How Demant deals with unconscious bias in recruitment
Demant released its policy and targets on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) in 2022. Since then, Demant has worked strategically on implementing processes and tools to support the development of an inclusive work environment that values diversity. The overall aim is to secure a workplace where all employees feel included, have the opportunity to grow as professionals, obtain their personal goals and contribute to the success of the company.
One part of this comprehensive task focuses on recruitment where biases can lead to Demant missing out on talented and qualified candidates. As a way of countering this, we work with identifying and addressing unconscious biases and sameness thinking.
“It lies deeply in Demant’s DNA that we want people to feel included. Therefore, we need to focus on the biases everyone has, which sometimes acts as an obstacle for diverse and talented recruitment because we unintentionally look for someone who fits a certain mould”, says Henrik Christiansen, SVP Human Resources at Demant.
A wide-open front door
According to Jannie Jensen, Talent Acquisition Consultant in Demant, focusing on biases in recruitment means broadening the field by including more candidates. In her role, Jannie is involved in numerous hiring processes in Demant, and the focus on biases has been highly welcomed by hiring managers who want to know more about how they can support a more diverse workforce and work around their own unconscious biases.
”If we want to have a broader talent pool, we need to change the way we think about candidates and not just run on autopilot. Our decisions can very easily be based on predetermined opinions about what is the right educational background, the right institutions and the right length and type of work experience. These predeterminations narrow the doorway to Demant, and we risk missing out on highly talented employees. By working with our unconscious biases, we open the door wider and become more welcoming of profiles with other qualities that can secure a more diverse workforce.” Jannie explains.
Someone who has experienced what working with unconscious bias can do is Asger Nielsen. He is a Senior Manager in Demant with responsibility of more than 40 employees in chipset firmware – a highly technical and specialised area with a high demand for skilled employees. Recognising the need for a broader recruitment base, Asger welcomes the focus on diversity and overcoming the effect of unconscious biases in recruitment.
“There are different types of biases worth challenging. You can easily get caught up in the idea that new hires need to be very skilled and have a deep understanding of the field of work in this technical department. However, it usually takes about two years of working before new team members are fully up to speed – no matter how experienced they are. Looking at it this way, it becomes more important that the employee is a right fit in terms of culture, values and engagement and want to stay on board. Of course, the technical assessment of a candidate is still important, but I am very aware that we want to avoid it being the only parameter.”