As we saw in Part II, it is impossible to design a management system that is impervious to bias. This is the case because any time someone has to use their discretionary judgement, their conscious or unconscious bias can drive the direction of that decision. In any organization, there are many points in each management process where discretionary judgement is necessary. This applies to the processes of: recruiting/ hiring, evaluating, promoting, mentoring, rewarding, and assigning high potential job projects.
In order to detect instances of bias, each of these management processes must be flow charted. The key nodes where discretionary judgement is required are then identified. A racially diverse team can then examine the data about the decisions at each node, looking to see if there are any patterns of decisions that favor any one racial group in the workforce over other racial groups in that workforce. Whenever such patterns are identified, leaders can then take action.
One action takes place in supervision. The person whose decisions are found to be biased is confronted with the data and asked to explain what their thinking process was that resulted in the data skew. In situations where bias is found (whether intentional or not), the policy that guides the process may need to be altered. The analysis of a recruiting process, described in Part II, contains many examples of how policy can be altered to lessen the likelihood that decision-makers operate in a racially biased fashion.
How else can leadership lessen the occurrence of bias and intervene quickly when bias does occur? One high-leverage way is through the creation of Score Cards. Score Cards are regular reports on each unit that compare how white employees are treated versus how BIPOC employees are treated. The following is a list of comparisons that often comprise the Score Card:
In a given time period (e.g., quarterly, biannually) :
How many white resumes were reviewed before white candidates were selected for interviews versus how many BIPOC resumes where reviewed before a similar number of BIPOC candidates were selected for interviews?
How many white job candidates were hired versus BIPOC job candidates?
How many whites, at selected job categories, were promoted versus how many BIPOC employees were promoted in those job categories?
In any selected job category, what is the average time it takes a white person to get promoted to the next rung versus the average time that it takes a BIPOC person to be promoted to the next rung?
What percentage of whites received one the top 2 job ratings in their evaluations versus what percentage of BIPOC employees received one of the top 2 ratings?
Wherever managers are required to identify their choices of high potential employees (as in succession planning), how many whites were identified versus how many BIPOC people were identified?
In most companies, there is a list of required assignments which high potential employees pass through on their way to top management. In order to manage bias, it is necessary for top leaders to identify whichever positions in their company are deemed essential learning positions for advancement to top management. In manufacturing, for instance, some of those assignments are to positions as production manager, inventory control manager and sales manager. Human Resources and IT are often seen as less valued assignments. The pattern of assignments to those high valued positions comprise another component of the Score Card.
How many whites were selected for those highly valued positions versus how many BIPOC employees were selected.
The last component of the scorecard is turnover data, both voluntary turnover and involuntary turnover. Turnover is very costly to any organization. It often takes 6 months before a new employee has enough information and experience to carry to their job in a high performing manner. During those 6 months, the organization is not getting performance in full measure to what it costs to pay and trying the new person. I remember one high tech manufacturing company that discovered that the part time women employees it hired left in large numbers within a year after starting employment. They left to take jobs at a competitor company that valued their part-time employees better in terms of money and flexible hours. In effect, the first company had become the training site for the second company, which reaped the benefits of hiring the staff who had been fully trained by the first company. This was a costly practice on the part of the first company, and it was never tabulated until they examined their turnover data about part-time workers (who were overwhelmingly women.
How many white employees left the company voluntarily versus how many BIPOC employees?
How many white employees were terminated involuntarily versus how many BIPOC employees?
Using the Score Card as a Tool for Change
The Score Card is a means to an end. The desired end is equitable job opportunity across all racial groups. Obviously, this does not mean that each person in each racial category rises to the top of the organization. That never occurred even when it was only white men who reached top management ranks. The extent of career equity can be determined by examining averages across racial groups. If those averages (e.g., hires, promotions, performance ratings, etc,) are roughly proportional to the numbers of each racial group in the company, then we can say there is racial equity.
Score Cards are high-leverage tools because they send an unmistakable message to managers that they must demonstrate performance in terms of equity. It is not enough for a manager to avoid involvement in a racially tinged interaction. Score Cards dictate that managers must produce results – they must manage their unit in such a way that there is no skew in terms of career opportunity for any racial group. This means that they have to pay close attention to the way their department handles the daily business of job assignments, performance evaluation, promotions, etc. The Score Card ensures that there will be a clear record of just how well those functions are handled in any one manager’s unit.
Score Cards also ensure that managers will “see race.” In order to be successful, managers in organizations using Score Cards, must note racial patterns and must intervene if there is a skew in how any one racial group fares in that organizational unit.
I am familiar with companies that tied performance, as measured by Score Cards, to managerial compensation. In one company 15% of the bonus of top managers was tied to positive Score Cards. This is significant amount of money when you are dealing with bonuses of more than $400,000 dollars. Performance on the Score Cards also figures into the assessment of whether a particular top manager is likely to be assigned additional responsibilities.
Even in companies that don’t give bonuses at that level, the Score Card separates those managers who manage well across racial differences from those who do not. Within the United States, the proven ability to provide equitable job opportunity is a strong asset in this climate of an increasingly diverse workforce. The Score Card is an accounting tool that allows top leadership to identify those managers who have the skills needed to operate well in this diverse environment.