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    Technology Fostering Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace

    by Elena Timakova 10/31/2019 07:42 AM GMT

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          Description

          Diversity and inclusion (D&I) are becoming an integral part of the workplace due to their fulfilment of moral obligations and their role in increasing business performance—particularly valued in terms of increased profits (2018, McKinsey). As awareness of the benefits of D&I grew through social movements like MeToo and Black Lives Matter, so did support from tech companies. The RedThread-Mercer report (Diversity & Inclusion Technology: The Rise of a Transformative Market) identified over 100 D&I technology vendors, and with 60% having over $100,000 in revenue, the D&I technology market is valued at over $100M.

          The report identified the market to be driven to solve three main problems i) unconscious bias (43%) mainly through talent acquisition, ii) provision of D&I analytics (33%) to identify issues through key performance indicators, and iii) addressing lack of diversity in talent pipelines (30%) going hand-in-hand with unconscious bias in talent acquisition. Combining those target problems to yield four main categories for D&I technology vendors including talent acquisition (43%), analytics (26%), development and advancement (19%), and engagement and retention (12%).

          Talent acquisition, including candidate sourcing and selection, is by far the largest growing sector with over 40% of companies experiencing a growth of >100% annually. The main focus is to provide organizations with access to large and diverse candidate pools through techniques like changing job descriptions (i.e. targeting towards underrepresented groups), matching candidates with job descriptions, developing blind resumes and profiles to reduce bias and increase diversity (2018, RedThread-Mercer). For example, Textio—an augmented writing platform, uses AI to analyze jobs descriptions for jargon or masculine/feminine phrasing, and predicts how various people will respond to the content. By generating highly effective writing, Textio has been able to help companies like Nvidia to fill jobs twice as quickly, Evernote to triple its application rate, and increase female applicants by 9% with Johnson&Johnson (2018, Fast Company).

          The second-largest sector is D&I analytics, helping companies prioritize D&I areas for intervention. D&I dashboards are created to analyze key performance indicators like pay equity, representation, organizational diversity and talent sourcing and selection analysis to help companies quantify their diversity and its impact on business performance. Platforms like Aleria use complexity science, software simulations and a human-centric approach to reveal how inclusion impacts performance from employee happiness and profit viewpoints (2019, Aleria Tech). While platforms like Pipeline focus more on gender diversity in relation to its impacts on financial outcomes for the company (2019, Pipeline Equity).

          About 19% of the D&I tech market is geared towards employee development and career advancement (2019, Florentine). With a focus on training including delivery, open communications, and virtual reality training, this sector aims at increasing D&I awareness of the employees. For example, Bankwest, an Australian bank, used VR technology offered by BeingVR to deliver training on inclusive leadership to its leaders. This training allowed the bank’s leaders to recognise and leverage diversity for high performance by practicing the leadership interactions that they would normally encounter in the real world with each other. 100% of participants agreed that VR contributed to engagement and memorability of the experience (2019, Green).

          The engagement and retention sector focuses on giving employees confidence in their voice through employee communications and experiences tools. Providing anonymous reporting, analysis of slack and written communications for sentiment and bias, and enabling planning for diverse group experiences are just some examples (2019, Florentine). Allie is a bot used in Slack communications to analyze for microaggressions increasing employee retention, especially for women and people of colour, by allowing reporting of these microaggressions and bias in addition to providing tips to deal with these situations (2019, Hustad). Another example is when Dartmouth College used Balloonr to recruit and select students to serve as ambassadors to the alumni body. Balloonr allows the gathering of feedback and ideas from employees while reducing bias effects on feedback influencing by keeping all responses anonymous. Dartmouth observed unbiased responses compliment their selection process and allowed maintenance of a record of responses in addition to decreasing meeting time by 70% (2019, Green).  

          Companies with gender and/or racial diversity in the top quartile are more likely to have revenues above the national average, as such, it is important to keep in mind the role of emerging technology in diverse hiring, D&I analytics, and employee training and retention contributing to inclusion. Although D&I technology is a field in its infancy, it is sure to make a large contribution to the greater success of a company, business or even industry.

           

          References:

          [1] https://www.pipelineequity.com/

          [2] https://aleria.tech/

          [3] https://www.alliebot.com/

          [4] 2019. Fast Company. “Textio”. Retrieved on Oct. 30th, 3019 from2https://www.fastcompany.com/company/textio

          [5] 2019. Florentine, Sharon. “Diversity and inclusion technology on the rise”. Retrieved on Oct. 30th, 2019 from https://www.cio.com/article/3374838/diversity-and-inclusion-technology-tools-on-the-rise.html

          [6] 2019. Garr, Stacia and Jackson, Carole. “Diversity and Inclusion Technology: The rise of a transformative market”. Retrieved on Oct, 30th, 2019 from https://www.mercer.com/content/dam/mercer/attachments/private/gl-2019-mercer_di_report_digital.pdf

          [7] 2019. Green, David. “How can you use technology to support a culture of inclusion and diversity?”. Retrieved on Oct. 30th, 2019 from https://www.myhrfuture.com/blog/2019/7/16/how-can-you-use-technology-to-support-a-culture-of-inclusion-and-diversity

          [8] 2018. Hunt, Vivian et al. “Delivering through diversity”. Retrieved on Oct. 30th, 2019 from https://www.mckinsey.com/~/media/McKinsey/Business%20Functions/Organization/Our%20Insights/Delivering%20through%20diversity/Delivering-through-diversity_full-report.ashx

          [9] 2019. Hustad, Karis. “Meet Allie: A bot that helps companies improve diversity and inclusion”. Retrieved on Oct. 30th, 2019 from https://www.americaninno.com/chicago/meet-allie-a-bot-that-helps-companies-improve-diversity-and-inclusion/

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