Tool for Reducing Bias in Hiring Decisions



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Did you know diversity can have a direct effect on your bottom line?

How Prioritization Helper Can Help Employers Impact Diversity & Increase Revenue

Diversity can have a huge impact on companies. Adding diverse ideas and approaches means teams can find solutions that take into consideration multiple angles of problems, which makes the solution stronger.

The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) conducted a study that shows how diversity improves the bottom line for companies, which appeared in Forbes Magazine’s article, “A Study Finds That Diverse Companies Produce 19% More Revenue.” Their research uncovered that when the diversity of leadership teams increases, companies experience higher quality and more innovation, as well as improved financial performance.

“It looked at 1700 different companies across 8 different countries, with varying industries and company sizes. They have found that increasing diversity has a direct effect on the bottom line. Companies that have more diverse management teams have 19% higher revenue due to innovation,” writes Anna Powers in the Forbes article.

“This finding is huge for tech companies, start-ups, and industries where innovation is the key to growth. It shows that diversity is not just a metric to be strived for, it is actually an integral part of a successful revenue generating business,” continues Powers.

This is great news, but it leads to the question: why is it so hard for companies to add diversity to their teams?

Understanding Our Brains: How Unconscious Bias Works

It starts with information overload that leads to unconscious bias. We’re presented with eleven million pieces of information at any moment, and that’s way too much for our brains to handle. University of Virginia Psychology Professor Timothy Wilson, who is the author of the book Strangers to Ourselves: Discovering the Adaptive Unconscious, explains that the brain can only process 40 of those eleven million pieces of information. (1)

As a way to handle incoming information our brains develop shortcuts, using past knowledge to quickly make assessments and judgments about people and situations. These assumptions can be influenced by things like our experiences, background, and environment. The result: unconscious bias/implicit bias. (2)

In 2011, UK-based business psychologists Tinu Cornish and Dr. Pete Jones researched bias. Their research showed that almost 40% of people have unconscious biases against certain ethnicities and genders. Knowing this, how can people, particularly decision makers, remove unconscious bias to ensure equal opportunity? (3)

Passage Technology’s Prioritization Helper Can Reduce Bias from Hiring Decisions

Prioritization Helper is a 100% native Salesforce app from Passage Technology that facilitates business decisions. “Hiring new employees can be challenging, and adding the various opinions of those involved in the hiring process makes it more so. Many companies try sending out polls or holding real-time votes, but find they’re ineffective because obstacles such as cognitive bias or sunk cost fallacy get in the way of rational reasoning,” explains John Zhao, Service Owner at Passage Technology.

With Prioritization Helper, teams can reach a consensus while understanding how a decision was made. Prioritization Helper uses pairwise comparisons, which are part of the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP), a method for organizing and analyzing complex decisions.

The method was developed by Thomas L. Saaty in the 1970s and has been refined since then. Pairwise comparisons facilitate collaborative decision making to reduce cognitive biases. It includes three parts: the first is the goal or problem you're trying to solve, the second is the possible solutions, called alternatives, and the third is the criteria you’re judging the alternatives on.

AHP provides a rational framework for a needed decision by quantifying its criteria and alternative options, and for relating those elements to the overall goal. Stakeholders compare the importance of criteria, two at a time, through pairwise comparisons.

It does the calculations for you and ranks the most optimal choices for each individual. However, the results may not be what you'd expect if it was a simple poll where you pick a choice.

For example, if you took a vote, pizza might be your last choice since you had it yesterday. But if you had to judge it by all the other criteria (variety, vegan options, etc.) instead of your gut reaction, you'd start to see the flaws in your thinking. Now imagine what you're unknowingly leaving out when making more complex decisions.

Here's an example of how Prioritization Helper uses AHP to help facilitate group decisions like hiring a candidate from a group interview.

  1. Decide on an objective - This will be the end goal. What are you trying to decide?
  2. Enter your alternatives - Alternatives are all of the possible options. 
  3. Enter comparison criteria - These are the different ways you’ll evaluate the alternatives. 
  4. Send it to all decision makers - Send it to staff from each of the departments affected by the decision.

Evaluating the comparisons:

  1. Assign weights to criteria - Using sliders, choose a number between 1-9 to indicate which of the two criteria are more important, with 1 being a tie and 9 indicating a criteria that's more important than another.
  2. Weigh alternatives - This is the same process as weighing criteria, except this time you’re judging the options against the criteria.
  3. Individual results are calculated automatically - All individual results are calculated together to decide an order of preferences, including their percentages.

As the example shows, Passage Technology’s Prioritization Helper removes the exhaustive thinking from the final decision by evaluating the main points of the hiring process – and comparing the candidates based on these points.

Zhao concludes, “Prioritization Helper is a great tool for helping employers reduce unconscious bias from decision making. It helps companies build diverse workforces they need to fuel innovation and increase revenue.”

To learn more about how Prioritization Helper can make complex decisions easier for your organization, contact us.



1, 3 “Understand the Impact of Unconscious Bias on Employee Performance,” Trailblazer, Salesforce, 2020

2 “Recognize Bias in the Workplace,” Trailblazer, Salesforce, 2020

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