Published in Best Practice
Traditionally, the imperative for interventions which sought to bring about more inclusive recruitment and selection practices, tended to be moralistic and were about increasing the numbers of candidates from groups that were under-represented within the organisation without a real understanding of the business rationale.
Nowadays however, most organisations are cognisant of the very clear business imperatives for keeping a close eye on the numbers. If, as one would expect, an organisation is a meritocracy, then it is presumed that its people selection decisions are based entirely on merit, that is on ability and competence. This suggests that over time, the workforce would begin to broadly mirror the demographic composition of the labour force from which it was recruited.
Of course, this assumes that members of different groups are in all material respects, similar, i.e. in terms of the distribution of skills, aptitudes, job preferences etc. Well, we know that market distortions exist and that this is never going to be the case. Nonetheless, as a rule of thumb, significant disparities in the employment outcomes of different groups within the workforce, should always be considered by an organisation as indicative of the existence of bias within its' people selection procedures.
The existence of bias within people selection can often represent a huge blind spot for many organisations, who perhaps over time have been lulled, into a false sense of security. Believing wrongly, that the many years preceding, of growth, profitability and commercial success are a clear indication that 'all is well'. Forgetting, the ever present reality that there is a 'war for diverse talent' and that if they are not recruiting from a wide talent pool, the chances are they are probably not selecting the best or most appropriate candidates. With these candidates eventually being recruited by some of their more astute competitors, who over time will begin to reap a dividend.
So what are some of the necessary steps involved in developing an inclusive recruitment practice? The first and probably most important step is to undertake a thorough selection procedure development and validation process. Practically speaking, a valid selection procedure is one that accurately measures the actual requirements of the job in a fair and reliable way.
Validation has two major benefits. First of all, it helps in ensuring that the selection process is measuring the key, relevant job requirements in a way that is both reliable and consistent. This of course, helps screen the best candidates into the workforce. Even if the validation process only marginally increases the effectiveness of a selection process, the cumulative results of many years and many hundreds if not thousands of applicants can quite literally be astounding.
There are three types of validation that typically take place. These are, 'content validity' which looks at the content of a selection procedure and how representative it is of the important aspects of performance for that job; 'criterion validity', which looks at how predictive of, or the degree of correlation with important aspects of work behaviour, and finally 'construct valididty' which seeks to measure the degree to which candidates have identifiable characteristics, which have been determined to be important for successful job outcomes. These are typically measured by psychometric tests.
Over the next few blogs, we will be taking a close look at the steps involved in undertaking a proper 'Content Validation', exercise, which typically involves the following stages: job analysis, selection plan, selection procedure development and selection procedure validation. Today, we will make a start with how to conduct a 'Job Analysis'.
A job analysis, is probably the most important step in the 'content validation' process and involves a thorough analysis of the job duties and the knowledge, skills, abilities and personal characteristics (KSAPCs) required for the post. It involves the following steps:
1. Assemble and train a panel of qualified job experts. The job expert should:
- Collectively represent the demographics of the workforce
- Be experienced and active in the positions they represent
- Represent the various 'functional areas' and or shifts of the job in question
- The Job Expert Panel should comprise of between 10% to 20% of experts who are at Management or Supervisor level
2. Job experts will write down the various job duties. A final duty list will be created and will typically include two to three times the number of duties any one job expert had recorded.
3. The duties will be consolidated into a master duty list, which will reflect the majority opinion of the group, using a 70% consensus rule.
4. Using the same process as in step 2, get the Job Experts to write the KSAPCs, physical requirements, tools & equipment, environmental and other requirements for the job.
5. Using the same process as in step 3, consolidate the KSAPCs, physical requirements, tools & equipment, environmental and other requirements into a Master list.
6. Get the job experts to provide ratings for the duties, KSAPCs and physical requirements etc in terms of frequency of performance, importance and links to duties. Final ratings should be reviewed for accuracy and completeness, and final averages for each job duty and KSAPC calculated.
7. Get at least two managers/supervisors to review the completed job analysis and assign 'Manager Only' ratings which will include:
- The percentage of time spent by the job incumbent actually performing the job duty
- A list of the job duties which distinguish the 'average' from the 'best' worker'
- An assessment of how fundamental the job duty is to the purpose of the job?
- An assessment of how assignable the job is to another incumbent without fundamentally changing the nature of the position?
- A list of the minimum qualifications required by a candidate prior to entry into the position.
- An assessment of the level of job proficiency required for the first day on the job?
- A list of how many and which of the KSAPCs will be required for the first day on the job.
8. Prepare the final job analysis document which will include descriptive statistics (i.e. means and standard deviations) for each rated item.
About the author
Glanville Einstein Williams is a Diversity & Inclusion Specialist