DEIB Strategies for Fair Promotion Processes 

by Maribel Cruz

May 02, 2024BlogDevelopment

The opportunity for advancement and growth is consistently one of the factors that motivates job seeking for workers of all ages. Individuals want to learn and progress within their chosen roles and very often will search for positions and companies that facilitate that growth if they feel they are stagnating. However, the mechanisms for determining who should advance to higher levels of responsibility can be fraught with unconscious bias, internal politics and more.  

Utilizing third-party reviews can be an effective strategy to counter unconscious bias in promotion via a standardized assessment. By introducing neutral evaluators and ensuring a homogenous set of interview questions free of charged language, organizations can provide candidates an opportunity to highlight their strengths against a backdrop of relevant, uniform criteria.  

It is crucial to safeguard the objectivity of the interview/assessment questions themselves; these questions should be free of gender, race or status bias while affording all applicants the chance to express themselves by ensuring equal access. This means removing hindrances by providing visual, auditory and physical accommodations as appropriate. Ideally, evaluators should be blind to demographic and identifying criteria.  

More importantly, the promotion evaluation should be based upon predicted potential for performance excellence in each role. This is where unconscious bias is most prevalent, as typically the individuals evaluating potential candidates have some sort of history with the incumbent.  

By introducing performance-relevant criteria, neutral evaluators and assessing against a standardized set of metrics indicative of excellence in a role, companies maximize the likelihood of placing an individual in the best niche for their growth.  

Utilizing a standardized promotion process that highlights an incumbent’s probability of success in a role uncovers their strengths and weaknesses, so employers can generate a career development path unique to the person.  

This process signals investment in the individual and increases feelings of belonging, as associates are likely to feel their company is vested in finding the best spot for their talents. Such a process can also take advantage of remote sourcing by expanding the talent pool beyond the immediate location, so associates are not geographically limited, and the talent pool can be increased.  

Interestingly, research data supports the notion that by employing a third-party, standardized assessment process for promotion, DEIB concerns ultimately take care of themselves. That is, removing unconscious bias and emphasizing the potential for excellence in a specific role leads to the best possible person for the role, one who has the greatest readiness to perform superbly.  

Maribel Cruz

Maribel is the Director of Leadership Consulting where she assists each individual in crafting a development path that honors their talents and optimizes their unique potential, recognizing that our organizations and community flourish when each person thrives.

“We have the opportunity to evolve and grow every day; we are both teacher and student in our narrative. No one is ‘done’ until they draw their last breath.” — Maribel Cruz

Talents: Intelligence, Growth Orientation, Focus, Ego Drive and Individualized Approach