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How Effective Is the Diverse Slate Approach to Hiring?

July 27, 2020


Are diverse slate hiring requirements helpful in creating a more diverse and inclusive workforce?   


When an employer has a diverse slate hiring policy, it means that they require recruiters and hiring managers to fill positions using a diverse pool of qualified candidates. For those of you who have read Harvard Business Review’s popular article “If There’s Only One Woman in Your Candidate Pool, There’s Statistically No Chance She’ll Be Hired,” you know why diverse slate policies exist.

Requiring a diverse slate of qualified candidates helps mitigate similarity bias, or our natural inclination to surround ourselves with people who think, act, and look like us. By mitigating similarity bias, companies can improve gender and race/ethnic representation among their ranks. 

However (and this is important) → the diverse slate approach only works when there are two or more diverse candidates in the slate.  

Interestingly, the NFL popularized this approach to hiring in 2003 via the Rooney Rule. The league implemented the Rooney Rule because they wanted to increase minority representation among head coaching staff. It worked. Between 2002 and 2006, the percentage of head coaches who were Black increased from 6% to 22%. 

Facebook, which rolled out its Diverse Slate Approach in 2015, says that “the more people you interview who don’t look or think like you, the more likely you are to hire someone from a diverse background.”

Diverse slate policies matter in a world where women hold only 26.5% of executive roles, 21.1% of board seats, and 5.8% of CEO positions at S&P 500 companies. Women of color are even more underrepresented, holding less than 1% (0.6%) of all CEO positions at S&P 500 companies. 

Just remember, context is key. The diverse slate approach can boost workplace DI&E efforts if the right mechanisms and culture are in place to support diverse talent. 

After all, how can you expect to retain diverse talent if your workplace is not designed to value employees equitably? Plus, ensuring the success of your existing diverse talent plays a large role in recruiting new diverse talent: 67% of job seekers say that a diverse workforce is an important factor when evaluating companies and job offers. 

Next, think about the entire employee lifecycle. Diverse slate hiring is step one. Once you make the hire, you need to ensure that steps two, three, four, etc are accounted for in your DI&E strategy. 

  • Do you onboard employees equitably? 
  • Do you promote them equitably?
  • Do you reward and compensate them equitably?
  • Do you evaluate their performance and potential equitably?

Final word: The diverse slate approach helps mitigate similarity bias (not other types of bias) at the beginning of the employee lifecycle. If you choose to implement this hiring policy, make sure to reinforce it with mechanisms that mitigate the other forms of bias that creep into all other stages of the employee experience.  

This article was originally published here
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Equity and Inclusion / Stakeholder Capitalism
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