Diversity requires inclusivity

Creating a diverse workforce requires inclusive hiring practices

Over the last few years, a lot has been said about driving towards a more diverse workforce. The benefits should be obvious by now. Diverse companies will succeed and outperform those that are not. Period.  If diversity is the “what” then inclusivity is the “how”. Inclusive hiring practices are needed to create a diverse workforce and yet for a large portion of corporate America, dated and non-inclusive hiring practices still exist that unintentionally eliminate potential talent from the pool of available candidates.  Organizations should pilot programs with their internal HR and Recruiting teams to eliminate demographic information that creates opportunities for bias such as those listed below.

The four-year, college degree

Nowhere in American culture is there a faster and more decisive way to eliminate a huge portion of the diverse American workforce that is talented and hungry for opportunity. Economic mobility cannot be shifted until we remove the barrier that exists by requiring a college degree. Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg would agree with me. Two of the most famous college dropouts of all time have hired more really smart, talented people than most will in several lifetimes. Focusing on skills more than degrees and pairing it with the right on-the-job training is a better, more inclusive path to success.

Community colleges

The bias against community colleges has to go away. They represent a more attainable/affordable option for more than 13 million Americans annually where meaningful and diverse talent pools exist. Companies should establish partnerships with local community colleges with proximity to their campuses/offices. These are fertile grounds for hungry, diverse talent.


Grades are an indicator of recall as much if not more so, than understanding. If a college student sits down some 240 times over the course of their four years in college to take a test, does that indicate their propensity for success or that they were a good student? To quote Seth Godin, “Where do we look up insight on your resilience, enthusiasm, cooperation, curiosity, collaboration, honesty, generosity and leadership?”. There is a reason professional certifications are pass/fail: Series 7, the Bar, etc. Past results are not an indication of future performance.

Criminal backgrounds

If we legitimately believe in the criminal justice system as a means for reform and second chances, then we can no longer generalize and ostracize all convicted criminals from meaningful employment. Criminal background checks can be eliminated in a number of cases or modified to better qualify the extent or nature of someone’s past. Establishing a framework for conviction classification on the basis of violent crimes, crimes against children, crimes involving fraud, etc., can be established to further refine and enable reform where acceptable as well as partnering with organizations such as the Second Chance Business Coalition.

Elevate Digital’s mission is to help make your life better and create a positive space for you, your family,  and your network so you can have an impact in your community. Inclusive hiring practices require an alternative approach to the resume and LinkedIn profile. Pictures, names, birthdates, schools, and associations all create opportunities for bias. Creating an initial screening process based solely on an individual’s skillset and experience first will likely immediately create more diverse candidate pools and enable job seekers to be evaluated on equal footing.