SAPVoice: How High-Tech Leads to More Fair Hiring Practices

by Camilla Dahlen, Head of ISV, SAP

Changing a corporate culture doesn’t happen overnight, but fair hiring practices are an excellent start toward embracing diversity — and attracting the best talent. More than two-thirds (67 percent) of active and passive job seekers rank a diverse workforce as a critical factor in evaluating potential employers and job offers, according to Glassdoor.

Businessman showing presentation to colleagues on digital tablet.That percentage is even higher with younger the job seekers. And that tells us that the up-and-coming workforce is actively searching for employers with a strong message and track record in diversity and inclusion.

Finding a “Values Fit”

Organizations that want to attract the best talent and reap the benefits of a diverse workforce — according to Sarah Pollock, head of Marketing for ClearCompany’s Talent Management Software — should integrate some (or all) of these tactics:

  • Increase your company’s diversity branding on career pages, including a diversity mission statement, relevant imagery and awards given by reputable organizations
  • Breed a culture of diversity within your organization by providing a variety of training outlets
  • Drive diversity initiatives with full leadership support and reinforcement to show that diversity is valued throughout the business

By training gender-diverse hiring panels to avoid bias, Atlassian got more than half of its female employees to participate in its graduate program. Panel training shifted the focus from “culture fit” to “values fit,” allowing the software vendor to hire people who share goals, as opposed to specific viewpoints or backgrounds, according to Atlassian’s global head of diversity and inclusion.

Large companies have also acknowledged the importance of diversity. Intel, for one, announced plans to invest US$300 million over the next five years in its diversity in technology initiative, which aims to bring a workforce that fully represents the global demographic by 2020.

Technology’s Increasing Role

It’s becoming more popular for organizations to analyze and curate data in order to measure and improve hiring. Cloud solutions help to store large amounts of data, analyze it faster and produce quicker results, such as objective candidate scores from résumé data to determine and rate candidates before the interview stage.

Diversity statistics from companies such as Google, Facebook and Twitter revealed that they needed to make a greater effort to remove unconscious bias in the workplace, according to Fast Company. And a new group of small start-up companies that are delivering new technologies to support diversity initiatives to the market.

Organizations can also use technology to scan work samples, parse social media and analyze facial expressions during interviews, for a fuller picture of the candidate beyond his or her gender. The future lies in measuring impact skills, such as grit, curiosity and other personal attributes, and then comparing these to top talent.

Artificial intelligence can also be used to check for specific skills administering “blind auditions” by using bots. The KORE bots platform, for instance, can conduct conversations with applicants before engaging in face-to-face interviews, filtering candidates without bias.

Strategies for Diverse Hiring Practices

Most U.S. firms “promote the idea of diversity, but the problem lies in making it workable, which means to guarantee that every single hired employee feels welcomed in the firm and is given the same promotion chances as others to higher levels as far as his/her abilities allow,” an Equal Opportunity article stated.

This is a particularly difficult subject to tackle, according to a recent article in the WSJ, considering that companies are less likely to take a chance on promoting a woman over a man.

One-fifth of large U.S. employers with diversity programs now provide unconscious-bias training, according to Margaret Regan, head of the global diversity consultancy FutureWork Institute. Implementing a technology platform that integrates with an HR system — alongside training and education — can also increase hiring efficiency and help manage every step of the hiring process.

For example, SAP’s Diversity and Inclusion Customer Advisory Group looks for new ways that the cloud company can use technology to drive innovation while supporting inclusiveness, such as its efforts in hiring autistic people.

Competition for talent in the labor market is fierce, making it even more important to invest in training, tools and technology to support your hiring and retention of a diverse employee base. This cultural transformation doesn’t happen overnight, but it is critical to exhibiting customer empathy — and fostering a greater sense of purpose for the hours spent in the workplace.

This story originally appeared on SAP’s Business Trends.

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