In conversation with Award-Winning Entrepreneur

Learnings from our conversation with with Sheryl Miller, award-winning serial entrepreneur and author of ‘Smashing Stereotypes’.
September 3, 2022
In conversation with Award-Winning Entrepreneur
We were delighted to resume our ‘In conversation with…’ series recently when I shared an in-depth discussion with Sheryl Miller, award-winning serial entrepreneur and author of ‘Smashing Stereotypes’. In this conversation, Sheryl and Anton explore several diversity, equality and inclusion (DE&I) topics as well as how to integrate more inclusive practices into your hiring process.

The Highlights

This summary highlights the top 10 takeaways from the conversation. We’ve also included the timestamps of each topic so you tune in to the recording at the right moment should you wish.

You can watch the replay of the full conversation here.

1. Implement a DE&I strategy

There are a number of reasons why an organisation might not have implemented a DE&I strategy yet. Being aware of these potential blockers will help you acknowledge and overcome them.

Three common challenges are as follows:

- Many companies don’t know where to start
- Some businesses hope that DE&I will become embedded naturally
- Many are fearful to approach these topics and get them wrong

Tune in at 5:17 for more.

2. Create a safe space to tackle DE&I

To truly embed DE&I in your organisation and increase the success of any initiatives, you need to create a safe space to explore these sensitive topics. The most effective way to achieve this is by establishing a wider company culture that encourages healthy challenge and fosters a non-judgemental atmosphere.

Importantly, leadership teams need to be transparent, proactive and often explicitly state that they’re comfortable being challenged and having conversations about these tricky topics.

Tune in at 6:29 for more.

3. How the talent team can influence DE&I

Everyone within the business can have an influence when it comes to DE&I. The first step is education and awareness.

Talent Acquisition and People teams should first educate themselves (through books, articles, podcasts etc.) and then, secondly, share these resources with their team and the wider business.

If you’re looking to create a more engaging experience for candidates, be sure to download this easy-to-use guide to help you get started.

Tune in at 8:08 for more.

4. Embed DE&I without putting undue pressure on underrepresented groups

It’s important to actively address DE&I within business. Yet, it is unreasonable to put undue pressure, expectations or workload on those from underrepresented groups.

To avoid this, many companies create DE&I committees that consist of a diverse group of people. There are two crucial steps when establishing a DE&I committee.

Firstly, you must define the purpose of the group. One purpose that tends to work well is to “champion difference” and implement changes that support this.

Secondly, there needs to be an agreement between the group and the organisation that acknowledges what the business is committing to.

Tune in at 11:05 for more.

5. Shift towards slow thinking

Our brains are wired to take mental shortcuts. We will automatically, and often subconsciously, latch on to traits and experiences that we can relate to. Particularly during the interview process, we tend to think fast and, as a result, we risk applying stereotypes and unconscious bias to candidates. To avoid this, we need to slow down our thinking and challenge our thoughts.

Tune in at 14:20 for more.

6. Address bias in your recruitment process

Review your job descriptions, using free online tools, for non-inclusive wording. Only include the absolute essentials in your job requirements to avoid excluding those who don’t have the qualities or experience that aren’t truly necessary. Advertise your roles in more places to help underrepresented groups find your open positions.

Before the interview, slow your thinking to challenge your assumptions on a candidate and, during the interview, ask the same questions to each person.

Tune in at 19:15 for more.

7. Use technology to reduce bias in the hiring process

Technology doesn’t solve everything but it is a real enabler when it comes to detecting and reducing unconscious bias. You can use free online tools to scan your jobs ads for exclusive language or adopt platforms like Screenloop to help with consistency in the hiring process.

Tune in at 22:50 for more.

8. Be wary of rapport building

Rapport building is a natural human response when meeting someone new. Yet, when we dig for things in common, it’s easy for bias to creep in. While it might feel a little inhuman, standardising your small talk can help to increase inclusivity and reduce the likelihood of bias.

Tune in at 24:00 for more.

9. Use peer reviews

Making your hiring process more inclusive means trying to increase objectivity. While this is difficult for humans, we can implement processes to help. Peer reviews are a great example of this.

Peer reviews involve a diverse panel of people reviewing the data (whether that’s a CV, cover letter, task or interview recording) and making an assessment. Importantly, this must be done individually to avoid social conformity.

Tune in at 25:50 for more.

10. Forget “cultural fit” and think “value alignment”

A company culture tends to be created by the characteristics of the dominant group. Therefore, it can be a minefield for subconscious discrimination. Instead of looking for candidates who “fit” your culture, explicitly list the values of the organisation and use slow thinking to assess whether candidates hold these same values.

Tune in at 28:10 for more.

About Sheryl Miller

Sheryl Miller is an award-winning entrepreneur, DE&I Consultant, coach and mentor, and ‘recovering’ Chartered Accountant. Sheryl is the author of Smashing Stereotypes: How To Get Ahead When You're The Only _____ In The Room in which she aims to help people conquer their fears and pursue their dreams in a business context.

Sheryl works with global organisations that want to look at diversity, equality and inclusion differently. She provides tailored, thought-provoking workshops and works with boards looking for practical strategies to improve diversity in a way that is authentic to them and their organisational culture.

Sheryl is also very active in the entrepreneurial world; coaching and mentoring entrepreneurs who want to improve performance, skyrocket their business and find fulfilment in their work.

About Screenloop

Did you know that 70% of all applicants become detractors due to a bad candidate experience? If your business is looking to create a more engaging candidate experience, be sure to download this easy-to-use guide to help you get started.  

That said, the candidate experience is just one phase of the current hiring process that is broken. Screenloop helps to fix this broken process and allows businesses to hit their hiring goals, and more importantly, helps turn new hires into successful and impactful employees.

Screenloop’s hiring intelligence platform allows you to source candidates, analyse interviews, and automate the reference process with ease. You can explore the hiring and candidate analytics platform that companies like Monzo and Latana are using by requesting a demo here.