11 Ways Businesses Can Ensure Equal Employment Opportunity

 11 Ways Businesses Can Ensure Equal Employment Opportunity

The face of business has become more inclusive. Companies need to move with the times or be left behind as remnants of an exploitative past.

Part of embracing the new approach to business is by ensuring equal opportunity for all. Equality in opportunity allows a company to access individuals’ talents regardless of their background, class or any other limiting factor.

Businesses should be embracing initiatives to make them more inclusive to locate the best and brightest professionals in their field. To help, 11 experts from Forbes Human Resources Council offer their best advice on how businesses can ensure equality of opportunity in their hiring practices.

1. Ensure Leadership Buy-In

It’s really critical that there is leadership buy-in, and it’s part of the leadership agenda to ensure there is Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO). It starts with setting the right tone at the top and then evaluating processes to ensure that happens — training around biases, diverse interview panels and slates. Recognizing and celebrating leaders who are building more inclusive teams! – Rohini Shankar, CIOX Health

2. Implement The Right Infrastructure

Unfortunately, EEO statements tend to be written with compliance in mind instead of looking at it as a culture statement. It’s buried in the handbook and never looked at again unless they need to pull it out for liability reasons. There needs to be infrastructure in place to support this statement from inclusive policies to checks and balances to ensure equitable enforcement of said policies. – Rebecca BaumgartnerOgletree Deakins

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3. Challenge The ‘Best Hire’ Notion

Challenge the “we just hire the best candidate” notion especially if your workforce is clearly lacking in diversity. Look at the detail of the framework of the hiring process — who is in the interview, who reviews the resumes, do you have a history of primarily hiring family/referrals of current staff, where do you post your jobs, where do you attend job fairs, what colleges do you target? – Rebecca Edwards, Infinite HR of Charlotte

4. Manage Unconscious Bias In Hiring

It’s critical for organizations to manage unconscious bias in their hiring practices. One way to mitigate unconscious bias in talent decisions is by providing targeted intervention to talent management decision-makers. Intervention helps decision-makers recognize bias, and that is the first step in eliminating it. Companies should monitor hiring data to learn if interventions are successful. – Heide Abelli, Skillsoft

5. Slow Down The Hiring Process

Slow down the hiring process and make sure you’re interviewing a diverse group of candidates for every open position. In the same vein, make sure your interview panelists are as diverse as you expect your candidate pool to be. – Andrea Lagan, Betterworks

6. Leverage Workplace Analytics

With new technologies readily available to combat inequities in the employee life cycle, companies can quickly ensure they practice what they preach. Workplace analytics can confirm liabilities and highlight triumphs in their EEO strategy, enabling companies to elevate an all-inclusive workplace where each employee inculcates a strong sense of belonging after being invited into the work-family. – Jay Polaki, HR Geckos

7. Make Sure You Have Racially-Literate Leaders

You must have racially-literate and culturally competent leaders to ensure that there is equal employment opportunity. It will be human beings who make the impactful decisions about hiring, promoting and sponsoring others in the workplace. Ensuring that decision-makers have not only a common language, but bias awareness and a shared commitment to equality, is what will make the real difference. – Courtney Peterson, Sidwell Friends School

8. Enhance Transparency, Open Your Mind

They can practice what they preach relative to Equal Employment Opportunity by enhancing transparency, reviewing the potential of employees at all levels rather than just those in closest proximity to the C-suite for leadership roles, creating and executing relevant development plans, removing fear (conscious and unconscious), and being open to exploring differences (e.g., appearance and thinking). – Phyllis Wright, Ph.D., Council for Inclusion in Financial Services (CIFS)

9. Actively Recruit, Use Custom Programs

Companies need to go beyond their usual tactics and consider actively recruiting and building a presence at the top 20 historically black colleges. They also need to find bespoke programs to recruit from such as Google Co-op, partner with nonprofits like Suit Up to mentor those educated in underprivileged communities and consider if referral recruitment policies are just breeding more of the same. – Polina Wilson, Unruly ®

10. Start Actually Caring About Diversity

Leaders have to stop paying lip service to diversity and start actually caring about it. That’s it. Once they decide it’s a priority, change will happen. HR can help by driving education and awareness, but at the end of the day, it’s all about the leadership team’s expectations and modeling the right behaviors. Be the change you seek. – Tracy Cote, Zenefits

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Originally posted on Forbes

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