Learn how tackling unconscious bias in hiring practices can boost your recruiting efforts and increase workforce diversity.

Managing a cleaning company requires a lot of personnel management. You can’t lose time tackling unconscious bias in hiring practices – can you?

BrightTALK states that 79% of human resource professionals believe that unconscious bias—or opinions developed long before you took the helm of your business—influence the type of people you hire onto your team. So if you want your business to thrive, you have to take the janitorial industry’s stereotypes and outmoded habits into account. 

Not only will addressing these biases lead to more diversity throughout your business, but it will also improve your leadership ability. That will have just as substantial an impact on the success of your endeavors, as well. After all, we establish new and updated cleaning standards all the time, so why not clean up our hiring processes? 

Once you have your staff in place, it’s simple to monitor employee performance and keep employee records with software like Janitorial Manager. Sign up for a free consultation and capitalize on all the time and effort you spent hiring.

Tackling Unconscious Bias In Hiring Practices

Understand your industry biases

The tricky thing about unconscious biases is that they are just that: unconscious. If you don’t think about what prejudices drive your hiring practices, you won’t notice them. Often, it takes someone outside of your industry pointing those biases out for you to see that something’s amiss. 

If someone does identify issues with your hiring process, don’t take the comments too personally. It’s important you know how to accept feedback and constructive criticism as a business owner and learn from your mistakes. You should respond to feedback like you respond to customer reviews online—with fairness, professionalism, and empathy.  

Some of the most common biases to plague the cleaning industry include prejudices against race, sex, and age. When you picture your ideal employee, after all, what do you imagine? There are stereotypes around commercial office cleaners, school janitorial teams, and even residential cleaning teams. In reality, you’ll have people of all ages, races, and genders applying to work for your company. So you need to be in the right place to address those applications fairly, or else your business may start to flounder. 

5 Steps for tackling unconscious bias in hiring practices

Tackling unconscious bias in hiring practices requires deliberate effort and self-awareness. Once you’ve identified your industry biases, you need to dismantle them everywhere they appear. In terms of your business practices, there are a few things you can do: 

1. Collaborate with outside sources

It’s easier to understand what biases influence your hiring process when you have someone else’s opinion to reference. Therefore, as you first start addressing these issues, consider bringing in an outside source. A professional development expert can help you manage the stereotypes that may be impacting your business while also giving you the tools to change them.

2. Allow blind applications

Harvard studies show that names that appear “non-white” on applications receive fewer calls back than applications with “white names” attached. With that in mind, consider allowing your applicants to apply to work for you blind. Have a staff member remove the names from the applications and look only at the experience and qualities on each resume. That way, you remove any racial bias you may have inadvertently picked up over the years. Not only does that benefit your job candidates, it also benefits your business when you hire the best people possible.

3. Outsource your interviews

You always have the option to bring in additional staff to help you with your interviews. If you’re working on addressing internal industry biases, these different opinions may make it easier for you to focus on an applicant’s skills.

You can outsource your interviews in a variety of ways. The two easiest ways to do so include having managers interview on your behalf or having multiple parties attend a single interview. You can even have a potential employee undergo interviews with several parties individually before deciding whether or not to onboard them.

4. Use skill assessments to gauge ability

Nothing indicates an applicant’s ability to work with your team better than a skill assessment. Before officially hiring a new staff member, consider having them complete either digital or in-person skill assessments. 

Pay them to come in for a partial shift. That way, you can see how your new applicant operates in the field. It’s difficult to deny a person’s skills, after all, once you’ve seen them in action—so let your applicants have the chance to prove themselves outside of the realm of a resume and cover letter.

Once you hire new staff, you can continue monitoring (and start rewarding) their skills and performance with the help of commercial janitorial software.

5. Identify biased phrasing in applications and interviews

Unconscious hiring bias can even make its way into the wording of your applications and interviews. When tackling unconscious bias in hiring practices, take a close look at the materials you have on hand. Are you using language that discourages people of certain races, education levels, or ages from joining your business? Alternatively, are any of the websites you use to collect job applications eliminating clients based on unfair keywords?

If there are terms that make it more difficult for certain people to join your business, work them out of your hiring materials. The fairer you can be during the hiring process, the easier it will be for quality employees to join your team.

Tackling unconscious bias in hiring practices is no easy feat. These biases, after all, don’t come to light for a reason. You learn them over years and years within your industry and in daily life. Even lessons you learned as a child may influence your choice to include (or not include) someone on your janitorial team.

These obstacles, however, do not mean that overcoming hiring bias is impossible. On the contrary, with concentrated effort and outside help, you can identify the prejudices holding your business back and work to undo their influence or adjust your process. Remember that change is an opportunity!

Once you’ve accomplished better hiring practices, don’t you want to see the payoff? Use Janitorial Manager software to improve employee retention, boost employee performance, and ensure you and your team are set up for success. Sign up for your free demo right now!