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BY Samantha Samel

This Company is Committed to Eliminating Bias in Hiring - And We Love It!

By Samantha Samel

woman disappointed after interview

Photo credit: © andrii kobryn / Adobe Stock

While many companies might say they’re committed to improving diversity, doing something about it can be an entirely different story. That’s why we were so psyched to see HP release this new video that reflects the company’s efforts to eliminating bias in hiring.

The video features a series of black candidates interviewing for jobs. As the interviews conclude, the candidates are disappointed to hear the interviewers tell them, “We’ll be in touch.” The video then displays a poignant message: “When qualified for a job, African-Americans are 3x more likely to experience a denial.”

By creating and publicizing this video, HP is not only advertising the fact that its leaders are trying to reduce any discrimination that may occur within its own hiring processes, but it’s also calling attention to the fact that unconscious bias is way more widespread than we might expect.

We found the video particularly moving, and we hope it inspires other employers to consider how they might evaluate their own hiring processes to weed out unconscious bias.

We checked in with HP to find out what motivated them to plan their campaign, which they’ve dubbed “Reinvent Mindsets,” and to get a sense of how they’re enacting it. The company’s Chief Diversity Officer, Lesley Slaton Brown, gave us some background on HP’s long-standing focus on diversity.

“Diversity is essential to a successful global business,” she says. “From HP’s earliest days, the company recognized that the more points of view it can draw on, the better its products and company as a whole will be. Diversity gives HP a competitive advantage. It helps drive new business, fuel innovation, and attract and attain the best employees.”

Stephanie Dismore, HP’s Vice President and General Manager, Americas Channels, also tells us that HP has a history of prioritizing diversity and inclusion. “We’ve recently launched a global diversity and inclusion board, because we believe the importance and significance of this with our company,” she explains. Dismore also shared with us how being a woman in technology has informed her perspective:  

“I will tell you that being a woman in technology in the channel is a unique opportunity. When I say that, I say that in a very positive way. Women have a unique perspective in business. My point of view on that is that we should embrace our differences, and we should use our differences as a strength to set us apart and lead with authenticity and with the passion that we have with who we are.”

We often hear companies tout similar ideologies, so it’s interesting to see how exactly HP is acting on these findings. Slaton Brown, who spearheaded the unconscious bias initiative along with HP’s Chief Marketing Officer Antonio Lucio, tells us that “HP launched the Reinvent Mindsets campaign to cultivate a future talent pool and bring public attention to unconscious bias in today’s hiring environment. We want to become the destination of choice for underrepresented groups seeking careers in the technology industry.”

HP provides unconscious bias training at all levels of the company. They started by focusing on their global talent acquisition organization and leaders, and they’re now looking to increase the training programs for hiring managers across the company. By the end of the year, they plan to train over 1,000 hiring managers through their unconscious bias program.

In addition, HP is holding inclusive leadership training for 5,600 leaders — including executives, directors, and managers — across the company. The goal here is “to cultivate a growth mindset and culture of leadership, innovation and inclusion,” according to Slaton Brown, who adds that this training is required for all HP managers.

“It intentionally mixes businesses and functions to reduce siloes and reinforce one culture,” she explains. “The training mixes levels of leadership during sessions for broader perspectives and insights. When leaders come out of the training they are equipped to generate and coach for insights, mitigate bias, lead inclusive discussions and meetings, and cultivate a growth mindset for themselves and their teams.”

HP plans to release its next Sustainability Report — which includes data about their workforce — in the summer of 2017. Being open to this kind of transparency rather than hiding behind flaws is a major key to progress — and we’re glad that HP recognizes this. “We know we can do better, but we are proud of the progress that’s already taken place,” Slaton Brown says. “Our leadership team is 21% underrepresented minorities, and that puts us in a strong place to grow diversity in the company.”

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