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Are These 8 Excuses Undermining Diversity at Your Hospital?

  • Article by:Health Career Center
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In the healthcare field, every decision we make can be life-or-death for our patients. Knowing this, it’s hard to believe that racial or cultural biases could ever undercut skill and experience when it comes to hiring.

But as Forbes magazine pointed out in a recent article, statistics show otherwise. Our biases always find a way to creep in, even if we don’t realize it. So we create excuses like the ones below to help ourselves feel like it’s not our fault.

Ensuring this doesn’t happen requires self-reflection and a willingness to change even your most basic assumptions. Start by asking yourself if you make the following eight excuses when reviewing candidates. Then, you’ll be ready to start making real progress toward eliminating biases in your hiring practices.

 

1. “Our pool of qualified candidates is too small as it is”

This excuse doesn’t really hold water in an internet age with so many career websites. At HealthCareerCenter.com, for example, we can connect you to thousands of leading healthcare candidates from all races, religions and backgrounds. All it takes is a quick search in your area.

 

2. “Giving racial preference is unfair to more qualified candidates”

Is “fairness” really the issue here? After all, your staff probably features at least one employee who owes their job to the fact that they had a friend within your organization. Was that fair? How about your new nurse who was a member of the same sorority as your nurse executive… did that not help her get an interview? Fairness and pure objectivity are nearly impossible to achieve in the hiring process, so you can’t use them as reasons for your lack of diversity.

 

3. “We can’t help it if the best candidates are all the same race”

Choice of words can cloud the true issues behind hiring biases. “Best” can mean all sorts of different things, from past experience to technical ability. Even if you have a carefully thought-out algorithm to truly separate the best candidates from the rest, you still have to hold face-to-face interviews eventually. And those interviews offer countless opportunities for unconscious biases to influence your decisions.

 

4. “50 percent of our team is already female”

Almost any hospital can say this, especially when you factor in nursing teams, which are traditionally loaded with female employees. But ask yourself: is your leadership team also loaded with women? If your health system is like the majority of others in the country, it features one or two women at most. That’s hardly enough to accurately represent all of your employees’ interests.

 

5. “We already have a preferred candidate in our network”

This ties back to excuse #2. Candidates hired from within your own network are rarely the most qualified person for the job — otherwise, why would they need the extra advantage? Going with the person you already know may save time, but it’s rarely better than hiring from outside. Looking beyond your existing network is how you make new connections and grow your talent pool.

 

6. “The costs of increasing diversity are too high”

If it leads to more diversity and equality, the cost is worth it. You can’t put a price on having an inclusive culture, whether it’s at work or just life in general. Though extending your search may require an additional upfront investment, good PR and a higher community standing will always justify the means.

 

7. “We approach diversity and inclusion holistically”

Unfortunately, when many hospitals say this, it means they genuinely care about cultivating a more diverse workforce — they just aren’t sure how to do it. The telling sign here is the use of jargon such as “holistically” or “environmental equity.” As is often the case with jargon, it’s usually meant to cover up the fact that no real action is being taken.

 

8. “We don’t have a diversity problem”

While some in leadership may think that their organization doesn’t have a diversit problem, if you ask other employees at any institution if they believe a diversity problem exists, you’re likely to get a very different answer.

 

The information in this article originally appeared on Forbes.com. To read the original article, click here.