The sensible business unit leader and hiring manager will recruit staff whose skills, experience and professional values accord with their needs and ethics. However, managers faced with a pool of candidates with the right credentials often fall back into behavioural patterns governed by subconscious conditioning – acculturation. Classically, this manifests itself in hiring people who are like the hirer (because they are the ones with whom the hirer feels at ease). This is seen as men hiring men, the influence of ‘the old school (or Oxbridge college or regimental) tie’ or just picking people who look and speak as we do because we feel ok around them.
Some institutions have been singled out by critics as suffering from inertia precisely because they are full of ‘process types’ who don’t like change and recruit ‘in their own image’ eg. the senior civil service (SCS) has received much criticism because it is still perceived to be staffed by Oxbridge graduates who lack business and delivery know-how. SCS recruitment guidelines have been changed to encourage the hire of those who can deliver change.
Apart from the objective unfairness, if we only recruit in our own image we will restrict our access to talent and won’t optimise business performance. Some of this is blindingly obvious; e.g. a company recruiting men only will miss out on what half the population can offer. Other hiring biases are less obvious but, whatever one’s views on the diversity agenda, the evidence is that those companies which build a diverse workforce perform better. Let’s face it, we don’t want to fall into the ‘group think’ trap and what better way to avoid it than to hire staff from the most varied backgrounds – non-linear iconoclasts with well-developed critical thinking skills who might prove to be the most fertile idea generators on your team?
McKinsey & Co. has been examining workplace diversity for several years. Their report; Diversity Matters analysed data sets for 366 companies in Canada, Latin America, the United Kingdom, and the United States. They looked at data on financial results and the composition of top management and boards and found that:
- “Companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.
- Companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.
- Companies in the bottom quartile both for gender and for ethnicity and race are statistically less likely to achieve above-average financial returns than the average companies in the data set (that is, bottom-quartile companies are lagging rather than merely not leading).
- In the United Kingdom, greater gender diversity on the senior-executive team corresponded to the highest performance uplift in our data set: for every 10 percent increase in gender diversity, earnings before interest and tax rose by 3.5 percent.
- The unequal performance of companies in the same industry and the same country implies that diversity is a competitive differentiator shifting market share toward more diverse companies.”
The Grichan Partnership will work with you to source talent from the widest possible pool, on merit alone, using open source intelligence tools and psychometric testing to locate and objectively filter candidates.