Equity Update: Updating Hiring Practices at NP

As part of our internal equity goals, NP has been looking into making our hiring and onboarding practices more equitable and inclusive. About a year ago, a subcommittee was formed to take a look at existing practices, form a set of goals, and implement practices to achieve those goals.

Increase the number of BIPOC applicants
We expanded our list of where we posted, using platforms such as APANO’s job board, IMDiversity, Urban League of Portland, Partners in Diversity, and other websites that attracted BIPOC job seekers. We also reached out to BIPOC colleagues to share the job posting. We implemented a rule that we had to have at least one BIPOC applicant in the pool.

Standardize hiring materials and processes
The default is to move quickly when hiring, use existing job description language, and post the job as soon as possible, partly out of routine and often because of lack of time. We wanted to move away from this in order to allow the hiring team to be able to focus on getting the right person and not just the next person. The changes we implemented are too many to list, but here are a few:

  • Job posting would be more transparent about NP work life and culture, and the nature of the position. (For example, you will share an office with someone or you will be expected to be part of equity subcommittees on top of your regular duties.)
  • Minimize bias: We remove names, addresses, and schools from resumes and cover letters; we use a rubric when evaluating resumes and interviews; we are intentional about who is on the hiring team in terms of personality and gender, for example; and we make sure to have at least one BIPOC employee present at every interview throughout the process. 
  • Rethinking minimum qualifications: We asked ourselves repeatedly what our minimum qualifications were for our job postings, and why we felt that way. These qualifications can often screen out qualified applicants who might have valuable lived experience with the problems our organization is trying to solve.

Improving onboarding
New employees often get buried with new information critical and not-so-critical to their job. We took time to rearrange our onboarding track to make the pace easier and gave the new employee ownership of when certain tasks get done. We also added a buddy system. The buddy is in charge of checking in with the new hire, explain some of the history of NP, and to clue in the employee about NP culture, quirks and all.

While our hiring process isn’t perfect, we feel really good about the changes we’ve made, and look forward to continuing to improve and rethink our internal systems with an equity lens.