The Professionals for Nonprofits Staffing Group recently issued an executive action plan, detailing the steps nonprofits should take to improve diversity within their workforce.
Confronting one’s own bias is the first step in the Professionals for Nonprofits (PNP) Staffing Group’s recently released action plan for recruiting for a more diverse and multicultural team.
“No one wants to believe that they or their company has bias, especially nonprofit organizations whose purpose is to do social good. But, it happens,” according to the action plan. “Conscious or unconscious bias reduces your openness to people who are different from you, and in turn, can dramatically affect your hiring process.”
To help encourage a new philosophy around recruitment, PNP also recommends taking Harvard University’s Implicit Association Tests. “If leaders are going to guide their organization through change, that change has to start within,” said Gayle Brandel, CEO and President of PNP Staffing Group.
After confronting personal biases, as well as biases among the rest of the team, PNP details seven steps that can help organizations change their recruiting processes to improve diversity.
One suggestion is to widen your applicant pool when hiring for key positions, rather than relying on recommendations from staff and board members. According to PNP, anywhere from about 65 to 75 percent of jobs are hired this way, but “because people tend to socialize with those who are like themselves, their networks are often self-reflective,” according to PNP. “If these individuals are predominantly white (and they are—only 14 percent of nonprofit board members and 6 percent of development staff are professionals of color), they are more likely to recommend ‘look-alike’ candidates.”
One way to remedy this is to build a diverse leadership pipeline within your organization through interns, volunteers, and new board members. Another approach, according to PNP, is to reach out to minority groups through events like job fairs and third parties, such as recruiting firms dedicated to identifying diverse job candidates.
Other steps include using “blind” techniques in the early stages of recruiting, which help limit the chance of implicit bias by blocking out candidates’ pictures or even names, and assembling a diverse hiring committee. “If those who are conducting interviews don’t reflect an inclusive workforce, candidates are more likely to self-select out of the hiring process because the culture doesn’t resonate with them,” according to the action plan.
Brandel is quick to mention that implementing these steps requires dedication on behalf of everyone at the organization. “This is not a one-off exercise,” she said. “It’s a long-term effort that requires all hands on deck. It requires a heightened level of awareness in almost every facet of the organization.”
Of the seven steps that PNP recommends, Brandel said that there is one that’s paramount for recruiting a more diverse team. “Without a doubt, the commitment to identify, commit, and prioritize a culture of diversity and inclusion is the first and most important step,” she said.