Could Tackling Unconscious Bias In Hiring Rescue UK’s Low Productivity?

Could tackling unconscious bias in hiring rescue the UK’s low productivity?

Companies need to use employee engagement and inclusion to overcome the woefully low productivity levels in the UK.

In a new report, the CBI highlights the economic and social challenges facing the UK that have now been “thrown into sharp relief by Brexit” and focus on issues of inclusion and productivity.

According to employers’ body the CBI, companies should remove candidates’ names from job applications and offer flexible working to create a more diverse and dynamic workforce.

Paul Drechsler, president of the CBI said, “With UK productivity second from bottom of the G7, employee engagement is now more than ever crucial to driving productivity. But here too there’s a problem. Of the world’s 12 largest economies the UK ranks ninth for levels of engagement.”

“Raising engagement isn’t about slapping another zero on the budget for the staff Christmas party. It’s a complex process which takes time and hard work,” he said.

The report reveals what companies have found to be most effective at driving employee engagement in their organisation. With 46% saying that having a personal interest in their work has the biggest impact on their employees.

Along with effective line management (39%), shared company values (30%), opportunities to progress (29%) and having the right skills for the job (29%).

The CBI also highlights the impact of technology as a key to measuring and improving engagement, “Just as technology and the potential of real-time data is facilitating better customer insight, they can be harnessed to better understand the employee experience too.”

Philip Hammond, who was appointed chancellor after the Brexit vote, has vowed to improve Britain’s uninspiring productivity. Recent data showed UK productivity to be 27, 30 and 35 percentage points lower than in France, the US and Germany respectively.

In a speech, Drechsler highlighted the importance of the recruitment process to find people with the correct skills for the jobs, in order to increase productivity and make the workplace inclusive.

He said “unconscious bias” is a big challenge, “The first time many come into contact with this in the workplace is during job applications.

One of the ways of tackling this is name-blind applications, removing criteria that could unintentionally bias managers and give under-represented groups confidence that their application will be fairly considered.”

The CBI is looking at bringing in such a practice and its report comes after a move a year ago by employers such as the BBC, banking group HSBC and accountants KPMG – and the university application scheme Ucas – to commit to ignore an employee’ name.

The CBI also quoted statistics from the CIPD which show that one in five female jobseekers from an ethnic minority have used a different name on a job application.

“Flexible working can be a vital enabler too. It’s time we stopped seeing flexible working as a ‘bonus for staff’ and started seeing it as something which has clear benefits for employers and employees alike.

It helps everyone balance their working lives not just with their responsibilities as parents or carers but also with their wellbeing and interests outside of work,” said Drechsler.

What measures have your company taken to improve productivity? We’d love to hear about your experiences, leave your comments below.

1 Comment

  • Anonymous

    February 13, 2017

    This is a really great blog! It has lots of information and statistics! It makes for interesting reading!

    I’m starting out new as an Unconscious Bias trainer and I think I might use these statistics as examples to my delegates to help them better understand what I am talking about!

    Thanks for the help!!