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on January 24, 2020 Human Resources Employee Relationship Management Hiring and Recruiting

How HR Affects Diversity & Inclusion in the Workplace

How HR Affects Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace

Diversion and Inclusion (D & I) have been the topic for HR managers for a few years now.  The truth is, diversity and inclusion is helpful to the business as a whole, not only as a human resources policy. In 2015, the U.S. Census reported that, for the first time in history, a majority of children (50.2%) under age 5 were considered part of an ethnic group or a minority race. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in 2018 that 83.9 % of chief executives were white males.  There simply is no reason not to include diversity and inclusion in your business to better reflect your customers and the changing population of the country.

Here's how HR affects diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Benefits of Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace

From an HR standpoint, there are many benefits to a D & I policy. For starters, it will definitely increase the talent pool. Other benefits to HR include:

  • Better retention
  • Attracting more candidates
  • Increased productivity and job performance
  • Attracting broader range of skills
  • Higher job acceptance 1

In general, a more diverse and inclusive workplace also offers benefits to the business as a whole as well.

  • More innovation 2
  • Better financial performance 3 & 4
  • Happier shareholders
  • Compliance with government regulations
  • Appeal to more customers
  • Better brand reputation

How HR can Implement Diversity and Inclusion Policies

There are a number of ways that human resources can implement a D & I policy.  It starts with educating your team on the differences between diversity and inclusion. Diversity may mean that you're open to hiring more women of color but inclusion is when you allow all employees the ability to speak their native language, practice their religious or cultural rituals or access a gender-neutral bathroom.

Secondly, take a closer look at the executives. hiring manager and human resources staff. Do they portray an environment that's diverse and inclusive? If not, work with the executive team to help foster diverse thinking and communication with employees.

Human resources can also set D & I policy goals but they must also strengthen anti-discriminatory policies and offer a safe place to talk about challenges regardless of age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation and more.  In order to create a successful policy, there must be room for evaluation and open conversation. This policy will not be "one and done" but a fluid, agile process that will continue to grow with the workforce.

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How HR can Reduce Hiring Bias and Increase Diversity

Human resources is not only tasked with being the champions of a D & I policy but their hiring and recruiting must also fall in line. There must be policies in place to reduce hiring bias and organically increase diverse hires. 

  • Create a simple, easy to use interface for accepting applications.
  • Review job descriptions for language that unintentionally discriminates.
  • Implement diverse panels and standardize interview questions as much as possible to relate to the job requirements.
  • When screening candidates, follow EEOC guidelines for Individualized Assessment of criminal records.
  • Refer to a background screening matrix when making employment decisions.
  • Follow FCRA compliance regulations for adverse action, allowing the candidate the ability to dispute any inaccurate data on their background report.

Ban the Box and other Fair Chance Hiring laws are also helping to increase opportunities for those who've been convicted of a crime. Because of racial disparity in the criminal justice system, there is the propensity to deny employment based on criminal history.  Human resources can review this legislation and other suggested best practices to ensure fair hiring based on the complete story of their candidates. 

Businesses with a more diverse workforce are more creative, innovative and financially successful. Human resources can help foster this success by working with leadership and reducing hiring bias to build a stronger, more adaptable workforce.

1 https://www.glassdoor.com/employers/blog/diversity/

2http://joshbersin.com/2015/12/why-diversity-and-inclusion-will-be-a-top-priority-for-2016/

3https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/delivering-through-diversity

4https://www.accenture.com/_acnmedia/pdf-89/accenture-disability-inclusion-research-report.pdf

Ryan Howard

Vice President, Business Development at VeriFirst, a BYL Company

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