It’s Friday and it’s the summer and no one reads blogs on a Friday in the summer! So, here’s a video:
Would love to get your thoughts in the comments. Am I way off base on this thought, or is there merit?
It’s Friday and it’s the summer and no one reads blogs on a Friday in the summer! So, here’s a video:
Would love to get your thoughts in the comments. Am I way off base on this thought, or is there merit?
Obviously, we had major news recently around abortion rights in America.
What I really want to talk about today is an amazingly quick response by organizations to immediately offer a new health benefit. Within hours of the announcement, we saw major employers come out publicly stating they would pay for the expense of their employees to obtain legal abortions if they could not get one in the state they lived and worked. Some employers also announced that they would pay for relocations for their employees to live in states with legal abortions.
All of this, just from a health benefit plan design perspective is quite remarkable!
Most employers can’t agree on offering smoking cessation programs for their employees or paying for gym memberships, but within hours, we are now paying for abortions. We have severely unhealthy obese employees, but we won’t pay for bariatric surgery. Organizations tend to move very slowly in making benefit design changes, and those changes tend to mostly be around cost/benefit.
Are we being “Inclusive” by offering an abortion benefit?
Again – I’m 100% in favor of a woman’s right to choose!
But we need to have a conversation about the hypocrisy of some of these decisions being made around this issue. This is what we do as professionals in HR. We discuss decisions we make as organizations, and how each decision tends to lead to other issues we can’t yet know what they might be.
So, we are now offering abortions as a health benefit. Why?
Let’s say we are willing to pay $5,000 dollars for our female employees to get an abortion. It definitely makes us sound like we are a very progressive employer! It’s interesting, though, that many of the employers who are willing to pay for your abortion are not willing to pay for your parental leave if you chose to keep your baby. They are unwilling to pay for childcare assistance after you have your baby.
Why is that?
Could it be, that not having children make you a more productive and less expensive to insure employee?
We must ask ourselves this question, if not only to ensure we are being inclusive in our insurance offerings to our female employees.
If you want to be “inclusive” you offer a woman a full choice. Yes, you can choose to have an abortion and we’ll support you! Yes, you can have the baby, and we will still support you! If you only choose one side, you are being exclusionary. Why?
Abortion as an employer-paid health benefit
There are benefits we pay as employers that have very little financial impact but make us look like we are an employer of choice. College Tuition reimbursement was always the biggest one. We offer you college tuition reimbursement knowing almost no one actually takes advantage of it. It’s one of the lowest-used benefits a company can offer! But, we feel great about ourselves when we market this out to candidates and employees.
Are abortion benefits the next college tuition benefit? You offer it up, knowing it makes you look like a progressive employer, but you know it really has very little financial impact. On the flip side, offering paid parental leave and childcare assistance, well, those benefits actually cost us real money, so no, we won’t offer those!
All women should be allowed to make their own choice with their bodies. Period. Employers are going to decide if they should help women with that decision. I think we, as HR leaders and professionals, should be advising our executives that having a “Choice” is about more than one option. Our benefit plans should support any choice a woman wants to make, not just one.
Abortion is health care. Having and caring for a child is health care. Organizations need to support all choices that a woman might want to make.
If you aren’t familiar with Scott Galloway he’s a New York University professor of marketing and hugely popular. He’s a liberal and rails openly against Trump and also his own industry, Higher Education. I’m a moderate and he’s so freaking smart, I could care less about his political leanings, I just get smarter listening to him.
Besides being a professor, he has started and exited a few technology companies, sits on boards, has school-aged kids, and talks a ton about the stock market.
On a recent pod, Elitism: Money vs. Influence, he gave his top 3 attributes to the top-performing employees of the companies that he has started. These are:
So, a Professor of NYU, former business owner, and thought leader says it’s okay to be biased in selection.
I’m not sure I agree we should ever be biased in our hiring selection practices, but Galloway points out a reality in our culture. As long as we aren’t biased towards the majority, we will look the other way and ignore it.
What Galloway is saying is not different than how the vast majority of hiring managers are making their final selections. They take a look at past and current performances and they make some educated inferences about what those top performers have in common. Based on this knowledge, it will shape their hiring selection. Does this, or could this, lead to bias? Yes.
Does it make it wrong?
That’s the big sticky question, isn’t it?
We want to say, no, it’s fine, continue to hire the females if those are your best performers. But, just because your current females are your best performers doesn’t mean they’ll be your best moving forward, or that maybe one of the males will be even a better performer.
Flip the scenario.
Galloway now tells us that one of the three attributes for high performance is they are “male”. Do we have a problem with this now? Most likely, you do have a problem with it based on hiring equity issues, broadly, but it’s hard to say specifically since maybe this organization doesn’t have gender equity issues.
Want to know what Inclusion is difficult when it comes to organizational dynamics? It’s because what Galloway laid out is exactly what every organization lays out. The difference is, it isn’t always friendly to the underrepresented community.
Like I said, regardless of your feelings on this one subject, Galloway’s podcast is money! It’s on my must-listen to pods each week.
Give me your thoughts on this in the comments?
I know you’ve seen this going on in June, but you might not have known what it was called. “Rainbow Washing” or “Pride Washing” is when a corporation turns its logo, for the month of June, from its traditional colors to rainbow colors to show its support of Pride Month.
Here are some examples:
Is there any harm in doing this?
My initial impression was “No”. I’ve got gay people in my life and for far too long most companies were scared to even acknowledge gay people were real, let alone show their support, so for me, this is an amazing time. We have billion-dollar corporations willing to come out publicly and state they support their gay employees and customers in a very public way.
But, we also have the bad marketing side of the world.
We have organizations that will Rainbow Wash their logo for June, to act like they are Prideful of their LGBTQ workforce and customers, but then do nothing else the rest of the year. Wait, how do you pronounce “Cinco De Mayo” or isn’t February the shortest of the months for Black History? I joke, this is classic in most organizations. We say we care, but we do the least amount to show we care.
The worst of this is when the organization says one thing, like, hey, look at our rainbow logo, but then goes and gives political donations to politicians who are actively working to reduce or eliminate gay rights. Yes, this is happening. This is far worse than those acting like they care but doing the minimum to increase sales. This is actively lying to employees and the public through behaviors and dollars working to support the other side.
Do you have to rainbow wash your logo to have Pride?
Nope. In fact, I’m sure the LGBTQ community would prefer you not wash your logo and just actually give a damn through your actions and funding of policies that support their community. But, doing those things and washing your logo is also awesome!
Signs and symbols of support shouldn’t be discounted. They are important. A corporation could be the biggest donor to gay rights but hide the fact they do it, that also isn’t great. “Pride” is about having pride for the LGBTQ community and showing your support in a public way that will show those who don’t support that you do and you’re not afraid to show it. Because for way too much of our history way too many were afraid to show their support.
Can Rainbow Washing go too far?
Well, maybe if it goes down the male genital route, you go too far!
This isn’t real, but it demonstrates how a brand can go over the edge with Pride!
Now, you might love the OG and be Gay, and I’m here for it! Everyone loves those breadsticks and salad!
Rainbow washing goes too far when you are doing it for promotion and marketing and not because you want to show Pride for the LGBTQ community. I know, for 100% fact, that some CMO and Revenue officers have had the discussion, “hey, what happens to our sales if we wash the logo? Oh, it’s up 7%! Should we keep it a rainbow for July!? No! That’s the American Flag washing logo, you idiot! Sales went up 8% last year with Red, White, and Blue!”
Rainbow wash your logo. Show support. Give to Gay Rights and Politicians who support Gay RIghts. Show your Pride!
I know a ton of HR Pros right now who have been charged by their organizations to go out and “Diversify” their workforce. By “Diversify”, I’m not talking about diversity of thought, but recruiting a more diverse workforce in terms of ethnic, gender, and racial diversity.
Clearly, by bringing in more individuals from underrepresented groups in your workforce, you’ll expand the “thought diversification”, but for those HR Pros in the trenches and sitting in conference rooms with executives behind closed doors, diversification of thought isn’t the issue being discussed.
So, I have some assumptions I want to put forth before I go any further:
1. Referred employees make the best hires. (Workforce studies frequently list employee referrals as the highest quality hires across all industries and positions)
2. ERPs (Employee Referral Programs) are the major tool used to get employee referrals by HR Pros.
3. A diverse workforce will perform better in most circumstances than I homogeneous workforce will.
4. Diversity departments, if you’re lucky enough, or big enough, to have one in your organization, traditionally tend to do a weak job at “recruiting” diversity candidates (there more concerned about getting the Cinco De Mayo Taco Bar scheduled, etc.)
Now, keeping in mind the above assumptions, what do you think is the best way to recruit diverse candidates to your organization?
I’ve yet to find a company willing to go as far as to “Pay More” for a black engineer referral vs. a white engineer referral. Can you imagine how that would play out in your organization!? But behind the scenes in the HR Departments across the world, this exact thing is happening in a number of ways.
First, what is your cost of hiring diverse candidates versus non-diverse candidates? Do you even measure that? Why not? I’ll tell you why, is very hard to justify why you are paying two, three, and even four times more for a diverse candidate, with the same skill sets, versus a non-diverse candidate in most technical and medical recruiting environments. Second, how many diversity recruitment events do you go to versus non-specific diversity recruitment events? In organizations that are really pushing diversification of the workforce, I find that this figure is usually 2 to 1.
So, you will easily spend more resources for your organization to become more diversified, but you won’t reward your employees for helping you to reach your goals? I find this somewhat ironic. You will pay Joe, one of your best engineers, $2000 for any referral, but you are unwilling to pay him $4000 for referring his black engineer friends from his former company.
Yet, you’ll go out and spend $50,000 attending diversity recruiting job fairs and events all over the country trying to get the same person. When you know the best investment of your resources would be to put up a poster in your hallways saying “Wanted Black Engineers $4000 Reward!”.
Here’s why you don’t do this.
Most organizations do a terrible job at communicating the importance of having a diverse workforce, and that to get to an ideal state, sometimes it means the organization might have to hire a female, an Asian, an African American, or a Hispanic, over a similarly qualified white male to ensure the organization is reaching their highest potential.
Workgroup performance by diversity is easily measured and reported to employees, to demonstrate diversity successes, but we rarely do it, to help us explain why we do what we are doing in talent selection. What do we need to do? Stop treating our employees like they won’t get it, start educating them beyond the politically correct version of Diversity and start educating them on the performance increases we get with diversity. Then it might not seem so unheard of to pay more to an employee for referring a diverse candidate!
So, you take pride in your diversity hiring efforts, but you’re just unwilling to properly reward for it…
It seems like being an ‘inclusive’ employer would be super easy! You just accept everyone! Can’t we all just get along!?
The reality is, that being an inclusive employer is hard because being inclusive isn’t about accepting everyone. What!? Oh, great, Tim has finally lost his mind, buckle up!
I wrote a post about Jeff Bezos’s annual letter and how he lays out a great framework for how organizations and leaders should manage performance. Many people liked the post, but there was also a strong reaction from a lot of people who hate Amazon’s culture.
They hear and read media accounts of Amazon being a bad place to work. About Amazon’s hard-charging, work a ton of hours, you don’t have a great work-life balance, etc. Some people go to work for Amazon and tell themselves during the interview process that “yeah, I’ve heard the stories, but I’m different, I want this, I want to be a part of a giant brand like Amazon, I can handle it because it’s a great step in my career.”
That’s when they find out they actually lack self-insight and they should never listen to their inner voice because it lies to them!
So, what does this have to do with ‘inclusion’?
If you truly believe in inclusion, you then believe that Amazon is a great place to work, for those who desire that type of culture. It might not be a culture you would ever choose to work in. Amazon actually likes the people that self-select out! It makes their job easier because they don’t want you anyway!
If you stand up and shout Amazon is an awful employer, you don’t understand inclusion. No one forces you to go to work at Amazon, and Amazon does not hide who they are. In fact, Amazon might actually be the best company on the planet to show exactly who they are as an employer and what you’re signing up for if you decide to go to work there.
Amazon is giant and the vast majority of its employees love working for them. Those employees thrive in that environment. It’s what they were looking for. It’s how they are wired. If you put them into another what you might consider, an ’employee-friendly’ environment, they would hate it and fail.
Inclusion is hard because it forces you to think in a way that theoretically every environment is potentially a good fit for the right person. We struggle because in our minds something that is opposite of what we want must be bad. Because it’s so hard for us to even consider someone else might actually love an environment we hate.
Being an ‘inclusive’ employer is about accepting all types of people (race, gender, religion, etc.), but it’s also about only accepting all of those people who actually fit the culture you have established. That’s the hard part! Amazon accepts everyone, but you better be ready to go a thousand miles an hour and never stop.
Being an inclusive employer is hard because if it’s done right, it’s not just about being an accepting employer of all, it’s about being accepting and then only picking those candidates who actually fit your culture. The outcome can be awesome. The work to get there can be overwhelming. And if done incorrectly you go from being inclusive to exclusive.
AI Explainability What?!
First, this is a big deal and I’ll explain what it all means and why you as an HR pro or Recruiting Pro should care.
AI is being built into almost every part of the HR and TA tech stack. Algorithms and Machine learning are having a massive impact on how we find, offer, develop, and promote talent in our workforces, so having an understanding of how this is happening is very important to the risk side of HR.
What is an AI Explainability Statement?
Basically, it’s the behind-the-scenes stuff you don’t think you want to know. It’s how the sausage is made, and it matters a great deal. You want to know that the tech you are using is reducing bias and not putting your company at risk of a lawsuit. You also want to know how and why your tech is doing what it’s doing.
HireVue didn’t have to do this. No one else has to this point. But, it’s important they lead with this as they probably have caught more flack than anyone else in our industry over how their technology was selecting one candidate over another based on some early testing they did with facial analysis technology, that they no longer use and haven’t in years.
What is HireVue’s AI Explainability Statement?
Okay, first, let me give you the overview because the actual statement is more like a white paper that is 29 pages long! Here’s the overview:
HireVue considers the ethical development of AI, candidate transparency and, privacy to be core values of the business. HireVue’s AI Explainability statement is the latest proactive step to ensure that its technology is at the forefront of emerging best practices in the use of HR hiring technologies. The Explainability Statement, together with previously commissioned independent audits, provides customers with meaningful information about the logic involved in HireVue’s technology. Together they are the latest tools to help companies understand the processing of personal data.
You can click here to read the full statement (and Yes, it’s worth a read if you’re using AI-based tools in your HR & TA Tech Stack!)
Why does this matter?
I’ll let the chief data scientist at HireVue explain:
Lindsey Zuloaga, Chief Data Scientist at HireVue: “Being at the forefront of defining the transparent and ethical use of AI and software is at the heart of what we do. Our mission is to create a level playing field for anyone seeking employment, reducing bias and providing organizations with a more diverse pool of talent. Deploying AI correctly and ethically, powers a significantly more consistent, less biased, more engaging screening process for recruiters and candidates alike. We believe there needs to be more transparency around its use in HR, this is why we’ve published our own AI Explainability statement, to best support our customers and educate the industry.”
Here’s what we know after using AI-based hiring tools for a few years now:
Big Kudos to HireVue for being the first out of the gate to do something like this. They’ve taken a lot of criticism for some things they’ve built and tried in an attempt to make hiring better that didn’t go as they planned, but they’ve corrected and taken a lead within the industry from this learning. This is exactly what you want from a vendor you rely on to help you make consistently better hiring decisions.
Okay, before the entire LGBTQ community becomes unglued for me saying “dudes” and not every segment of the LGBTQ community, you have to understand the study we’ll dig into below! In this study, gay men stood out as extremely high academic achievers over every other part of society, gay or straight, and other genders.
From the Washington Post:
In new research made possible by questions recently added to U.S. household surveys, I found that gay men achieve stunning success across every level of higher education. This accomplishment comes even as men’s overall college completion rates have fallen further behind women’s for every generation born since the 1960s.
I found, for example, that about 52 percent of gay men, age 25 or older in the United States have a bachelor’s degree. For context, about 36 percent of U.S. adults 25 or older have a bachelor’s; this ranks the United States ninth in the world in college completion. If America’s gay men, however, formed their own country, it would be the world’s most highly educated by far.
Organizations are constantly searching for the “silver bullet” when it comes to talent. Every so often some research comes along and says, “Hey, over here, we found a silver bullet!” The ironic part of this silver bullet is I think most organizations will ignore it, even though it’s fairly straightforward and clear. Why? Normal bias, primarily, that gay people of all genders have faced when it comes to hiring.
Why are Gay men off the charts when it comes to achieving academic success?
This is where it gets interesting because the reasons can be somewhat subjective, but they actually feel accurate. If you’re a gay boy growing up in America, in public school, you are in for a tough life of bullying. You can’t control that. What can you control? You can control how well you do in school.
Who do teachers love? Kids who care about what they are teaching and do well. Gay kids who aren’t widely accepted by their straight classmates, find a higher level of acceptance from teachers, especially when they are high performers. So, I can control the asshole bullies, but I can control how much I study. It’s a unique form of resilience to be sure. “I became smart and worked super hard at school because that was my avenue of acceptance within public education.”
And, as it turns out, doing well academically in high school, leads to more opportunity in college where gay kids find even more acceptance in a predominately liberal higher education system. The flywheel keeps turning, and the gay smart kids, become even smarter gay young men, who then move into the corporate world as high achievers.
But, now these intelligent, high-performing gay men, also have a community of their own who can support and care for each other in a professional capacity. Recommendations for jobs and promotions, inside information on projects, sharing of creative ideas, etc. The “Old Boy” network, becomes the “Not So Old Gay Boy Network”. Don’t hate, you taught them the system!
Just because you’re smart and gay doesn’t stop bias.
It’s still far easier in our world to be a straight white man than a super-smart gay white man, for the most part. The interesting part of the study was that gay men of all ethnicities have shown this academic prowess. It’s not just a white male thing, it’s a brown male thing, a black male thing. Turns out, gay men of all colors, achieve higher levels of academic success, leading to higher levels of professional success.
It pains me that gay kids have to deal with bullies in school. That any kid has to deal with bullies is awful, but when you’re “different” than the majority of your peer group, it can be especially cruel. I love that on average gay boys have found an outlet in academics because that will lead to way more good outcomes than bad.
I’ll go back to this one quote that I think is very powerful: If America’s gay men formed their own country it would be the most highly educated country in the world! In. The. World. I’m also guessing that would be a pretty amazing country to live in.
This is a question I think many executives and HR and TA leaders struggle with. SHRM hasn’t come out and given guidance. ATAP has not told us at what levels we should be at with our diversity mix. So, how do we come up with this answer?
Seems like we should probably be roughly 50/50 when it comes to male and female employees. Again, that’s a broad figure, because your customer base probably makes a difference. If you’re selling products and services mostly women buy, you probably want more women on your team.
The more difficult mix to figure is when it comes to race. Should we be 50/50 when it comes to race in our hiring? Apple has taken it on the chin the last few years because of their demographic employee mix, and even as of this week, are still catching criticism for having only 1/3 of their leadership team is female, and only 17% of their entire team being black and Hispanic. 55% of Apple’s tech employees are white, 77% are male.
So, what should your diversity mix be?
The most recent demographics of race in America show this:
Some other interesting facts about American race demographics:
So, what does this all mean when it comes to hiring a more diverse workforce?
If 61.3% of the American population is white, is it realistic for Apple to hire a 50/50 mix of diversity across its workforce? I go back to my master’s research project when looking at female hiring in leadership. What you find in most service-oriented, retail, restaurants, etc. organizations are more male leaders than female leaders, but more female employees than male employees.
What I found was as organizations with a higher population of female employees hired a higher density of male employees as leaders, they were actually pulling from a smaller and smaller pool of talent. Meaning, organizations that don’t match the overall demographics of their employee base have the tendency to hire weaker leadership talent when they hire from a minority of their employee base, once those ratios are met.
In this case, if you have 70% female employees and 30% male, but you have 70% male leaders and only 30% female leaders, every single additional male you hire is statistically more likely to be a weaker leader than hiring from your female employee population for that position.
Makes sense, right!
If this example of females in leadership is true, it gives you a guide for your entire organization in what your mixes should be across your organization. If you have 60% of white employees and 50%, female. Your leadership team should be 60% of female leaders.
What about special skill sets and demographics?
These throws are demographics off. What if your employee population is 18% black, but you can’t find 18% of the black employees you need in a certain skill set? This happened in a large health system I worked for when it came to nursing hiring. Within our market, we only had 7% of the nursing population that was black, and we struggled to get above that percentage in our overall population.
Apple runs into this same concept when it comes to hiring technical employees because more of the Asian and Indian population have the skill sets they need, so they can’t meet the overall demographics of their employee population, without incurring great cost in attracting the population they would need from other parts of the country to California.
Also, many organizations’ leaders will say instead of looking at the employee base we have, let’s match the demographic makeup of the markets where our organizations work. At that point, you are looking at market demographics to match your employee demographics. Again, this can be difficult based on the skill sets you need to hire.
If I’m Apple, I think the one demographic that is way out of whack for them is female hiring. 50% of their customers are female. 77% of its employees are male, but only 33% of its leadership is female. It would seem to make demographic sense that 50% of Apple’s leadership team should be female.
Thoughts? This is a really difficult problem for so many organizations, and I see organizations attempting to get more ‘diverse’ in skin color without really knowing what that means in terms of raw numbers and percentages.
What are you using in your own shops?
If you follow most mass media outlets you would think the question posed is ridiculous! How the heck would vaccine mandates hurt diversity hiring, Tim? We all know the unvaccinated are mostly uneducated, Trump-loving, white folks! Right?! Right? Right…
Turns out, the “Unvaccinated might not be who you think!” The link is to a recent NY Times article and the current administration and the mostly left-leaning mass media don’t want all of us to know something:
“Almost 95 percent of those over 65 in the United States have received at least one dose. This is a remarkable number, given that polling has shown that this age group is prone to online misinformation…
In New York, for example, only 42 percent of African Americans of all ages (and 49 percent among adults) are fully vaccinated — the lowest rate among all demographic groups tracked by the city.
This is another area in which the dominant image of the white, QAnon-spouting, Tucker Carlson-watching conspiracist anti-vaxxer dying to own the libs is so damaging. It can lead us to ignore the problem of racialized health inequities with deep historic roots but also ongoing repercussions and prevent us from understanding that there are different kinds of vaccine hesitancy, which require different approaches.
If you check the data in every major urban center, you see basically the same data. African Americans are more likely to be unvaccinated than white Americans.
Why does this matter?
I’m not judging African Americans about not getting vaccinated. I’m pro your body, your choice! I know this community has a deep mistrust of government and health care in our society based on history!
Here’s the problem! Every decision we make in organizations has short-term and long-term impacts. Many times we know and understand the short-term impacts. Often we have no idea of the long-term impact.
If Biden and his administration mandate all employers require employees to be vaccinated (I won’t get into the specifics of over 100 employees, etc.), and many enterprise employers, like major airlines, etc., require employees to be vaccinated or get fired, we are disproportionately impacting Black employees over every other race of employee!
Thank you, Democratic administration and President Biden! Thank you for getting more black workers fired than any other race by mandating vaccines. This is super helpful to our diversity hiring initiatives! What the what!?!
Stop it, Tim! This is about Workplace Safety!
Yes, it is. It’s always about something when we are firing black workers, isn’t it?
Ironically, I say this with a smile at how stupid we all are, the amount of workers who are getting fired, who are refusing to get a vaccine, who by a higher percentage are black workers, happens to almost identical the same percentage of Americans who actually die from Covid.
That’s to say, this number by percentage is extremely small!
“Yeah, but every life matters! If everyone was vaccinated we could have saved hundreds of thousands of lives!” Yes, you are correct, and I agree with you. Every. Life. Matters.
Those vaccinated, matter. Those unvaccinated, matter.
Even all those black employees you have, who are fearful of taking a rushed vaccine that hasn’t had years of testing. Who have a history of bad stuff happening to them when it comes to government, healthcare, and mandates.
We love to think employer and government vaccine mandates are fine because it only impacts “the stupid”. Natural selection! If you’re too stupid to get the vaccine well then who cares if you get fired and die. Which is kind of the opposite of inclusion, right?
Mandates are easy when you are led to believe that it’s all about firing poor, dumb, white folks. But, when you look at the data and realize that once again we are targeting black folks more, are vaccine mandates still the correct answer?
(Okay, that’s like 3 vaccine posts in the last week. I’m done, you know my stance. I’m pro-vaccine, I encourage it for everyone, but I’m also pro-choice about decisions that impact your body.)