Unconscious Bias Is Stopping Employers Hiring The Best Staff

Leaders should base recruitment and promotion decisions on objective assessment data

Unconscious bias could be preventing employers from hiring the best staff and improving business performance. A new report from Questionmark, the online assessment provider, argues that leaders should test the skills of workers so that they can make objective decisions on recruitment and promotion.

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The new Questionmark report, “Overcoming bias and building diverse business success” shows how more diverse workforces deliver better business performance. But despite the clear business imperative, leaders are struggling to master diversity and inclusion.

Three main barriers are preventing employers from nurturing a more diverse workforce:

  1. Active discrimination – almost 30% of ethnic minority and 39% of LGBT+ respondents claim they have heard derogatory comments or jokes about people like them from co-workers, according to McKinsey research.1
  2. Unconscious bias – without realizing it, employers could be basing their decisions on who to recruit or promote on factors other than who is best for the job.
  3. Lack of visible inclusion – diversity begets diversity. If workers do not see people like them in senior leadership positions they may not push for their own progression.

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Measuring and testing the skills of workers using online assessments can help employers make more objective and inclusive people decisions. Assessments draw attention to people’s skills and knowledge irrespective of their background. Data from assessments indicate which candidates are best for the role and which workers are ripe for promotion. This objective information can challenge bias and lead to the workforce becoming more diverse.

Lars Pedersen, CEO of Questionmark, said: “Assessments help employers make more inclusive people decisions. They can detect attitudes across the existing workforce that need challenging. They reveal whether diversity training is effective.”

The “Questionmark Anti-discrimination for People Managers” test provides a ready-made assessment to measure knowledge of discrimination law and help managers make fair and balanced decisions. It is available for the US and UK markets.

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