Equitable hiring vs. diversity hiring: Understanding the differences

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Rasika Rajagopalan

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At Pacaso, we are committed to creating a culture where all Crew members feel like they belong, are empowered to make an impact and have an opportunity to be successful. To achieve this goal, we need a diverse and inclusive Crew —  there’s plenty of evidence indicating that diverse teams perform better and are more successful than teams that are not diverse. We’ve thought a lot about the language we use internally to describe our initiatives around building diverse teams, and we’ve found it valuable to use the lens of “equitable hiring” rather than “diversity hiring.” Individuals aren’t “diverse” — teams, companies and communities are.

Diversity is an outcome of equitable hiring

Equitable hiring at Pacaso refers to the processes we’ve developed to reduce bias and give all candidates a fair chance of securing a job. One area we’ve put a lot of thought into is the interview. Without structure and standardization, bias can easily creep into this aspect of the hiring process.  We assign a clear focus area to each interview and are consistent in the types of questions we ask; this helps us keep the conversation focused on the candidate’s skills and attributes. Following the interview, we capture feedback in our applicant tracking system and hold debriefs, staying mindful of the focus areas. We require all Crew members to attend an in-depth "Inclusive Interviewing" workshop to ensure they’re equipped with the tools and knowledge to interview effectively and fairly. Discussing our hiring initiatives through the lens of equitable hiring pushes us to be strategic, thoughtful and process-oriented. Diversity is the outcome of these hiring practices. 

Talent has no boundaries 

Being a fully distributed company is core to our strategy of building a diverse team. Since we aren’t limited by geography, we can tap into perspectives and talent across the U.S. and beyond. This flexibility and reach also supports our broader mission as a company. Pacaso buyers and owners live in many different regions, and they’re interested in second home destinations throughout the country. A Crew with diverse perspectives, experiences and knowledge mirrors the diversity of the customers we want to serve. 

Diverse teams are the first step 

We find tremendous value in reporting and reflecting on the makeup of our team, and we hold ourselves accountable for our progress around diversity initiatives. Having a diverse team doesn’t automatically mean you have an inclusive culture, however. It doesn’t ensure that your practices are equitable or that employees feel a sense of belonging. To supplement our initiatives around equitable hiring, we have quarterly All Crew diversity conversations on topics related to building and scaling equitable experiences for everyone. We also bring in speakers and have panel conversations around diversity, giving our Crew an opportunity to learn from leaders in the space and ask questions through a group forum. We also routinely survey our Crew to gauge their perceptions and feelings around diversity, inclusion and belonging. We use that information to build on what we’re doing well and take action in areas where we can improve. Equitable hiring is an essential starting point, but fostering an inclusive culture requires an ongoing commitment and willingness to shift course as needed. 

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