Rewarding diversity in employment

My company – MiFile – is approaching the point where we will need to start thinking about building a small set of teams – IT development, sales and marketing.  I’ve come from big companies that like to promote the virtues of hiring a diverse demographic, but the reality seems to be a lot of the same people in the workplace.

Working with recruiters

Whilst ‘word of mouth’ is great for finding talented people, I also expect to have to work with some recruiters.  Over the last 5 years I have had a lot more involvement in the recruitment process but have never seen an incentive programme in place to promote diversity in recruitment.

With this in mind, I was considering the following type of scenario when agreeing placement fees:

  • Candidate selected: White Male, aged between 23 and 45: agreed base fee minus 15%;
  • Candidate selected: Non-white Male, aged between 23 and 45: agreed base fee plus 5%;
  • Candidate selected: White Female, aged between 23 and 45: agreed base fee plus 5%;
  • Candidate selected: Non-white Female, aged between 23 and 45: agreed base fee plus 10%;
  • All other scenarios: agreed base fee.

With this in mind, both parties should win – the recruiter is incentivised financially to find a diverse set of candidates and we are likely to benefit as an organisation through diversity in the workplace.  This shouldn’t limit the involvement of those with a disabilities, however this blog post is focused on ethnic, age and gender diversity.

Initial CV Screening

Additionally, I am considering requesting a ‘depersonalised’ initial CV review process.  By this I mean all CVs are submitted as having a common name and gender (so ‘Jane-001’, ‘Jane-002’) to reduced racial and gender bias at early stage reviews.

I understand that this creates a little more work for the recruiter, but hopefully as a model it demonstrates a real desire to reduce racial, gender and age bias from the process as early as possible.  Of course it isn’t foolproof – if a candidate includes that they went to ‘St. Mary’s Girls’ School’ in the education section, or list Men’s Judo Champion under accomplishments, the system will fall down.  But these are issues that can be considered and worked through via the recruiter.

Testing the approach, not the detail

At this stage I’m testing my thinking, more than actually implementing anything.  For example, the age range of 23 to 45 is primarily based on my own observations of who I see in the workplace – and even here this for me is really focused around IT, sales, marketing and the internal corporate part of retail.

I would very much like to invite additional discussion, as well as hoping to find out where others have experience of promoting diversity through the hiring process.

A note to recruiters…

No, not yet.  I’ll get in touch when I’m ready to start hiring – please don’t contact me yet.  If you do, it’s the easiest way for me to qualify your organization out of future business.  You can, however, share any ways that you already incorporate this kind of thinking into your recruitment.

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