Workforce diversity has become a buzzword today, with organizations wanting to emphasize their inclusive hiring and management practices. These changes are significant in STEM fields like information technology, traditionally dominated by white male professionals of a specific socioeconomic background. Though well-intentioned, companies might find it challenging to execute genuinely diverse and inclusive practices. IT staffing requirements sometimes exhibit unconscious bias— the underlying, often negative stereotypes people have of other cultures.
How Do You Remove Unconscious Bias?
Getting rid of unconscious bias involves being mindful of everything from assumptions about another person to immediate reactions to their behavior. It does not happen overnight since unchecked biases affect various aspects of running a business.
For instance, the wording on job descriptions or websites can telegraph a culture of unconscious bias. The words one uses reflect beliefs and lifestyle, and candidates with diverse backgrounds will be especially attuned to wording. People who feel excluded through the language the company uses might look for other employers, so hiring managers might want to review their job postings to prevent this from happening. Here are some of the first things to reconsider.
Requiring Certain Levels Of Education
Tech employers that only hire applicants with a specific degree level, Ivy League graduates, or candidates from well-known programs reduce their number of potential hires. An organization that accepts applicants with gaps in their resume or are from lesser-known institutions expands its capacity to hire talented individuals; skills aren’t exclusive to persons with prestigious backgrounds.
A company or department that wants to improve its diversity can accept informal training or education requirements. Including certificates from both in-person and online training programs will also enable them to be more inclusive.
Requiring Background Checks
An employer can use a background check to screen for individuals with driving records or criminal histories that render them unqualified for the job. However, doing this for all types of vacancies can create unnecessary barriers for professionals from diverse backgrounds.
IT staffing solutions can ensure that screening processes aren’t discriminatory to people for mistakes they committed in the past by reviewing their policy. Besides, several states and municipalities limit the use of screenings because they have historically limited upward mobility and can lead to discriminatory work practices.
Ensuring A More Inclusive Workforce
Organizations can also promote inclusivity by examining their current population and setting goals based on this information. A company can team up with a staffing agency to determine how many of its candidates are from particular populations or groups. Agencies like these can identify roles that don’t bring in enough diverse candidates, and they can provide recommendations that can help attract and retain such professionals.
A staffing agency with a diversity-first approach meets people where they are. They belong to networking groups, join community activities, and are part of organizations that specialize in placing diverse professionals. Since they have links to various spaces, agencies also have access to a diverse talent pool. With the help of agencies like these, HR teams can become more aware of the possibilities they’re overlooking when filling a role or position.
Many tech organizations have made headway into becoming more sensitive to cultural differences and discrimination in recent years. This mindfulness will lead to even more diverse and inclusive communities and spaces, but this progress is far from satisfactory. Many people still have an unconscious or implicit bias against diverse backgrounds, so hiring managers and culture officers must try and minimize it in a company.
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