Intersectionality biases are based on how people are perceived by a number of characteristics. These include ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, educational and socio economic background, religion and learning abilities among others. A person with these characteristics often faces more discrimination and disadvantages than other groups of people.

For example, imagine the daily negative interactions a black Muslim woman, aged 50, who wears a hijab and stammers, living in a different country, may face. 

The woman would be judged on these external factors and not seen for the value she can bring to an organisation. There are many global organisations that have taken the initiative to embrace diversity and inclusiveness into their daily practices. But more needs to be done instead of ticking boxes, for example – policies including a recruitment drive for more people in the blue collar sector. These people may not even be considered for promotions or given as many opportunities as their colleagues.

So what can we do to encourage HR Directors and recruiters to hire more talented people from diverse backgrounds?

As the recruitment process is the first step to attracting, recruiting and onboarding new employees, the company will have internal data to hand already.

They can assess the number of employees hired in a given year. Thereafter, they can break down that employee data into sub groups. These will include ethnicity, gender, race, age, educational status etc. They can further break down the female employee data into White, Black, Asian, Mixed race. 

They can ask the new employees for feedback on their journey from being shortlisted to being onboarded and thereafter. Often, new employees are left to ‘get on with it’ without any support to help them settle into their role. 

This will help highlight gaps in their recruitment process or even opportunities within the organisation.

Here are some questions they can ask themselves:

1. Does your website career page include job descriptions and application forms that are  easily accessed by people with disabilities?

2. Does your content have inclusive language and images that make people from diverse backgrounds feel they will be seen and heard?

3. Does your interviewing panel consist of people from diverse backgrounds? Have you offered them training on diversity and inclusion?

4. Does your leadership team showcase people from diverse backgrounds?

5. Do your employees in roles such as tech and logistics showcase women as well?

From an external view point, they can build partnerships with new groups of people. These include schools, colleges and universities in other countries who have candidates that they would like to recruit.

They could join global networks, associations and social media groups who focus on diversity and inclusiveness.

They could ask an expert in the field to review their website content, job descriptions, application forms and interviewing questions to ensure they are free from bias.

They could hire a Diversity and Inclusion Coach who will guide their HR team through the process. By asking them thought provoking questions, using behavioural exercises and obtaining 360 degree feedback, they will become more inclusive as they uncover and change their own biases. 

They could use blind CV screening processes where all names are removed from the process or use skill-based assessments to screen candidates.

This is part of my entrepreneurial journey as I partner with HR Directors to help them attract, recruit and retain talented people from diverse backgrounds. Embedding diversity and inclusiveness models into their policies, processes and practices will help pave the way for all employees to have equal opportunities. That is what I also plan to do here, in this series of articles on MaltaCEOs.mt.

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