Forbes Contributor Vivek Ravisankar discusses the roots of diversity recruiting and why the practice must evolve to compensate for today’s workforce.
“The roots of employment diversity trace back as early as World War I, when the government tasked a committee of psychologists to assess the skills of over 1.7 million men in less than 2 years for the military. Their job was to sift through massive volumes of people quickly and efficiently—a sentiment that feels uncannily familiar to corporations today. So they created a test of intelligence to screen people for the skills they needed.”
Although in theory this practice seems to create an efficient process, the issue that never was largely overlooked was; Did the intelligence test properly analyze and select qualified candidates? As we study recruiting today we understand that the process has improved from a century past, however the original system of selecting applicants is still being used today. Ravisankar points this outs and suggests that a new recruiting method must be developed in order to improve diversity numbers.
Currently, "companies say diversity is important while still using traditional, bias-ridden recruiting proxies, like resumes from top universities, work history with notable brands or referrals from homogeneous networks.“ Ravisankar’s proposal is to create recruitment policies strategically targeting segments of the community.
According to the Harvard Business Review "Five years after a company implements a college recruitment program targeting female employees, the share of white women, black women, Hispanic women, and Asian-American women in its management rises by about 10%, on average. A program focused on minority recruitment increases the proportion of black male managers by 8% and black female managers by 9%.” In addition, workplace diversity must be promoted from the top down, meaning the diversity concept must be important to a C-level positioned person. This push flows through the company and allows everyone to follow suit.
The old school ways of recruiting are changing albeit slowly. Opportunity for diversity hires are present, but a new way of thinking must come to the forefront to properly increase employment for diverse hires.