Are Asian Names Being Screened Out By Hiring Managers?

February 3rd, 2017
Jon-Mark Sabel

Every week we scour the internet for the best HR news, articles, and insights, compiling them here in a weekly roundup. This week we examine if Asian candidates are discriminated against in the hiring process, refocusing HR, and the power of values-based recognition.

Do Hiring Managers Discriminate Against Asian Candidates?

Using data from a Canadian discrimination audit, researchers studied what factors impacted (positively or negatively) employers’ calls to request an interview. The most striking pattern was the effect of having an Asian sounding name. “Asian applicants received about 20% fewer calls from large employers, and almost 40% fewer calls from small employers,” Megan Purdy explains in her article. Even when Asian candidates had better resumes and more advanced degrees, they booked fewer interviews. Oddly enough, the discrimination was least stark when researchers looked at applications and callbacks for less skilled jobs. Purdy concludes: “Studies have consistently shown that hiring discrimination at the point of resume assessment is still a big problem. Recruiters and hiring managers discriminate based on gender, names, schools and a variety of other factors - but they aren’t always doing do consciously. It’s easy to recognize our vocally bigoted or biased colleagues, but much harder to recognize and root out our own unconscious biases - it’s why so many companies are flirting with the possibility of incorporating AI into the hiring process.” Considering that many applicants are “whitening” their names to land interviews, it might not be a bad idea. Find Megan: LinkedIn

Force-Feeding Your Hiring Managers Diversity Is A Bad Idea

No business leader thinks they will be better off with a more homogenous workforce. And yet, particularly in tech, homogenous workforces are more or less the norm. Business leaders are forced to unify the desire to diversify with the right approach. As Art Papas explains, the one tactic to avoid is the paternal approach. Here are a couple examples of the “paternal approach”:

  • “You have to interview at least one diverse candidate.”
  • “You have to include women in every meeting.”

While well-intentioned, these will only breed animosity in the long-term. Papas’ solution? “Focus on helping them (hiring managers) understand that a diverse workforce will improve their team’s performance - then we give them the tools to get there.” Another tactic to grow diversity organically is inclusion: let all employees feel welcome. Otherwise you’re just going through the motions, and won’t reap the benefits of increased diversity. “The benefit of diversity is in introducing challenging, progressive discourse and in promoting innovation and new ideas by attracting people of all backgrounds,” Papas concludes. Find Art: Twitter LinkedIn

Don’t Replace Your HR Department, Refocus It

With technology automating much of what was formerly delegated to the HR department, many are wondering if the department should be split and merged into others. Todd Richardson disagrees: “It’s times to evolve how we think about HR services and discuss how we can maximize the effectiveness of our greatest assets: our people.” He suggests offloading two traditional HR duties to other departments while refocusing on the remaining four. Duties to offload:

  1. Administrative duties. “Assign payroll, benefits, recordkeeping, EEO-1, and other similar tasks to accounting and/or finance.” Richardson suggests. These departments are better equipped to handle these booking functions.
  2. Internal communication responsibilities. Assign these to marketing - they are already well-versed in crafting messages for external audiences. It also gives another department more impetus to encourage employee engagement.

Duties to focus on:

  1. Recruiting. Recruiting is among the most important duties for long-term business success. Individuals recruited into an organization will impact its form for years to come - a task of such importance should be centralized, not delegated.
  2. Onboarding. “Execute and onboarding strategy that stresses culture, not just administrative functions like new hire paperwork,” Richardson says. “Speak about what makes your company’s culture special and the role(s) the new hire will play to further enhance the workplace.”
  3. Talent management. Intentionality is critical for fostering employee development. Without someone owning the function, it probably won’t happen.
  4. Employee engagement. “Companies that make the employee engagement function a priority reap dramatically more benefits than those that ignore or under-invest in employee engagement,” Richardson explains.

Removing administrative tasks and focusing on strategy will allow HR to be valued as an effective and strategic business partner - so the thinking goes. What do you think? Find Todd: LinkedIn

HR Systems of Record Have Evolved Considerably

“Decades ago, we used to think of HR systems as systems of record,” Josh Bersin begins. “As the Internet evolved and we started using PCs and web browsers to access systems, the HR software market shifted toward systems of engagement.” Now, as everything is relocating to mobile, HR systems are shifting again. Rather than focusing on under-utilized ATSs, LMSs, and TMSs, the market has turned its attention to HR tools that drive productivity and make work easier. Built around mobile-accessible applications, these new tools promise productivity beyond the workplace. “The future of HR software is now very clear,” Bersin concludes. “We need to build and buy systems that make work easier; make life better; and help us learn, give feedback, collaborate, and get aligned.” All with very little training. Find Josh:

Why Values-Based Recognition Matters for Recruitment

A recent SHRM survey found that 46% of organizations mention employee retention as a serious workforce management challenge, 36% see employee engagement as a top challenge, and 40% of HR leaders don’t think performance reviews are useful. With this amalgamation of bad (and compounding) news, what is the HR professional to do? Tess Taylor contends that a solution lies in values-based recognition. “Companies with an investment (1% or more of payroll) in values-based recognition were nearly three times more likely to rate their program as excellent,” she explains. And these sorts of programs pay out dividends: they retain twice as many employees. So what is values-based recognition? Simply put, you recognize values, not performance. Those that most exemplify the values of your organization’s culture are set as exemplars. Rather than focusing on hitting performance benchmarks, new hires should be “getting plugged into the corporate culture and values of their new job.” Find Tess: Twitter