DEIB: How Technology Can Help to Reduce Our Biases
It’s become clear to HR departments in recent years that having a diverse and inclusive workforce is about more than just looking good. Studies show that gender-diverse workplaces perform 25% better on average, with ethnically diverse workplaces performing 36% better.
So, many businesses have begun to take a look at their hiring processes in an attempt to identify any barriers that would prevent diversity among their staff. The snag they tend to hit is unconscious bias.
What Is an Unconscious Bias?
We all know what conscious biases look like, and they’re thankfully much rarer than they used to be. An unconscious bias, however, is more subtle. It’s more difficult to identify, and even harder to combat. It happens when a person tends to favour certain groups over others without doing it deliberately. This isn’t always based on protected characteristics such as race, gender or sexuality. They can be smaller things that, on their own, don’t seem so awful. When repeated in a pattern, however, they can end up being exclusionary.
Take, for example, the halo/horns effect. This is where we might make a judgement on a person’s entire character based on a single good or bad trait. This might be someone we think will be a great fit to the team simply because they’re physically attractive. Or, someone we think will be unsuccessful because they have what we judge to be an irritating voice.
Remember, these aren’t things we decide. Rather, they make their way into our brain the back way. So, fighting them is all the more difficult.
How Tech Can Help
Fortunately, there are a whole host of technological solutions that can assist HR and recruitment professionals in making their hiring processes less susceptible to bias.
The first and biggest hurdle in bringing diversity to the business is the hiring process. This could be someone being discounted from a role because the name on their CV gives away their background, or a system that encourages referrals meaning that the candidate pool is narrower than it should be.
First, you need to look at your job ads. Lots of job adverts include language that is unintentionally geared towards a certain gender or age bracket. There are a few good businesses that use artificial intelligence (AI) to make your language more inclusive. AI can additionally be used to analyse your process and identify any attrition points. These systems can also be used to analyse the company culture and offer suggestions for which personality traits to look out for in your next hire.
There are plenty of services that help to anonymise your applicants, taking out any opportunity for unfair bias and leaving behind only what is relevant to the role. These are excellent for early stages as it helps you get right down to the meat of who has the right skills and experience.
DEIB, of course, doesn’t stop being a problem once your new hires are in the door. One issue faced by those experiencing discrimination in the workplace is the feeling that reporting it will make the situation worse. Providing an anonymous feedback system will help in these situations, letting employees flag up these issues without the consequences of someone knowing it was them that raised the issue.
It’s vital to ensure that all employees are up to date with the culture you want to encourage in the workplace. You could use one of the many services that provides awareness training, either via video or a written newsfeed, encouraging employees to retain a growth mindset with regard to the people around them.
Raising your DEIB game isn’t easy, and it doesn’t happen quickly. There will be plenty of things that you’ll try before realising they don’t quite work, and you may discover more problems as you go. But, that’s okay. The most important step is to acknowledge you can be better, and keep working towards it. At HR Technologies, we’ll be proud to host a great number of tech businesses dedicated to helping HR and recruitment professionals improve their DEIB efforts. Come along in May 2023 to meet them!