With diversity and inclusion (D&I) programs taking an increasingly important role in organizations today, companies are turning to digital solutions to help drive improved diversity and inclusion. The HR technology market now features a breadth of innovative solutions offering increased scale, consistency and better insights to an organization’s D&I efforts.
Business and HR leaders recognize that greater diversity and inclusion (D&I) impacts a company’s culture and brand, its ability to attract and retain talent, and its business performance. Studies consistently show that diverse organizations are more innovative, have better business outcomes, and are more profitable. More than ever, organizations will be looking at D&I as imperative to creating better business outcomes and better human outcomes when all employees feel included and valued in the workplace.
Organizations are increasingly turning to technology to drive consistency, scalability, and better insights for their diversity initiatives. There is a robust market for D&I technology tools, with well over a hundred different D&I technology vendors. The areas where we see the most traction in the D&I technology market can broadly be categorized as talent acquisition, learning and development, employee engagement, and analytics.
D&I technology for talent acquisition has been a significant growth area. There is a breadth of solutions for attracting a diverse workforce, reducing unconscious bias in the recruiting process, and facilitating effective candidate selection. Some examples include:
- Text evaluation to minimize bias in job postings
- Job posting outreach tools with recognized networks of diverse candidates
- Automation capabilities to remove resume names or identifying information to eliminate unconscious bias in the recruiting process
- Video-based AI to assess interviewers’ potential biases through speech and body movements during interviews with candidates
- Resume analysis for evidence of skills that match existing job descriptions to broaden the potential candidate pool and facilitate more objective matching
Talent acquisition is the cornerstone of any diversity strategy, and we expect the level of D&I technology adoption in this area to accelerate.
Learning and Development
On the learning and development front, organizations have traditionally provided sexual harassment training or unconscious bias training as part of their D&I efforts. However, new approaches to D&I are gaining interest. For example, vendors such as Being VR or Equal Reality provide virtual reality awareness, unconscious bias, and diversity training to help employees better understand colleagues’ points of view – including those of a different race, gender, or ability – and practice behaviors in workplace situations.
Other vendors in this space deliver micro-training, such as using a chatbot to interrupt bias, and recommending unconscious bias learning content within platforms such as Slack or Microsoft Teams. Numerous vendors help diverse employees find mentors within or outside their current networks or technology to offer personalized career pathing and targeted skills development.
Listening and engagement software is another critical category of D&I solutions. A lot of the feedback and listening vendors enable organizations to tailor survey questions and use sentiment analysis to identify themes in the feedback. Other technology in this category helps organizations evaluate their cultures in real-time and identify when teams may not behave in inclusive ways.
Leadership and employee engagement technology, such as that provided by the vendor Cultivate, can even start to measure differences in how a manager communicates based on data from workplace communication platforms (such as email, chat, and calendar). This helps the manager improve self-awareness and understand if they are acting consistently and inclusively.
D&I analytics are core to developing insights in the workplace, guiding decision making, and prioritizing the D&I areas that need improvement. Common data captured for analytics include information on diversity representation within the organization, critical sources of talent, promotion, and turnover rates of diverse talent, and data on pay equity. Intelligence gained from these solutions helps assess the impact of specific D&I activities on business outcomes (for example, where to invest recruitment dollars for the highest performing talent) and estimate the financial impact of D&I initiatives (such as achieving gender equity for an organization). Not only are there standalone and niche solutions in the market, such as Visier, Pipeline, or Sameworks, but many of the leading HCM technologies have capabilities here as well.
Other emerging areas in the field of D&I analytics include organizational network analysis technology to identify how diverse employees are networked compared to majority groups within the organization. This evolving area of analytics helps organizations further build awareness of their culture and opportunities to create a more inclusive workplace.
With the awareness around D&I has come significant technological innovation to help organizations with talent acquisition, learning and development, engagement, and analytics. Workplace diversity and inclusion will only grow in importance as companies continue to invest in their D&I programs. As you begin or expand your D&I initiatives, evaluate some of the innovations in the market. If you can implement some of the best diversity practices and technology, you can take a tangible step toward achieving a more diverse and inclusive organization.
This article originally appeared in Toolbox HR.
About the author
Stacey Cadigan is an HR thought leader who is passionate about HR and talent management. With more than 20 years in HR, she has leveraged her deep experience and expertise to help clients achieve their strategic, operational, and financial objectives. Through her diverse experience in HR strategy, HRO operations, RPO, HR technology, and transitions, she has developed unique insight and the ability to ask the right questions in assisting organizations with finding solutions to effectively align their HR initiatives with their vision. Stacey was named “HR Thought Leader of the Year” in 2016 and “HRO Superstar” by HRO Today Services and Technology Association for 2016–2019.