Employers, don’t fight bias alone
A partnership approach to better hiring
June 12, 2019 | By Michelle Webb, Executive Director of Employee Experience, TEKsystems
Professionals from diverse backgrounds working in an inclusive culture are critical to the successful outcome of any project or business activity. As a provider of IT services and talent solutions to clients across industries, we understand the importance of diversity and inclusion (D&I) and the importance of fighting bias across the talent life cycle as a way to improve a company’s D&I strength. Many tactics can help organizations reduce the impact of bias, but one of the most effective resources in the fight can be a solutions partner. As an external resource with deep expertise and capability, a talent and business solutions provider brings distinct advantages related to culture and employer brand, as well as the expertise to drive change.
Facilitating a culture shift
One benefit a solutions partner provides is an influence on culture. When the same people with similar perspectives work together over time in an organization, unconscious bias can go unrecognized and become part of a company’s culture. Hiring managers will be tempted to hire people who come from the same background because that has worked in the past. Companies may advertise jobs in the same ways or seek talent in the same places. A solutions provider offers a fresh perspective that can be crucial in bringing about a change in culture. The provider may assemble teams through different channels, deliver new insights and language for job definitions, and, most importantly, bring an objective view unencumbered by internal politics that can resonate with stakeholders.
Moving the needle on employer brand
Another advantage is the impact on the employer brand. Candidates are making decisions based on what they hear about the employers they are considering. Even if a company is working to foster and promote D&I, one contrary Glassdoor review can send the potential candidate away. An outside partner, if it has a strong D&I focus, can come in and bring its own employer brand into play. For example, our consultants work for our clients, but they work for us, too. When the provider has a strong reputation for being a diverse and inclusive employer, the client is better able to benefit from the skills of diverse talent.
Subject matter expertise
Finally, the expertise of a trusted partner can be a valuable asset in fighting bias. An employer may determine that it wants a more diverse workforce, and it knows there are many reasons to help explain why diverse candidates are or are not showing up. We often find that clients either lack access to diverse talent pools, or they are not doing a good job of attracting them. A provider can help pinpoint the issues and identify how to address them. The right conversations have to take place with the C-suite, and then the message must be shepherded to the other stakeholders. As a solutions partner, we can meet with leadership to best understand their hiring practices and their goals for addressing diversity, and then help them promote the D&I message to the organization.
Taking a proactive approach
We have seen how unconscious bias can impede the development of a diverse workforce and inclusive company culture. Our clients understand the issue, too, and they often ask us for help in improving their D&I strength. For any organization looking to improve its ability to attract and retain talent from all backgrounds and perspectives, a great partner can enable the proactive approach employers need. It’s an effort that is good for people and good for business.
(Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in Allegis Group’s report, “Stepping Up: Workforce Practices That Raise the Bar on Business Performance”.)
As the executive director of TEKsystems’ Employee Experience Team, Michelle Webb oversees the design, implementation and support of programs that positively impact every employee’s journey, including inclusion and diversity initiatives that support hiring more diverse teams, creating development programs for diverse populations, supporting employee resource groups and connecting diversity to our customers to support their business goals and drive revenue.