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Newsletter Week 26

July 31, 2019

A new study shows that companies are still getting resume screening wrong...even when they are committed to hiring diverse candidates. Also, check out the 2019 Disability Equality Index, and learn why many journalists don't believe they can spot flawed academic research.

This week: 

  • A new Wharton project rethinks resume studies...but finds that resume screening still contains a lot of bias, even in organizations with strong D&I commitments.

  • The new Disability Equality Index is out! Read their self-evaluation checklist for great ideas on how to make your company more accessible for both employees and customers.

  • Over half of journalists surveyed don’t think they can spot flawed research. Not encouraging.

  • Two years after #MeToo, Russian women continue their fight against domestic violence and sexual harassment, in a very discouraging political environment.


From Our Archives

While we’re revamping the site over the summer, check out our archives! Here are some of my favorite pieces from the past six months: 

When Striving for Large Change, Small Wins Make the Biggest Impact  Professor Shelley Correll of Stanford talks about her small wins approach to cultural change, and shares examples of when this has worked in industry. The interview also includes some inside baseball about how GoDaddy sparked cultural change through simple improvements to the performance management process.

Diversity Doers: Even in One of the World’s Most Gender-Equal Countries, There is Still Work to Do.  Pia Höök, head of D&I at Skanska, discusses progress in the field from her vantage point: a global company headquartered in Sweden. She points out that, while Sweden is ahead on many conversations, such as parental leave, D&I as a discipline still faces challenges. For example, D&I is often not seen as a legitimate area of expertise, but something that anyone can do...which undermines the effectiveness of the role. From the article:

“The thing people don't realize is that this is a complex area. It requires understanding how inequities are systematically ingrained in our organizational practices, and it's a lot about change management. Part of that is building and leveraging a business case. When you work with this topic, you work with the core of the organization. It's not something separate on the side. D&I is connected to the deepest level of the organization’s culture, structures and people.” 

Diversity is the Differentiator for Greenhouse. I spoke with Greenhouse CEO Daniel Chait about his commitment to embedding diversity nudges and metrics into Greenhouse’s ATS software. I really appreciated his honesty about what is and isn’t working. For example, he shared:

“A lot of what we did was using nudges as an in-the-moment intervention....It turns out that people don’t read stuff on their computer screen, so it’s hard to get their attention [with content in the app.]

On the other hand, we’ve probably underestimated the data side of it. At the end of the day, a huge part of what customers are actually looking for is just data...‘We have a problem in this front office at the case study interview,’ or ‘We actually have a top of funnel problem in this job category, in this territory.’”

This service is for you, and we want to make sure we’re bringing you the insights that really help you in your work. Please look for a survey in the next few weeks to provide feedback on how we’re doing so far, and what you would like to see in the fall! Or write me anytime at terra@diinpractice.com.


This Week in News and Research

1. Uncovering Bias: A New Way to Study Hiring Can Help (Knowledge@Wharton)

Resume studies are often at the core of unconscious bias training. It’s dramatic to show how employers respond differently to identical resumes with different names, pictures or group affiliations.

But researchers have long known that resume studies have limitations. For instance, they can only be conducted on public job postings. Recruiters also factor “gettability” into their decision about who to pursue--if a candidate seems overqualified or not likely to accept for some other reason, recruiters won’t waste time pursuing them. Finally, most identity-based resume studies don’t get a differences in experience that affect a candidate’s desirability and might be linked to identity (like socio-economic status).

Wharton researchers designed a new methodology to get around some of these limitations, which involves working with company hiring managers to understand their preferences, then matching them with real applicants. What they found: though many of the participating companies had strong commitments to diversity and inclusion, bias persisted in the recruiting process.

In the words of the researchers:

“For top employers who want to diversify their workforces and identify nontraditional candidates, the results of the study offer a stark reminder: It’s easy to say you want to think outside the box in hiring, but companies are still struggling to do it in practice, with both conscious and unconscious biases getting in the way. ‘They are excluding the exact type of candidates they say they want to be interested in.’”

Some examples of findings from the article:

  • ”...for jobs in STEM fields, women and minority candidates with 4.0 GPAs were treated the same as white male candidates with 3.75 GPAs.”

  • “Employers gave less credit to female and minority candidates for having a prestigious internship.”

  • “Employers placed no value having a “work for money” job such as waitressing or cashiering during the senior-year summer... ‘That tells us that it might be particularly challenging for students who come from lower socioeconomic backgrounds and need to work to earn money in the summers to get these top jobs.’”


2. Disability Equality Index 2019 (Disability:In)

The part I found most interesting is the self-evaluation survey companies must take to qualify for  a ranking. It’s a great checklist for anyone wanting to evaluate their own company’s friendliness to people with disabilities. 


3. 53% of Journalists Surveyed Weren’t Sure They Could Spot Flawed Research (Journalist’s Resource)

This doesn’t surprise me, but the implications are a little scary. This is why we here at D&I In Practice focus on high-quality research, placed in context by academics and experienced practitioners.


4. Russia’s Version of #MeToo Has Struggled to Take Off...Until Now (Time)

Russian women continue to resist domestic violence and sexual harassment, despite the backwards attitudes of the Russian Orthodox Church and senior government leaders. In 2017, Putin himself signed a law decriminalizing domestic violence that does not result in a hospital stay, and sexual harassment protections are non-existent. In their resistance, Russian women are part of a continuing movement around the world. From India to Nigeria, women keep standing up for their human right to live free of violence and harassment. 


We’re Also Reading...

These articles aren’t necessarily directly connected to the workplace, but have interesting insights about diversity and inclusion in society at large.

A Prosperous China Says “Men Preferred,” and Women Lose (New York Times)

Why Imposter Syndrome is Worse for Women of Color (Zora

Associates Just Want the Truth about Billable Hour Requirements (Law.com)

Real Equality is When We Can Elect a Female Slob (The Cut)

We want to hear from you!

D&I In Practice wants your feedback so we can deliver the content you need to move the needle forward on diversity and inclusion. Please send comments, questions and ideas for stories you’d love to see to editor@diinpractice.com.