Harnessing diversity to grow your business

Creating and maintaining a diverse workforce means creating business value. In establishing a diverse workforce, organisations  recognise that the blend of skills, experience, language, knowledge, approach and ways of working help to further both the business and the organisation.

Diversity can be achieved through fairness: ensuring that you assess for the requirements of the job and that you do this fairly. By deploying fair and objective online assessment tools and processes, all applicants regardless of ethnic, cultural, educational or social background are given the same opportunities to shine thereby encouraging the creation of a diverse workforce.

cut-e assessments are developed with a solid foundation of fair testing principles. We research and challenge constantly our products and what they do, and our consultants have a wealth of experience in advising on fair procedures and processes. 

cut-e white papers

White paper: Encouraging diversity through fairness in assessment

This white paper explores the role that fairness in assessment plays when seeking to create a diverse workforce. It considers the benefits of fair testing and diversity, how fair testing influences recruiting and why fair testing enhances diversity. 

Research to strengthen fairness and diversity

Dr Katharina Lochner, Research Director, comments on our fair testing approach "At cut-e we take research very seriously. We constantly research issues of diversity and fairness and have a number of on-going studies with clients such as Manpower and PAS which are looking into differences in test performance due to gender, age, and education level. 

We also work with universities through our student driven research programme and have links with the Fresenius University of Applied Science in Germany, Stockholm University and Luleå University of Technology in Sweden. In such studies, we are looking at whether the instruments measure what they are supposed to measure (construct validity) and whether they do this equally well across different types of devices.

Through our research, we are able to provide evidence that our instruments are not only highly predictive, but that they are also fair, fun and are perceived positively by candidates."

5 key factors for fair testing to help create a diverse workforce

All cut-e online assessments are designed and implemented based on fair testing principles. Kunnan (2004) suggests a framework that ”views fairness in terms of the whole system of a testing practice, not just the test itself”.

Kunnan integrates multiple facets into his framework:

  • Accuracy: A test has to be representative of items, tasks, or topics (content validity) as well as of the construct or underlying trait it measures (construct validity). It also needs to predict the criterion it is meant to predict (criterion validity), and needs to be reliable (reliability).
  • Equality: A test must not systematically disadvantage certain groups of test takers. The content of the test must not be offensive towards certain groups in terms of language or content and must not penalise certain groups of test takers because of their background. Furthermore, differences between different groups of test takers must be examined and considered when setting standards.
  • Accessibility: Groups of test takers must not be disadvantaged in their access to the test. This comprises the opportunity to prepare for the test and familiarise themselves with the procedure and equipment, to get access to the location of the test, and to afford financially the test. In addition, the test must be capable of accommodating those  test takers with specific challenges (e.g. dyslexia, ADHD, visual and motoric handicaps).
  • Practicability: For those tests taking place in supervised situations, the physical conditions must be appropriate, for example lighting and temperature. Furthermore, test taking conditions must be uniform and secure for all test takers. Unsupervised tests are designed in such a way that differences in, for example, the quality of the computer display or the software installed on the computer, do not impact the results.
  • Reversibility: The test results must have an impact on instructional practices and supplement decision-making, but test takers must have the opportunity to take action against any detrimental social effects of the test, for example by asking for the test to be re-scored or through legal challenge.

Did you know? Assessment Barometer survey results relating to diversity show that:

  • Creating a diverse workforce is an issue among more mature markets. Employers want to show they are making objective, unbiased selection decisions.
  • The mature market organisations are looking to expand the diversity of their workforce and are interested in sourcing talent in new ways, more so than those in the intermediate and development markets. 


Beyond recruitment: take action to commit to respecting and nurturing diversity

Organisations can do much to communicate their respect for and appreciation of diversity and to bring alive their values. 

  • The leadership: Encourage leaders to see that there are different perspectives and approaches to work. Point out the advantages so that they value the differences, but are also aware of the challenges and possible problems.
  • The organisational culture: Create a culture that is open and appreciative of differences. This will encourage employees to contribute their strengths to achieve the company’s goals.
  • Have high expectations of all your employees instead of expecting more from one and less from the other employee – but do not expect the same from every employee.
  • Stimulate personal development; adapt the job profiles to those doing the job as far as possible.
  • Make employees feel valued the way they are.
  • The organisational mission: Clearly articulate the company’s mission and make sure it is widely understood.
  • Organisational structures: Establish egalitarian, non-bureaucratic structures.

How apprentices can support a diverse workforce strategy

Apprenticeship programmes typically bring a diverse range of talent into the business. This paper explores the ‘blockers’ and ‘enablers’ to creating a more diverse workforce using apprenticeships and looks at how to attract, assess and develop apprentices.

Reference reading

Adams, J. S. (1965). Inequity in social exchange. In L. Berkowitz (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol. 2, pp. 267–299). New York: Academic Press.

Bortz, J. & Döring, N. (2006). Forschungsmethoden und Evaluation für Sozialwissenschaftler [Research Methods and Evaluation for Social Scientists] (2nd ed.). Berlin: Springer.

Colquitt, J. A. (2001). On the dimensionality of organizational justice: A construct validation of a measure. Journal of Applied Psychology, 86, 386–400.

Cox, T., JR. (1991). The Multicultural Organization. Academy of Management Executive, 5(2), 34–47.

Embretson, S. E. & Reise, S. P. (2000). Item response theory for psychologists. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers.

Ford, D. Y. (2005). Intelligence Testing and Cultural Diversity: Pitfalls and Promises. Newsletter of The National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented. Based on the monograph by Ford (2004) entitled Intelligence Testing and Cultural Diversity: Concerns, Cautions and Considerations. Storrs, CT: The National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented, University of Connecticut.

Hartigan, J. A. & Wigdor, A. K. (1989). Fairness in employment testing: Validity generalization, minority issues and the General Aptitude Test Battery. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

Kandola, R. S. & Fullerton, J. (1998). Diversity in Action. Managing the Mosaic (2nd ed.). London: CPID.

Kunnan, A. J. (2004). Test fairness. In M. Milanovic & C. Weir (Eds.), European language testing in a global context (pp. 27–48). Cambridge, U.K.: CUP.

Laursen, K., Mahnke, V. & Vejrup-Hansen, P. (2005). Do Differences Make a Difference? The Impact of Human Capital Diversity, Experience and Compensation on Firm Performance in Engineering Consulting. DRUID Working Paper No. 05–04, posted at www.druid.dk.

Leventhal, G. S. (1980). What should be done with equity theory? New approaches to the study of fairness in social relationship. In K. Gergen, M. Greenberg, & R. Willis (Eds.), Social exchange: Advances in theory and research (pp. 27–55). New York: Plenum Press.

Lilienfeld, S. O., Lynn, S. J., Ruscio, J. & Beyerstein, B. L. (2010). 50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.

Page, S. E. (2007). The Difference. How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools, and Societies. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press.

Reynolds, C. R. & Ramsay, M. C. (2003). Bias in Psychological Assessment: An Empirical Review and Recommendations. In J. Graham & J. A. Naglieri (Eds.), Assessment Psychology (pp. 67–93). New York: Wiley.

Section 60-3, Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures (1978); 43 FR 38295 (August 25, 1978). URL: uniformguidelines.com/uniformguidelines.html [05.12.2011]

Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (2003). Principles for the validation and use of personnel selection procedures (4th ed.). Bowling Green, OH: Author.

Steinkühler, B. (2007). Allgemeines Gleichbehandlungsgesetz (AGG). Die Umsetzung des AGG im Betrieb mit Handlungsempfehlungen für die Praxis. [General Equal Treatment Act. Implementation of the General Equal Treatment Act within a company, and recommendations for action.]. Berlin: Erich Schmidt Verlag.

Thomas, D. A. & Ely, R. (1996). Making differences matter: A new paradigm for managing diversity. Harvard Business Review, 74(5), 79–90.

Williams, K. Y. & O’Reilly, C. A., III (1998). Demography and Diversity in Organizations: A Review of 40 Years of Research. Research in Organizational Behavior, 20, 77–140.

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