So you want to create a safe and inclusive workplace for everyone? As conversations shift and evolve, it can be hard to nail down some concrete, foundational company-wide initiatives that will set the pace for your culture moving forward. Social media screening can help make that process easier, more effective, and create a lasting impact for your employees.
Here are three ways social media screening bolsters and encourages your diversity hiring initiatives.
Social media screening removes unconscious bias from the equation.
You might think you’re being progressive by casually mentioning you are the proud owner of a pussy hat, but what you can’t do is stalk a candidate’s profile to see if she’s doing the same. As much as you want to affirm inclusive values by engaging with your candidate, removing yourself from seeing protected class information that could potentially skew your hiring decisions is absolutely vital to preserving unbiased integrity in your hiring process. Instead, let a third party remove all protected class information. This provides excellent blanket protections for minorities, any of which need various levels of equity in order to receive an even shot at entering the workforce. What matters to you is what they bring to the table, which you’ve already seen (or will see) in their interview. The rest is making sure they aren’t a problematic human, which is presumably why you run a traditional background check. (which brings us to our second point).
Social media screening redefines “employable”.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) discussions often bring rise to another important hiring topic: criminal convictions. Perhaps it's because evidence has shown that criminal background checks have a disparate impact on the "employability" of people of color, but the question somehow lingers—does a previous conviction make a candidate unemployable? Many argue “yes”, but if you’ve done your research, you know that two-thirds of offenders will be arrested again within three years, due primarily to difficulty finding employment. You also know that there’s an untapped market in talent whose been shut out of the job market by that pesky little check box, and that “banning the box” is an essential part of capitalizing on that talent, but you still need a means of checking a candidate’s credibility.
[Enter social media screening, stage right.]
Not only does it render that box entirely irrelevant, it redefines the values by which you include and encourage your employees. By “taking a risk” with a candidate, you’re sending a message that they are worthy of trust, building a healthy culture of positive reinforcement and setting the tone for future hiring expectations. A truly diverse and inclusive mentality means having compassion and empathy for talent in all walks of life. Simply because someone comes from different circumstances does not mean they are unfit for work, but it may mean that we might have to adjust our perspective in order to see their worth.
It helps you play an active role in driving out discrimination.
We’ve already established you want an inclusive workforce, so it follows that you only want people who will drive that inclusivity alongside you. This means weeding out those who have an active, public history of discrimination. By utilizing better screening practices, you take on an active role in sorting out individuals with problematic opinions of others. Take for example, this *illuminating* revelation:
You certainly wouldn’t tolerate an employee saying this in the workplace, so why would you consider it acceptable online? American demographics are shifting rapidly and companies need to adjust their hiring structures in order to stay relevant, profitable, and competitive.
For businesses that resist (or even openly oppose) diversity and inclusion initiatives, I've got some bad news— if you fall behind now, you may never be able to catch up. Faced with pretty staggering evidence that diverse work cultures foster creative problem solving and a friendlier atmosphere, why bring in candidates that will only slow your progress towards more equitable representation? After all, the only thing that tolerance cannot tolerate is intolerance.