The Case for Organizational Diversity and Actions that Can be Taken to Hit the Mark

Organizations are increasing their efforts in becoming more inclusive and diverse to adapt to today’s new normal. Recent events have reminded us that proper inclusion is a never ending mission, and have especially expanded our perspectives on certain aspects of our daily work that have often been overlooked when considering areas where diversity and inclusion can be improved.

Workplace technologies are a specific, overlooked area where diversity and inclusion and companies have a moral, legal and economic imperative to make sure employees are not adversely impacted when they are adopted. These tools need to improve the candidate experience so they feel welcomed, respected and valued. 

The tools need to be adapted because corporations are a reflection of the diverse populations of the geographies in which they operate and of their customer base. Companies that see and embrace this emerging requirement diversity gain a massive edge on competitors in a wide range of key performance metrics:

  • Profitability: 25%-36% more likely to outperform on profitability
  • Innovation: Up to 20% higher rate of innovation and 19% higher innovation revenues
  • Decision-making: Up to 30% greater ability of spotting and reducing business risks
  • Employee engagement: Statistically significant causal relationship with engagement and retention, for all employees

Using these improvements, organizations can take real steps to becominging more inclusive and celebrate diversity in all its forms. By leveraging emerging technologies companies can improve: organizational analysis and monitoring, talent acquisitions and employee experience, and compensations and development. The following sections will outline some examples of where diversity and inclusion has been improved by implementing different tools.

Organizational analysis and monitoring

PwC recently surveyed corporate directors about the levels of gender and racial diversity, and 83% of them believed that companies should be doing more to promote gender and racial diversity.

Similarly, the New York Times reported that among chief executives of S&P 1500 firms, there are four men named John, Robert, William or James for each woman. 77% of S&P 500 company boards are more than two-thirds male, and only 2% have more than 50% women members

In other levels of the company, AI-powered analytics solutions and cloud-based tracking dashboards provide the ability to process HR data at scale and view real-time statistics. This gives C-suite executives and decision-makers the visibility to set KPI’s for their organization, analyse employee data at scale, and benchmark against peers. 

Ultimately, these tools that help review employee data and interaction paint a picture of the corporate ecosystem and employee experience. Leaders will be able to measure behaviours which create inequality and exclusion allowing them to take effective action in reversing them. Next, I’ll be discussing the talent acquisition process and how this part of the workplace is similarly adapting to new demands for increased diversity and inclusivity.

Talent acquisition

The talent acquisition process is commonly looked at like a funnel and divided into two functions: talent sourcing and talent selection. The applicant pool is larger today than ever and has created a great opportunity for industry leaders to separate from competition by making their workforces more diverse.

Sourcing talent

Sourcing talent usually implies that recruiters cast a wide net and market job roles their company is seeking to fill. While connecting with candidates, they qualify and shortlist the best to pass them to hiring managers to interview.

That being said, only 16% of corporate directors that were surveyed by PwC believed their companies scored “excellent” for recruiting a diverse workforce.

In reality, diverse companies do a great job connecting with candidates by expanding hiring to a broader talent pool for staffing hard-to-fill roles, including sourcing passive candidates. By leveraging tools like A.I. powered text analytics and sophisticated candidate search platforms, they are able to avoid copy bias in their job requisitions and attract more diverse talent. However, the measures that should be taken to encourage a more diverse talent pool does not stop here.

Selecting talent

Once talent has been sourced at the top of the funnel, they enter various screening processes that are unique to each company. Here, it is extremely important that there is a fair and equitable process that assesses candidates against the same criteria to avoid adverse impact and be legally defensible.

Adverse impact occurs when a selection process disadvantages members of a specific group. This is determined once a selection process is complete and if it is found that the hiring rate for a minority group is less than the 80% of hiring rate for the majority group it is in violation of the four fifths rule.

There are different forms of assessment – the common ones being a cognitive, personality, and behavioral. 

Cognitive assessments have strong correlations to performance on the job but are known to create large subgroup differences. If you remove bias from these types of assessments you also remove its predictability. 

Personality assessments create minimal subgroup differences but are not very job specific, predictable and have minimal relationship to performance. 

Behavioral based assessments like the ones employed at Knockri are great because they have high levels of predictability and strong relationships to performance, but limit the amount of subgroup differences. Knockri is able to deliver these video, written and audio assessments remotely and improve the quality of hire for many fortune 1000 companies.

Next, I’ll be discussing the importance of diversity in the actual workforce – and how it affects career development and employee inclusivity.

Employee experience, compensation, and career development

An organization’s employee experience, compensation, and career development can be negatively affected by unconscious behaviours reducing the voice of minority employees and affecting their intrinsic connection to the company. Technology can aid managers who might subconsciously apply inconsistent or biased criteria in performance assessments and evaluations successfully establishing pay equity and career path guidance through learning and development.

Organizations should train and incentivize managers and employees to create inclusion, empathy and foster positive interactions in the workplace. 

Some companies are using experiential learning for bias awareness through virtual and augmented reality. These tools help managers develop better soft skills for engaging with employees in a fair and equal way. 

For other employees, Structured objective performance evaluations powered by machine learning and natural language processing are being used to collect recognition and reward data to give real feedback to them. These tools help them see where they can improve their own soft skills and career paths.

Learning and development tools allow for targeted, personalized learning and the establishment of development programmes. Combined with human capital management tools, they can encourage the proper matching of employees to prospective jobs according to their competencies.

Conclusion

Today’s social economy demands organizations take proactive measures to become inclusive. The COVID-19 pandemic and accompanying job market disruptions have accelerated the need to remove suboptimal processes and legacy software to adjust to the modern day normal. Professionals will need to apply sound judgement and evidence-based evaluation and testing to ensure parity, inclusion, diversity and minimize the risks of new workplace technologies. Using the aforementioned points, I hope you can review the processes at your own workplaces and see how you can improve on existing processes or implement new ones to encourage a higher level of diversity and inclusion.

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