Over the last few months, it’s been encouraging to learn about some tech-enabled programs and tools helping businesses accelerate their diversity and inclusion ambitions.
Here are a few of our favorite examples:
Did you know that for years, developers had no idea that they had baked their own unconscious bias into algorithms? Too often, in the financial services sector, this led to uneven distribution of credit scores and discriminatory lending practices. For example, more than one in five people of color have FICO scores below 620, while only one in 19 Caucasians have credit scores below 620. But now, advances in machine learning in lending platforms are allowing tech companies to rid software of the biases embedded in the historical data used to train algorithms.
Diversity gets data-driven
One example of effective data collection is gender pay gap reporting, which has prompted companies to examine their statistics and set out action plans to address the lack of representation of women in roles that are better remunerated.
Those that foster a strong culture of trust among their employees can reap even greater rewards from data – they can create an environment in which employees feel comfortable self-declaring personal and sensitive data. This data may be used as input into programs aimed at advancing the diversity and inclusion agenda in the business.
Technological advancements also now step up to help companies make their hiring process more diversity and inclusion-conscious. Software can be used to perform skill, talent, and competency assessments while ignoring factors such as gender, age, race, and other demographic factors. The tools are designed such that race, gender, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or even people’s names aren’t used as screening parameters.
One example would be avoiding using gender-specific language. Instead of “he”, which is often used as the default pronoun, the creator of the job post is prompted to use “they” to keep the advertisement gender neutral.
Digital tools are also being used to provide better diversity and inclusion education in the workplace. For example, virtual reality training has proven to be a powerful and effective means to offer life-like experiences to employees.
Time to move
The top-ranking company in diversity and inclusivity this year was Microsoft. According to 2020, 39.7% of the company’s board comprised racial and ethnic minorities, and, as a whole, 49.8% of its workforce was made up of racial or ethnic majorities. Management also consisted of 41.3% racial or ethnic minorities.
Take a read of this post for tips for building a culture of diversity, inclusion, and belonging for your organization.