Diversity and Inclusion: Are we at an Inflection Point?
In my first 5 years of exposure to HR Tech, I had not heard the term Diversity and Inclusion. However, it’s unlikely that anyone working in HR Tech has not come across D&I in the last couple of years. It has emerged as a horizontal business issue and is being discussed with recruitment, performance, compensation, development, succession, and what not. The D&I concept itself is not new to organizations. In fact, in the past, organizations have put in both time and money towards D&I initiatives. These included training programs, tracking representation through gender, and race ratio in the organization. Such initiatives yielded annual reports, but, did almost nothing towards building an inclusive and diverse workplace culture. I think the reason for this is two-fold. Organizations missed the trick by seeing D&I as a compliance problem rather than a culture problem. Secondly, the ability to build technology solutions powered by AI and analytics was limited.
Today, the whole narrative around D&I has changed, and we see a resurgence of it. It won’t be an overstatement to say the D&I has reached an inflection point. Various social movements have got the attention of CXOs and have them thinking about D&I at their workplace. Organizations now realize that culture and employer brand play a critical role in hiring and retaining talent. The onus is on them to build a diverse and inclusive workplace for people at work. On the technology front, though the market is not as huge as other areas in HR, interesting solutions are being built. These solutions bring out insights, trends, behaviors hidden in the data. Let’s look at how technological solutions are helping address the D&I problem.
1. Descriptive and Diagnostic Analytics: Analytics can help leaders find answers to D&I problems across the employee lifecycle. Visualizations built on top of workforce demographics help organizations define KPI’s and metrics and track them over a period of time. For example, a CEO can quickly get to see the change in gender ratio over the last 3 years. Visualizations built on top data collected during hiring, promotion, engagement, etc. help locate areas to be fine-tuned. For example, by looking at the applicant’s data, a CEO may discover that they do not attract enough diverse talent. Analytics tools provide the ability to drill-down, slice & dice, compare, benchmark and correlate data across multiple axes. Using this, one can establish a causal relationship for D&I problems. For the problem cited in the prior example, a deep dive may track the cause to a specific area, which in this case could be the job descriptions, job boards, sourcing, individual, etc.
2. Inclusive Language: How you write reveals a lot about who you are. Text analytics can help organizations demonstrate unbiased and inclusive culture. Organizations produce a lot of text while writing job descriptions, performance reviews, emails, promoting employer brand, recognizing, etc. Text analytics can help detect the use of bias language based on gender, age, race, and ethnicity. It can also suggest replacements for biased words.
3. Search and Attract Diverse Candidates: To build a diverse workforce, one of the important activities for an employer is to make sure that their job postings are reaching and attracting diverse candidates. To enable this recruitment, software integrate and post jobs to dedicated job boards for women, military veterans, minority groups, etc. As a result, people from diverse backgrounds can get entry into the hiring pipeline. In addition, solutions are offering enhanced search capabilities making it easier for recruiters to search for candidates from a specific cohort.
As we stand today, D&I technology is a small but fast developing segment. In fact, it has positioned itself as a separate software category. There is a business case that interests organizations and they have an appetite to explore technology for it. In the near future, it’s extremely likely that both existing and new software vendors build solutions to address D&I problems. Harbinger has expertise in building D&I solutions in areas such as D&I metrics, representation analysis, coaching, analytics, etc. In case you’re looking to build features around D&I in your software product, please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.