A couple of years ago when I first left credit union branches one of the things that I thought I would miss the most was connecting with members. However, through Humanidei’s Executive Recruiting process, I have been able to connect with some of the most amazing, talented, and diverse executives in the credit union industry. As our communities grow in diversity, the recruitment process must also grow and mature to be more inclusive.
Diversity in recruitment has always been challenging. Many times, unconscious bias or self-reinforcing cycles create homogenous candidate pools. One example is only considering employees who have college degrees. Educationdata.org reported in February 2021 that White or Caucasian students in bachelor’s programs have a five-year graduation rate of 62% compared to the next closest group being Hispanic or Latino at 41%, followed by Black or African American students at 40%. I am a 20-year Latino credit union professional without a college degree. When organizations only consider college degrees in recruiting (and not experience), there is a statistically higher chance that they will be limiting the diversity of candidate pools.
Other challenges that exist could be present in our interviewing and hiring practices. The traditional interview that asks interview questions only at the time of the interview benefits candidates who are quick to process information and have mastery of the English language. At Humanidei, we send interview questions ahead of time so that candidates are best prepared to answer the questions thoroughly and thoughtfully. This inclusive process also benefits candidates whose primary language is not English as well as candidates who prefer to process information before answering questions. Research from the Harvard Business Review found that when the final candidate pool has only one person of color they have virtually no chance of being hired. This is where inclusive hiring practices like “two in the pool effect” can have positive outcomes. The “two in the pool effect” says that If there are at least two female candidates in the final candidate pool, the odds of hiring a female candidate are 79 times greater. If there are least two minority candidates in the final candidate pool, the odds of hiring a minority candidate are 194 times greater.
Credit unions also need to consider that diversity alone can be a problem. If equity and inclusion are not considered, diverse candidates could feel like they are tokenized, forced to assimilate into the dominant culture, or even feel alienated. When recruiting diverse candidates, equity takes into consideration the unique needs of individuals. This understanding sets recruits up for success and increases feelings of inclusion. Therefore, credit unions can have successes in addressing many of the challenges discussed by building capacity around DEI and working with a partner like Humanidei.
Attracting and retaining the best talent in credit unions means that credit unions must be intentional in creating a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace. From recruitment, hiring, onboarding, ongoing training, and policy and process improvements, credit unions can be workplaces where diverse people thrive. As is the case with other aspects of business, the traditional recruitment process is falling behind. At Humanidei, we have helped credit unions find diverse talent that has enriched our credit union partners.