This is Recruiting: How to Develop a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Initiative
“When we listen and celebrate what is both common and different, we become wiser, more inclusive, and better as an organization.” — Pat Wadors
At Hackerearth we believe that skills do not discriminate. We want to help brands create effective workforces, and that cannot be done if companies do not evolve to hire based on talent rather than focussing on gender and racial stereotypes. We take pains to ensure our products are bias-free as well.
It is this quest of empowering bias-free tech recruitment that led our CEO, Sachin Gupta, to connect with Troy McIntosh – Senior Director, Diversity and Inclusion at U.S. Cellular. Troy’s team of five works on leading tactics in the areas of inclusion, ensuring equal talent representation, supplier diversity and more. As he elaborates during the conversation, the strategies used by U.S. Cellular to maintain equitable hiring practices is among the best in the country; one of the reasons why Diversity Best Practices (DBP), a division of Working Mother Media, named U.S. Cellular among the 98 American organizations that earned a score of at least 60 percent and a place on their 2020 Inclusion Index.
Below are some excerpts from the conversation:
Sachin: Talking of diversity and inclusion from a talent perspective (and I’m sure this is a dilemma that a lot of recruiters face), sometimes when you are evaluating candidates you get a diverse candidate who’s really good, but there might also be a non-diverse candidate who’s even better. And we also have to keep in mind that interviews can be a bit subjective sometimes. How do you make a decision in such scenarios?
Troy: Well, my team is not currently involved with requisition. We focus mainly on ensuring that diverse candidates are in the pipeline, that they are in the interview process, and that the interview process is free of bias. So, we would be more involved with training leaders on reflecting on their own biases, involved with ensuring that the pipeline at the interview slate is diverse. At U.S. Cellular, things might be a little bit different than most companies – I don’t know. I talked to a lot of my colleagues about this; we don’t see much disparity between our applicant pool diversity and our higher diversity. We’ve spent a lot of time with leaders encouraging them to build a talented, diverse team. A couple of years ago, we brought in some thinkers, including Scott Paige, to talk about diversity and team composition and we’ve taken the stance that diverse teams will outperform less diverse teams, so rather than hire five people who are similar we focus on ensuring the focus of the company is on hiring diverse teams which can outshine. This strategy has really worked for us, and i wouldn’t say we have this concern (of choosing between a diverse and a non-diverse candidate) that often. Typically, we have a very robust talent pipeline and we’ve found – cross my fingers – that our leaders tend to hire in a pretty equitable way when they have diversity in the interview slate. Now I would say that’s not the case with all companies – I’ve worked with companies where they have seen a decrease of success, but at U.S. Cellular we don’t have that problem.
Sachin: That’s interesting! Now you’ve touched upon a couple of things like ensuring the pipeline is diverse and that there is no bias in the hiring process. Could you talk about some of the key metrics you measure at your level to ensure that your D&I program is working as expected?
Troy: We’ve actually built some targets and those targets are based on equity. So, the way I would explain it is that I like to tell my daughter that she has an equal chance of becoming CEO at the company than I would have had. What we want to see is internal equity. As an example, if 50% of our internal contributors in sales are women, we’d like to see 50% of managers, 50% of directors being women too. And if that’s not the case, then we spend time trying to find out why. So, we do want to meet our targets but a better way of explaining it is to say that the targets inform our choices. If we see for example that fewer women are being promoted, we want to know why. And then we talk to leaders to understand the root cause. Are they not interviewing enough women? Is it that women have less confidence? Is it that men don’t view them as talented? Whatever the reason is, my team gets involved with trying to understand the issue and remedy the situation.
Learn about the D&I lessons from top global organizations.
For more on Troy’s learnings and insights into creating a fabulous workplace, do watch the video. See you next time!