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How Predictive Index tools can help organizations reach DEI goals

Oct 26, 2020

Many organizations are starting to understand the benefits of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in the workplace — as well as the importance of DEI to their current and prospective employees.

And the stats back it up.

The Harvard Business Review found that diverse organizations are also the most innovative, attaining innovation-related revenues 19% higher than less diverse organizations.

And according to Glassdoor, 67% of job seekers take diversity into consideration when choosing an employer, and over 50% of current employees want their employers to do more to increase diversity.

Whether or not your organization has officially launched a DEI initiative, there are tools that can help you increase DEI in your hiring and promotion practices. The Predictive Index® (PI) can be one of the important toolsets in your DEI toolbox.

Unintended biases in hiring

Unintended bias easily can be present in any organization’s hiring practices. The way someone crafts a job posting, the weight someone gives to certain elements of a resume like education — these factors can influence who gets an interview and who doesn’t, and who gets hired and who doesn't.

But do they actually help organizations obtain the right candidate for the position?

Selecting candidates to move forward with based on education and experience can exclude viable candidates because certain minority groups haven’t historically had high levels of access to education and job experience compared to other candidates (e.g., women compared to men, people of color compared to white individuals, disabled individuals compared to abled individuals). Despite this lower access to education and experience, the statistic above showed us that diverse candidates actually increase the innovation — and innovation-related revenues — of an organization.

At the end of the day, if someone chooses to move forward with candidates based on education and experience and thereby excludes diverse candidates, they are hurting their organization’s ability to evolve. And the evolution brought about by innovation is necessary to surpass the competition, gain market share and meet the future needs of customers.

Eliminating bias and increasing diversity in the hiring process

So how does PI help increase diversity? By helping to eliminate unintentional bias in the candidate selection and hiring process.

PI helps employers craft job descriptions and choose candidates based on behavioral drives and needs, and whether those drives and needs align with the position.

Under PI, the requirements for a job are determined by key stakeholders who know the position inside and out. This could be someone at your organization who has been in the position you’re looking to fill, who has managed the role or who has worked with people in the role.

Stakeholders take a job target assessment, which helps break down and lay out the needs of the position. For example, the assessment might find that the position requires being able to meet scheduled deadlines, being calm and patient, working independently and being able to work in a neat, organized and detail-oriented manner.

Once the job target is created from that assessment, job candidates take the PI behavioral assessment. Based on their results, you can determine whether they are a good match to the job target based upon their behavioral fit to the position. Someone who prefers working with teams and is more big-picture-oriented than detail-oriented may not be a good fit for the position.

You may be asking, is there bias in the behavioral assessment? PI created its assessments based on years of research and studies, and it has found through this research that there are miniscule differences in the average match scores of candidates when you look at their gender, ethnicity and age.[1] The same cannot be said for traditional hiring practices based on education and experience, where you find significant differences.

By basing candidate selection on the job’s actual requirements, using match scores that are not inherently biased, your organization can help ensure more diverse candidates get considered and hired — while helping ensure they are truly the best fit for the position.

Plus, by better aligning candidates to a position using PI, you can help reduce costly turnover. How many times have you seen a newly hired employee quit a few weeks in because it turned out the job wasn’t a great fit for them after all? Behavioral drives and needs are much more important to job fit and job satisfaction than you might have thought.

Eliminating bias in promoting employees

PI can also help reduce bias in the promotion process and in succession planning. It helps your organization look beyond who you may think are the obvious candidates to who is best qualified and the best fit.

Through creating a job target and obtaining match scores based on the behavioral assessments of your employees, you may discover candidates no one had yet considered. You may discover an employee — who you would have promoted over another if certain office politics weren’t at play — is actually a much better fit for that leadership position. You may find that, if your organization is having trouble creating a succession plan, PI can help you identify employees to begin developing and guiding along the executive track.

If your organization has traditionally promoted a lot of white men, but you have an increasingly diverse workforce, using PI may help your organization’s DEI efforts by ensuring diverse employees who are equally or more qualified, or have an equal amount of potential, are considered, promoted and/or further developed for leadership positions.

PI helps provides a number of resources to help, such as the Manager Strategy guide (which can help managers better promote minority voices) and the Manager Coaching guide (which can help managers better integrate an inclusive mindset to improve communication and amplify voices within their teams and wider organization).

Ready to put more DEI hiring practices into place?

PI shouldn’t be the only tool in your DEI toolbox, but it can be incredibly valuable in helping reduce bias and ensuring more diverse candidates make it through the hiring process.

As a certified partner of PI, Wipfli can help you effectively implement and use PI’s tools. Did you know PI also goes beyond helping to reduce bias in hiring, promoting and succession planning? Further benefits of PI include helping your organization:

  • Understand teamwork styles so you can use natural strengths and coaching to build high-performing teams.
  • Build relationships and expand emotional intelligence to solve people problems fast.
  • Unlock strategies and build your capability to coach your direct reports.
  • Isolate and improve low employee engagement to increase revenues.

Click here to learn more about how Wipfli’s PI services, or continue reading on:


Heather L. Debelak, PI, OCI, OEI
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