All of us want our employees and teams to be engaged, committed, productive and satisfied. And evidence repeatedly shows that diverse teams are more innovative and better able to tackle complex problems more successfully.
Diversity is good for business
There’s also a strong financial case for building a more inclusive workplace. According to the Diversity Council of Australia, greater executive and board diversity in organisations leads to returns that are more than 50 per cent higher, and gross earnings that are 15 per cent higher, than organisations with lower diversity.
But historically speaking, we’ve relied heavily on subjective methods of candidate selection.
We all have unconscious biases
Recent research shows how, despite our best efforts, we’re all subject to biases. Because we have to process millions of pieces of information, our brains create mental shortcuts – the word ‘bias’ derives from the Greek word ‘oblique’ meaning a diagonal line.
These shortcuts help us to navigate the world with minimal effort. Making conscious decisions takes a lot of brainpower and biases allow us to conserve energy for more important decisions.
Extensive research has shown that preferring people based on gut instinct – or because their children go to the same school as us, or they enjoy the same hobbies as us – is as likely to result in a good hire as flipping a coin. When we make quick judgements about people, most of it happens unconsciously based our background, cultural environment and personal experiences. And if we’re not using scientific and objective selection tools, those biases will often impact our hiring decisions.
Being aware of our biases isn’t enough to help make good decisions
If we’re automatically disqualifying people based on unconscious biases, without really understanding the basis of our decisions, we’re immediately reducing the pool of talent we invite into our organisation –and this means we’re reducing the likelihood of hiring the very best people for the job.
In other words, we’re hiring someone who fits into an unconscious, possibly irrational, preconceived idea of what the best person will be like.
In this sense, assessments are blind to some of the factors that may have traditionally triggered biases, such as name, gender, ethnicity, weight and age. Assessments treat every person in the same way regardless of these factors.
There is a way to beat our biases
Scientifically developed and validated psychometric assessments measure people’s attributes and behaviours objectively, regardless of their ethnicity, gender, age, level of education and other characteristics.
This means you can be confident you’re accurately assessing specific attributes, such as problem-solving ability, work-related values, emotional intelligence, integrity and more in a bias-free and inclusive manner.
And, just as importantly, candidates see you’ve opted to use fair, bias-free recruitment tools that give everyone an equal opportunity.
Psychometric assessments remove this kind of bias from the selection process by treating every candidate fairly and assessing them against the same set of criteria
Your candidates want to feel they’ve had a fair chance to display their knowledge, skills and experience during the recruitment process.
And as an employer, you need to demonstrate your selection process treats every candidate equally and doesn’t discriminate against people based on irrelevant factors like age, gender or ethnicity. You also need to ensure the selection tools you use are relevant to the role you’re recruiting for.
Your candidates should be able to see a clear link between the content of the assessment and the job they’re applying for (also known as face validity).
Plus, they should know the assessment is doing what it’s supposed to do – measuring attributes that are required to be successful on the job (also known as predictive validity).
This will enhance the experience candidates have when applying for a job with your organisation, which has numerous repercussions – particularly if you’re a consumer-facing business. It also means you’re not wasting time and money using ineffective selection methods.