Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Put The 'Human' Back in HR By Getting Serious About Diversity

www.forbes.com
by Stacey Gordon
Originally Published: July 25th, 2012

"We talk about the business case for diversity as a way to garner support for diversity program initiatives by appealing to the results oriented bottom-line driven corporate executives.

We discuss the increased profitability of companies that employ women in C-Level positions, but what about the human case for diversity?

In this current economic state, the case for humanity has never been more necessary.

When you encounter hiring managers who refuse to interview a candidate because “they wouldn’t still be unemployed if they were any good at their jobs,” they are compounding the effects of long-term unemployment on all candidates.

A prolonged period of unemployment for a candidate exacerbates the stereotype that the candidate is unsuitable. This is true regardless of race, gender or ethnicity.

Unfortunately, that negative effect has a greater impact on minorities than on other potential new hires.

However, when companies have practices in place that implicitly discourage minority hiring; the impact is exacerbated exponentially.

Earlier this year, 12.8 million people were unemployed in America. 7.7 percent were women, 14 percent were Black, and 11 percent were Hispanic.

During the best of times, 5.7 million people were unemployed. Of those, four percent were women, eight percent Blacks and six percent Hispanic.

When you do the math, it is impossible to ignore the disproportionate number of women and minorities who are currently unemployed.

One hiring practice that discourages minority hiring can be found within the many (but now dwindling) BigLaw firms that only hire candidates from the top 20 law schools. This practice automatically excludes minorities by virtue of the fact that fewer minorities apply to, are accepted into and graduate from the law schools from which they recruit.

If you combine the unemployment statistics above with the fact that nearly half of those people (5.5 million) have been without a job for more than 6 months, you realize that something is amiss.

In a tough economy, the first cuts happen within diversity programs. That alone indicates the value corporate executives place on these initiatives. Not much.

Employers have a responsibility to ensure diversity in their hiring practices to prevent a disproportionate number of minorities and women from being left out of the job market. Their diversity and inclusion teams, in partnership with HR, helps make that happen.
Why bother?

Because in addition to a business case, it’s the right thing to do!

Put the “human” back in human resources by embracing the best practices of your diversity and inclusion team.

If you don’t have one, or you cut the budget of yours, now might be a good time to revaluate."