Reducing Adverse Impact in your Hiring Practices Written by Justin M. Deonarine, I/O Psychologist Adverse impact refers to employment practices that appear to be neutral (or fair to everyone), but actually carry a discriminatory effect against groups of applicants or employees. It is important to keep in mind that these practices are implemented with the goal of a positive outcome, but actually carry unintended impacts (e.g. exclusion) when examined through a different lens. Apart from the obvious problem of discrimination, how could adverse impact hurt your organization on a productivity level? Keep in mind that adverse impact is the enemy of diversity. The benefits of workplace diversity are well-established. But remember, diversity does not just have to be visible factors such as age, gender and ethnicity. Diversity can also be found in the individual personality differences between teammates. Subjectivity-based biases in hiring such as the “Like Me Bias” can negatively impact your hiring process. It is hard for hiring teams to recognize these impacts, but doing so is becoming more critical as other organizations are able to find solutions to these challenges (and are able to hire the best talent as a result). Consider the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, who implemented blind audition practices in the 1980s. Since that time, their team has become more balanced in terms of gender representation and is much more diverse. How can you gain unbiased insights into candidates? How can you establish or support diversity in your organization? Psychometric assessments provide an objective source of data when considering candidates in the hiring process, and act as an additional layer of protection against unintended adverse impact.