goes unchecked then there will be a high risk of basing recruitment decisions on irrelevant personal characteristics, rather than essential skills and experience. This is likely to result in the employment of an inflexible staff-force, with definite perspectives and ways of working. Word may spread and the organisation could be subject to negative focus as a result of the discriminatory approach to employment. However, 42% of employers do not use any strategies to reduce unconscious bias in the recruitment process.

Expanding your horizons

There are a variety of methods that can be used in order to boost the prospects of diverse recruitment. Initial steps may include the placement of job advertisements on new platforms and establishing contacts beyond the immediate community. This will provide the opportunity for connecting with a wide range of candidates who could make a positive difference to your business.

It is quite common for the employer to include a diversity survey for candidates to complete as part of the written application. This may include a variety of questions and check boxes prompting candidates to detail everything from their gender to their marital status. Employers can review the completed forms; checking for any bias that may have had a bearing. The drive for increased diversity may continue with the prompting for the removal of personal details from CVs and anti-bias training for managers.

Achieving diversity with Vacancy Filler

The beauty of Vacancy Filler is that it collates all the applicant’s data so that you can measure diversity and equality through data-driven reports. Here's just an example;

Screenshot 2020-03-16 at 17.41.26

What's more Confidentiality and Anonymity functions help recruiters meet Diversity best practice by automatically removing gender, race and age as well as candidate names and even photographs. 

The complete recruitment process can be streamlined, so that there is little or no focus on gender, race, and other characteristics which will not have a bearing on job performance.

Keen to find out more about how Vacancy Filler can help you meet your diversity goals and eliminate unconscious bias?

Book your Vacancy Filler demo today!


Tel: 01509 236 434

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