Minimising bias from start to finish

Written by Zee Johnson  • Equality, Diversity & Inclusion  • 15 November 2022

An inclusivity audit can produce actionable results to eliminate unconscious bias and deliver meaningful change to an organisation’s hiring approach.

Current candidates are in the market to work for organisations that cultivate inclusion and belonging. In fact, McKinsey’s Great Attrition survey found that 51% of US employees left their jobs last year because they didn’t feel a sense of belonging. 

Now, leaders are becoming more intentional about uncovering the biases that are hindering them from attracting the top talent they seek. Forward-thinking organisations are moving from proactive instead of reactive in their approaches.

Knowing where to start when unearthing inequities is a challenge that Pip Wells – Diverse Hiring Manager, RS Counsultancy at Resource Solutions – says many leaders are facing. The answer is quite simple, she says.

“It starts at the pre-apply,” Wells explains. “Look at all third-party sources that a candidate may come across before they go onto your careers page. This is important for organisations to understand because this will shape a candidate's decision as to whether they might even go onto your careers page.”

Doubling down on ED&I through bias elimination efforts is not specific to any company size, reach, or industry. Wells has experience working with organisations from across the globe and what they all have in common is their intention to spark change and be better. 

“We’ve got clients who are actually at the start of their diverse hiring challenges who need help before they can start implementing things like a new careers page or setting up an interview process,” she says. “Then we've also had companies come to us and we've completely revamped their entire recruitment process.”

Regardless of where a business is starting, conducting a thorough inclusivity audit of the recruitment process can help determine where a company stacks up on the inclusion spectrum and reveal opportunities for improvement. Wells says utilising eight diversity lenses will assist in this process – Gender, Ethnicity, Disability and Neurodiversity, LGBTQ+, Age, Faith, Socioeconomic Background, and Veterans.

With this eight-lens audit, leaders can not only analyse hundreds of data points to detect which factors need attention, but they’re also provided actionable recommendations to help drive change. “It’s a highly detailed auditing framework using a research-based methodology which enables us to look at the end-to-end recruitment process for our clients.”  

Take, for example, the pre-apply process. The majority of today’s candidates start their journeys on Google, looking at reviews on different websites and content through search engines. All of that messaging needs auditing because it’s outside of an organisation’s control. Then organisations need to look at the careers page content; conduct a facial representation audit; audit job postings for the language used, the tone, and the sentiment; and understand the referral, application, and submission processes, among others. On average, an audit will analyse 157 data points, blend research and data from over 100 sources, and produce a minimum of 44 recommendations for meaningful change.

And Wells can say from personal experience that the process drives real results. “We wanted to hold up a mirror to our own organisation and we conducted an audit on ourselves back in early 2021.” 

Discovering that there was room for improvement, leaders were able to make the necessary changes to position Resource Solutions as an equitable employer. “What's amazing is on Glassdoor, you can see that our ED&I score has actually doubled since the time of the audit, which just shows our changes have really been having a fantastic impact.”

Contrary to what some think, instituting change doesn’t have to come at a high price. An audit could discover one simple alteration that should be made. “Sometimes, many people have the misconception that it costs thousands of dollars to implement change,” Wells says. “But the reality is that these can be really quick changes, like adding equal opportunity statements to your job description to ensure that all candidates of different backgrounds are encouraged to apply at your company. It's a change as simple as that.”

Auditing the recruitment process comes in handy in a hiring landscape that quickly changes. Uncovering and getting rid of any biases is how companies can ensure they’re keeping up.

Connect with Pip Wells on LinkedIn

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