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A Simple Solution to Diversity: Start with People

Source | LinkedIn : By Stacey A. Gordon, MBA

LinkedIn recently asked CEO’s to share insights about diversity and it brought me back to a discussion I had with the Los Angeles Business Journal when I was asked to join their inaugural Diversity & Inclusion Summit happening next month. We discussed the fact that many companies know they need to do something about diversity but they don’t know what that something is. And they don’t know how to begin.

And that is how initiatives like blind hiring get started. Blind hiring is the attempt to counter the phenomena of hiring managers and recruiters choosing candidates with a similar demographic background as their own by removing identify information like the candidate’s name and education background or conducting anonymous interviews through voice-masking technology.

Wanting a solution is great. Finding a solution is better. But I wonder what the conversations looked like before someone decided to implement these solutions. Was it similar to the conversations that happened in the advertising agency meeting that gave us the Pepsi commercial that was so clearly clueless and distasteful?

Blind hiring, like the Pepsi commercial, seemingly happened without the benefit of conversation or input from the very population companies are attempting to serve. This is why having the CEO’s who joined the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion pledge to create trusting places for dialogue is so important. The idea that in order for you to hire me you have to not to know that I am black or a woman is offensive to me and I’m willing to bet there wasn’t a person of color in the room when these ideas started floating around.

I believe that a solution does not have to be complicated. I believe it begins with a conversation. And while that may seem like an overly simple solution to a complex problem, I wonder how many CEO’s have tried it. Prior to making a sweeping decision that affects the entire workforce, how many companies talk to their workforce from the janitor all the way to the executive committee?

I know I would like you to see my gender and my race and ethnicity and hire me anyway. Which is why I took the action step to develop a hiring and recruiting platform that allows companies to start with people and not resumes when they’re hiring. To address the issue of workplace diversity and inclusion I don’t think you should take the human out of HR. Technology is great, but it shouldn’t be yet another tool to screen people out. For far too long the focus has been on screening people out and instead, we should be using our best judgment to bring people in.

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