Just a quick one this time folks. It’s another absolute gem of target-related nonsense, sent in to me by a sharp-eyed blog reader. The following table was spotted being proudly displayed on the wall of an establishment whose identity I have obscured behind the ‘censored’ banner, so as to prevent embarrassment.
- How do they conjure up the figures?
- Why is 15% the target for Black and Minority Ethnic applicants, yet 12% for those who actually start – is there some sort of anticipated failure rate of 3% built in for this particular group? Why is this?
- Which category would a disabled female Black and Ethnic Minority person fit into?
- Why isn’t there a target for disabled people? Surely that’s discrimination.
- Are the percentage proportions actually reflective of the local working-age population? If not, you may as well forget ever achieving anything close to the targets.
- 15% of what anyway? How many vacancies are there? What are the numbers? If the total number of places available happens to be less than 100, then it’s misleading to use percentages at all. A 5% shortfall in one of the categories might relate to half a person. Bring me your data!!
Aside from these points, you might want to use my versatile targets checklist from a previous post to tick off why they’re about as useful as a chocolate fireguard, even if there might be a good idea in there somewhere about helping under-represented groups.
These targets are dreamt up using the traditional ‘finger in the air’ method, aren’t immune from causing dysfunctional behaviour (e.g. potentially deselecting a more able white male applicant in favour of a borderline applicant from one of the groups subject to targets), plus they don’t help anyone understand or improve the system. Incorporating numerical targets into the equation ensures that this recruitment process totally misses the point (i.e. its purpose), which I’d assume is that of selecting the best person for the job.
If you recognise this table as being in your place of work and want me to explain more about how it actually works against the very aims it professes to espouse, please feel free to contact me and I’d be very happy to help.
Lastly, if you can identify the two systems thinking legends reflected in the photo, I’ll buy you a beer.*
*Subject to the following conditions: 1. Maximum one winner per country. 2. Successful contestants must be available to collect their beer from a location specified by me using the Enigma code machine and within a maximum of 30 minutes following notification. 3. Prizewinners’ beer will be dispensed in very small thimbles. 4. Closing date for this competition was yesterday.