The Business Journal story reporting on changes in hiring practices at Mercy Health is nothing short of riveting for its success in eliminating bias in the selection and training process. President Bill Manns initiated the implementation of a new process five years ago to address diversity and turnover. The impact is notable. That success underscores the points made in a previous editorial regarding the city of Grand Rapids’ use of taxpayer money to “analyze and guide companies to create more inclusive, diverse workforces,” which is completely implausible and poor stewardship of tax dollars. It is by business community leadership that new or updated practices provide best examples, best practice.
Mercy Health in Grand Rapids and Muskegon hire for 3,200 positions each year. Manns told the Business Journal the “evidence-based selection process” specifically targets eliminating bias and “levels the playing field” for applicants. Turnover within the first year of hiring has been reduced 23 percent, the time used to hire a candidate dropped 16 percent and the diversity of new hires jumped from 18.4 percent to 38 percent.
Most every business owner or chief executive likely is to be inspired by the proof of the tape. Unemployment rates in the West Michigan region are below 4 percent, except in some ZIP codes or in comparisons of specific ethnicities. The national crisis and competition for talent recruitment and retention is the top issue for business. The Business Journal lauds the effort of West Michigan Works! for its quick adaptation of strategies similar to those Manns helped create into a program it calls HireReach. The program, in partnership with Talent 2025, is offered to employers as a tool to assist negotiating the talent crisis and eliminate inherent bias whether based on interviewing skills or a candidate’s particular school (among other subjective criteria). Two of Manns’ consultants have been involved in its design.
West Michigan Works! CEO Jacob Maas is quoted in the report underscoring the benefits to employers in more strategic hiring, “The more strategic employers can be at selecting the right fit for the job, I think our whole economy will benefit as a result.”
The Business Journal also notes the costly reductions of time in candidate hiring practices and training, and in the exceedingly costly turnover burden.