It's a fact: We tend to hire people like ourselves. And the only way to deal with that problem directly is to treat the solution as a deliverable for your team. Learn about hiring diversity and inclusion in this video.
- Now, it's a simple fact that traditional hiring practices simply reinforce prior biases. In a world of unbundled work, you need to know how to remove those biases yet still move quickly. Whether we're aware of our own design criteria, we tend to repeat our own experiences and insights from prior work situations. So, if we believe we've had a reasonable success in the past hiring white American males, we tend to unconsciously identify a pattern that includes that profile, and then we select candidates for hire accordingly.
Now in nature, homogeneity is a risk, a single dominant species in an ecosystem that blocks out the light for diverse competitors puts that entire ecosystem at risk. If a new threat such as disease or climate change threatens that dominant species then the ecosystem can collapse. It's only through diversity that the ecosystem survives these shocks to the system. The same is true for your team. Divergent thinking means that completely new perspectives can be brought to bear on problems.
Now, when I coordinate design charettes for my clients, strategic problem solving sessions with groups, my first goal is to ensure that diverse range of perspectives is in the room. Anything else, too much homogeneity, runs the risk of generating groupthink and of repeating the same kind of thinking that created the problem in the first place. Now, if that sounds like more work for you as a manager, I'm not going to deny it, it is. Pulling candidates from your existing network and hiring people who look and think like you, well that's a lot easier, but if you design diversity from the beginning, if in fact the inclusion of diverse thinking is one of the problems your team is charged with solving it changes the context in which you bring in new team members.
Now, one of the major arguments against diversity inclusion is to call it a pipeline problem, that is there simply aren't enough people being trained in your discipline. Depending upon where you are geographically, that might indeed be a challenge, but deal with that as a design problem itself. Determine how you can cast a wider net to bring in candidates from other geographical areas. Or you can figure out how you can leverage people who are working from remote, but don't cop out. You can help to solve the pipeline problem yourself.
You could give up a weekend day a month to help teach others about your field. You could work with your HR department to identify the kinds of transferable skills and experiences that can be used to solve problems in your work group. It's only by treating the need for diversity inclusion itself as a problem to be solved that you will start the process of solving it yourself.
- Dealing with disruptive change and the new rules of work
- Establishing a new contract with workers
- Rethinking job qualifications
- Hiring for diversity and inclusion
- Identifying key skills for adaptive workers
- Helping your team become lifelong learners
- Leveraging automation for your team
- Becoming an adaptive manager
- Making human resources a partner
- Recognizing when your adaptive strategy is working