12 Nov Whitened Resume’s, Dirty Networking & Inclusive Welcomes: Three ideas that will open your eyes
Ever ‘whitened’ your resume?
After reading a journal called ‘Whitened Resume’s’ about job applicants who change their original names to something more ‘white’, I had to recheck the publishing date. Initially I thought it would be from the 80s, but I was wrong, it was written in 2016. My eyes widened as I read how many amazing African and Asian names (the only two groups studied) became John, Jane or likewise.
The journal is called Whitened Resume ́s: Race and Self-Presentation in the Labor Market, written by Kang, DeCelles, Tilcsik and Jun (2016) who highlighted this unfortunate widespread practice. They discovered that some applicants were less inclined to change their names if the company had a Diversity and Inclusion statement on their careers page.
This was an encouraging to the researchers and so they decided to look into it further. They measured the difference in discrimination from the companies (in the study) with warm, fuzzy D&I statements to those without. The results were very disappointing, sadly the researchers found NO reduction in discrimination for un-whitened CVs despite the lovely words claiming otherwise.
The question I keep asking myself is: Why say it if you don’t mean it? It is a waste of everyone’s time and money. 2016 is only 3 years ago, my guess is that we still have a long way to go, despite all the work being done out there. But we do know that Awareness helps, so let’s begin there.
Does networking make you feel dirty?
Some of us like to network, others see it as a close second to root canal. For those of us who don’t like to throw ourselves into a group of people that we’ve never met before, the data has shown that you will benefit by learning how to overcome your fears. You know this, you have read the books, articles and blogs, but have you ever thought that networking can make you feel dirty?
In their peer reviewed article, The Contaminating Effects of Building Instrumental Ties: How Networking Can Make Us Feel Dirty (2014), Casciaro, Gino and Kouchaki argue that if the networking is done in for professional, not social purposes, and it is planned with intent to capitalise on the relationship, then it can feel ‘un-pure’. The researchers define moral purity as a “psychological state that results from viewing the self as clean from a moral standpoint—and thus make an individual feel dirty” (Casciaro et al, 2015, pg 705).
As an extravert myself, I found this article to be fascinating, because it helped me to understand many of my client’s natural aversion to networking. They see it as a self-interested activity which seems morally wrong, even though it can help advance their career. The researchers interviewed over 800 people and found that many wanted to shower, or clean themselves after a networking session. The exceptions were if the networking conditions were spontaneous, or the person had some ‘advice’ that helped others.
Do you feel dirty after a networking event?
A more inclusive ‘welcome’ to your company
When I was growing up in the business world, the word ‘induction’ meant: sitting in a closed room with other new starters, watching a video about why the company is amazing, followed by different people transitioning in/out of the room telling us the rules, procedures and policies. We left with a handbook.
Many companies still follow this process believing that by telling people how they ‘should operate’ will help them ease into their roles better. There are a few issues with this way of thinking in the modern workplace, namely that it attempts to indoctrinate the new starter rather than incorporating their unique voice. From a Diversity & Inclusion perspective this is both limiting and misguided, it has the capacity to alienate many. There are more interesting approaches, with empirical evidence, that show great results.
In an academic journal titled: Reframing Socialization around Newcomers’ Authentic Self-expression, the authors Cable, Gino and Staats (2013), used ‘authenticity research’ to build their hypothesis that inducting new starters with Personal Identity training instead of Organisational Awareness training will help them be happier at work and increase retention levels. They conducted two studies, using approximately 800 people in total across two countries using a variety of different methods.
Great news: the theory proved to be correct. People felt more appreciated and able to maximise their strengths once they identified them, and most importantly, they remained in the company longer than those who were socialised into the organisation.
How do you welcome your employees into the team?