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June, the PRIDE month, has seen wonderful initiatives celebrating the LGBTQ community since 2000, although the White House declined to acknowledge it this year. But it doesn’t have to be restricted to one month in a year, does it? Companies should have policies that promise equitable treatment every day of the year.
In a decade where many continue to shy away from celebrating sexual diversity and gender variance, some companies are putting in honest efforts to build LGBTQ-inclusive workplaces. Although rainbow-colored flags are far more noticeable than before, the community continues to face discrimination and live in palpable fear.
The World over, organizations interested in employing people based on talent and commitment to the job role alone are designing a “strategy” the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community consider fair. To create a supportive climate built on fostering awareness and inclusivity, leveraging diversity, and emphasizing action and accountability, organizations need to effect change starting with the first step—hiring.
Why should companies become LGBTQ-inclusive?
Once people look beyond traditional hiring processes or sources, unique talent pools make an appearance. A company then goes from a "tolerant” group that shows interest in affirmative action, quotas, and anti-discrimination policies to a diverse, equal opportunity workplace. From a purely business perspective, diversity matters. Studies show that the U.S. can save 9 billion dollars a year if it implements diversity and inclusion policies effectively. (**Diversity includes race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, generation, disability, personality type, and thinking style.)
“Along with being the right thing to do, the business case for diversity is real and we want to be able to attract and keep the best people,” says Eric Jordan, MD at Goldman Sachs. Also, as Katherine Phillips, a Columbia Business School professor, says, “The mere presence of diversity in a group creates awkwardness, and the need to diffuse this tension leads to better group problem-solving.”
“Inclusive recruitment gives every firm the chance to recruit more people with the skills they need. And this needs to run through every part of a business from board level to entry level. It’s important that, especially for people starting out, the application process provides a level playing field. When I’m hiring someone I don’t want them to tell me what they’ve done. I want them to show me what they’ve learned from it,” says Paul Drechsler, the Confederation of British Industry president.
How can companies become LGBTQ-inclusive?
Companies are approaching the issue in different ways. For example, Goldman Sachs asks a person to “self-identify” on the application; the company then removes the information from the recruiting process until after the candidate qualifies or not. The bank then checks how far the proportion is represented in the hires. Also, GS focuses on LGBT groups on campus. Anilu Vazquez-Ubarri, Chief Diversity Office and Global Head of Talent at Goldman Sachs, says, “It is a competitive market. If we don’t do that outreach, it is possible that we have left the best candidate on the table.” Check out how Accenture embraces a diverse culture here.
Bias is inherent manual, paper-based screening processes. Personal unconscious prejudices frequently color recruitment decisions. Hiring or recruiting managers often fail to see the long-term consequences of a bad hire. When selection quality overrides cost and efficiency, then there’s hope. Referral programs can also be a bottleneck as people tend to refer demographically similar candidates.
Automated hiring systems (ATS) to attract the best talent
Apart from blind hiring, to combat the open hostility of hiring managers, organizations can rely on automated hiring systems. Aside from obvious advantages of savings in terms of time and money, automated hiring approaches make choosing the most suitable candidates from the deluge of resumes a walk in the park. Well, almost.
The future of an all-encompassing environment involves intelligently shortlisting resumes consistently and objectively using a software. With various stages of the hiring process being amenable to automation, creating workplace diversity is easy and economical. The top 5 tools are1:
- Employment screening tools for background checking, reference checks, or drug tests
- Recruitment tools such as applicant tracking systems or hiring management systems
- Pre-hire assessments
- Candidate relationship management technology
- Emerging solutions, such as social networks or mobile recruiting technology
ATS such as Recruit helps a company source developers sans bias. As a sophisticated scalable talent acquisition and technical assessment tool, Recruit scores high. Using coding challenges, companies test only the skills of potentials hires, evaluating skill sets pivotal to the job role. Gender, sexual identity, and race don’t matter because the “developer profile” will break down those barriers. The profile is a realistic summary of a candidate’s programming prowess in coding competitions. Test submissions are auto-evaluated for logical correctness, time efficiency, memory efficiency, and code size limit. The customizable platform can be used for campus recruitment, internal code fests, and other talent discovery and acquisition initiatives. (Read more to know how and why HR can use automated assessment tools effectively here.)
Hiring LGBTQ candidates, via automated programs, offers competitive advantages that a diverse labor force brings—better productivity owing to confident and enlightened employees, a safe and respectful working environment, fair performance evaluation and training programs, and legal and moral support.
“An inclusive workplace isn’t about a specific group. It’s a workplace where everyone can be themselves, be treated fairly as their contribution and perform to the best of their ability. Inclusive workplaces make better decisions, through diverse teams which draw on a wider range of ideas and experiences,” adds Drechsler.
Not hiring on the basis of commendable skillsets but personal rapport or skewed cultural fit equals poor company reputation and injustice. Not hiring from diverse backgrounds equals missed innovation opportunities. Not having a comprehensive diversity policy in place equals violation of basic human rights.
Reports suggest that changing mindsets have started the ball rolling. A good reason to celebrate, yes?