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Diversity in Executive Recruiting

A couple of years ago when I first left credit union branches one of the things that I thought I would miss the most was connecting with members. However, through Humanidei’s Executive Recruiting process, I have been able to connect with some of the most amazing, talented, and diverse executives in the credit union industry. As an organization that focuses on diversity, equity, and inclusion, Humanidei is uniquely positioned to help credit unions find the type of talent that helps credit unions best serve their fields of membership. As our communities grow in diversity, the recruitment process must also grow and mature to be more inclusive.

Diversity in recruitment has always been challenging. Many times, unconscious bias or self-reinforcing cycles create homogenous candidate pools. One example is only considering employees who have college degrees. Educationdata.org reported in February 2021 that White or Caucasian students in bachelor’s programs have a five-year graduation rate of 62% compared to the next closest group being Hispanic or Latino at 41%, followed by Black or African American students at 40%. I am a 20-year Latino credit union professional without a college degree. When organizations only consider college degrees in recruiting (and not experience), there is a statistically higher chance that they will limit the diversity of candidate pools.

Other challenges that exist could be present in interviewing and hiring practices. The traditional interview that asks interview questions only at the time of the interview benefits candidates who are quick to process information and have mastery of the English language. At Humanidei, we send interview questions ahead of time so that candidates are best prepared to answer the questions thoroughly and thoughtfully. This inclusive practice benefits candidates whose primary language is not English, as well as candidates who better process information before answering questions.

Research from the Harvard Business Review found that when the final candidate pool has only one person of color, that person has virtually no chance of being hired. This is where inclusive hiring practices like ensuring “two in the pool” can have positive outcomes. The “two in the pool effect” says that if there are at least two female candidates in the final candidate pool, the odds of hiring a female candidate are 79 times greater. If there are least two minority candidates in the final candidate pool, the odds of hiring a minority candidate are 194 times greater.

Credit unions need to also consider that diversity alone can be a problem. If equity and inclusion are not considered, diverse candidates could feel like they are tokenized, forced to assimilate into the dominant culture, or may even feel alienated.  Credit unions can have successes in addressing many of the challenges discussed by building capacity around DEI and working with a partner like Humanidei to help guide this process.

Attracting and retaining the best talent in credit unions means that credit unions must be intentional in creating a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace. From recruitment, hiring, onboarding, ongoing training, and policy and process improvements, credit unions will be workplaces where diverse people thrive.

Article by Oscar Porras, Senior Consultant, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at Humanidei.

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