Biases can emerge over time, and regular reflection is essential for us to nurture a healthy and inclusive environment for our school communities. This is especially important as you consider your human resources and recruitment practices.
We asked Orpheus Crutchfield and Mary Rose Fernandez from StratéGenius to describe the key challenges facing schools as they work to intentionally develop a diverse team of leaders, faculty, and staff, plus the key challenges facing applicants as they consider opportunities.
Developing inclusive & equitable human resources practices
Crafting and casting an appropriate net is vital to attract candidates who bring diversity and new perspectives to a school community. This includes thinking about how to develop a comprehensive job posting, what language and cues are used, and where and how the posting is shared.
The recruitment process should happen year-round, not just when an opening is due to program expansion or an employee departure. If schools consistently cultivate relationships with potential candidates, identifying and hiring great matches will be easier when an opening emerges.
Furthermore, people can often make assumptions about candidates that may not be true, which can lead to candidates not being fully or appropriately considered.
One of the biggest pitfalls is the notion of ‘fit’, which in reality is ‘code’ for a perception that the candidate is not exactly like the majority of school employees. This happens consciously and unconsciously.
Leaders must think about how they will not only attract a diverse talent pool but how they will make candidates feel seen and appreciated in the interview process. Part of this is ensuring that the search committee members that meet with and evaluate candidates are also diverse.
With the current teaching shortage, candidates are now being more selective, not only when considering a job/position but as they consider and select a new community/home. Lastly, school leaders need to think about how to retain candidates with as much effort as they invest in recruiting them.
Key challenges for applicants
Gaining a good sense of the community and culture of a school can be challenging. Candidates will assess whether schools ‘practice what they preach’.
Communicating the salary range and benefits is helpful to candidates. However, salary isn’t the main reason teachers leave their positions. Often, they leave because they were told one thing about the school community/culture when they were hired, and then their experiences in the community contradicted what they had been told.
Trying to determine these nuances as an applicant can be difficult.
Having a sense of the current diversity of a community is important, so applicants are advised to learn as much as they can in advance. If feasible, visit the campus and access social networks to investigate and ask questions from colleagues and friends.
Coming in 2024!
We'll offer a workshop on inclusive and equitable human resource practices in 2024. Are you a CIS member and interested in attending? We'll keep the our events schedule updated on the CIS Community portal and will alert you via our Member Update newsletters as soon as it's available.
Workshop goal: To explore and consider hiring policies and practices that minimise bias, increase inclusivity, widen the candidate pool, and create a warm, welcoming, and equitable recruitment and interviewing process and community.
Related content for inclusion via diversity, equity, and anti-racism (I-DEA):
- A range of resources (briefings, insights, on-demand webinars and more) are available to members in the CIS Community portal > KnowledgeBase > I-DEA
- Diversity (I-DEA)
- Global citizenship
- Intercultural learning & leadership
- Networking & learning