Reinforcing D&I in the workplace through technology
As organizations start paying more attention to Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) goals, it will be the leadership and the right investments in technology that will drive true change. Today, there is enough evidence to suggest that diverse workplaces can drive better business impact and a thriving culture. It is no more a matter of mere compliance that makes these investments in D&I technology compelling for CEOs and CIOs. Moreover, D&I programs are more successful only when they are driven and promoted by the top leadership.
As per the findings of a McKinsey study in 2017, companies having gender-diverse executive teams were 21% more likely to achieve above-average profit and those with culturally or ethnically diverse boards were 33% more likely to outperform competitors.
Not more than a decade ago, diversity and inclusion were merely programs promoted by HR departments with the objective of conditioning to prevent discrimination for compliance reasons, rather than a cultural shift. With time, these attitudes have evolved, and more business leaders are conscious about the significance of D&I efforts within their organizations. However, technology has emerged as an effective enabler to change the mindset at large organizations.
D&I technologies help companies create consistency and scalability with regard to people management, development and learning opportunities. The primary function of these technologies lies in reducing unconscious bias, addressing inadequately diverse talent pipelines, and providing D&I analytics or insights to help guide decision making.
Why D&I Technology?
The first step towards creating an inclusive workplace is to acquire the right talent. Using Artificial Intelligence (AI), organizations can not only access a larger, more diverse pool of candidates, but also ensure a more mature competency-based approach. Whether it is by means of adopting ‘blind recruitment’ or standardization of interview processes to reduce bias, more enterprises should leverage tools that allow assessment based on qualification or skills only.
In addition to talent acquisition, staff development through mentorship, training and assimilation must take priority. Virtual training today makes it possible for employees located in different parts of the world to understand and engage with colleagues from diverse backgrounds, within the organization. It allows them to experience the challenges that an underrepresented community or a differently abled person might experience in the workplace and offer everyone the opportunity to share their unique perspective. There are also solutions that send regular learning moments to employees in the flow of their workday, seamlessly integrating diversity, equity and inclusion into their workplace experience. In an attempt to mitigate bias, these apps use chatbots to offer micro-training within Slack or Microsoft Teams workflow.
Moreover, a plethora of solutions are now available that range from planning for and understanding diverse groups’ work experiences to using sentiment analysis to analyze written communications for biases. While some allow organizations to customize employee survey questions to focus on diversity and inclusion topics, others offer voice tools focused on diversity and inclusion. By now, many leaders understand that there is a strong business case for D&I, with respect to increasing innovation in their organizations. However, some are still on the lookout for quantifiable data to validate their policies and programs. Technology is the remedy to this problem too. It enables leaders to identify links between D&I and business/financial KPIs and quantify the D&I business case for specific activities.
In the modern workplace, diversity and inclusion are the norm. D&I issues demand much greater attention and a sustained effort from organizations to review their policies, processes, and benefits, making them fairer and more equitable. CIOs and technology leaders must also play an active role along with legal and privacy teams in setting up the organization for long term sustained performance of its D&I efforts. With the rapid advancement of data-driven technology tools and their adoption today, workplaces of the future will have better D&I fundamentals, allowing them to access the true potential of their people