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Using Automation to Support Diversity Hiring


Inclusivity means not ‘just we’re allowed to be there,’ but we are valued. I’ve always said: smart teams will do amazing things, but truly diverse teams will do impossible things.

Claudia Brind-Woody, Vice President & Managing Director for Global Intellectual Property Licensing at IBM

Diversity hiring isn’t just ethical. It can bring many cultural, financial, and productivity benefits to an organization. When employees feel represented and included, they’re more likely to succeed in their roles.

Research from McKinsey & Company found that organizations within the top quartile for gender diversity on executive teams are 25 percent more likely to have above-average profitability. This is in comparison to companies in the fourth quartile.

Corroborating this, MIT research indicates that successful teams share three commonalities:

  • Team members give one another equal time to talk.
  • Collaborators express empathy for one another.
  • Women are equally as represented as men.

The benefits of diversity are clear, but hiring teams often lack the time and resources to ensure their talent selections are diverse. Likewise, recruiters may fall prey to unconscious bias that is reinforced by cultural forces. Recruitment automation offers a solution to this challenge, but it needs to be implemented thoughtfully.

Employee Demand For Diversity

Beyond bringing many benefits to your organization, equity, diversity and inclusion are top employee demands. In fact, 78 percent of workers say diversity in the workplace is important to them. And this number is only going to rise as newer generations enter the workforce. These job seekers are more likely to apply to roles in organizations that champion diversity.

As employee expectations change, businesses like yours must try to accommodate them wherever possible. Ensuring your recruitment, onboarding and HR practices align with these desires will improve your overall appeal to candidates.

It’ll also ensure your workforce happiness rates are high. Indeed, employees in ‘inclusive’ workplaces are three times happier than those in less inclusive businesses. This leads to higher levels of productivity and engagement.

Battling Against Unconscious Bias

Unfortunately, many minorities still face bias within the workplace. In a recent survey, 29 percent of people with disabilities said they face bias at least once a week. This rose to 35 percent for LGBTQ workers, and 37 percent for those with a military background.

The hard truth is, eliminating bias in the hiring process is a difficult challenge. This is because it often goes unnoticed. People can develop unconscious bias from their earliest interactions in school to the media they currently consume. In the workplace, this means hiring managers may make assumptions about candidates without even realizing it.

But artificial intelligence isn’t an easy fix to the problem. These programs are developed by humans, after all. So, if the training data fed into a machine learning algorithm is biased, the output of that program will carry the bias through. If the humans that build the AI aren’t aware of their biases, it can be very difficult to eliminate them. However, there are ways you can leverage automation without the risk of unconscious bias.

Automation In Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)

ATS workflows are less susceptible to this AI bias, because decisions are still left to humans. Essentially, an automated ATS benefits hiring diversity by giving recruiters more resources to focus on creating genuine human connections with candidates. It can also open the door for recruiters to audit their recruitment workflows and identify any instances of bias.

Various areas you can leverage this automation — and feed time back into your recruitment team — include:

  • Interview scheduling. Avoid the back-and-forth of email chains and allow candidates to schedule interviews around their own commitments.
  • Candidate ranking. Scrap manual Excel documents and compile interviewer rankings into one singular portal.
  • Recruitment workflows. These track the journey of your candidates throughout the hiring process, so you never have to fish around for applicant details or documents.

More importantly to diversity and inclusion, ATS solutions can automatically get rid of information that may trigger human conscious (or unconscious) bias. By scrubbing data around age, race, and gender, your recruitment teams can screen candidates based on their job history and skills alone. This means that each candidate has a fair shot of making it further down the application process.

Alleviating Fears of Automation

One of the primary challenges of adopting automated technology is the knee-jerk reaction people can have to the concept. When employees hear about automation, they might associate the technology with layoffs. Indeed, 37 percent of employees worry about automation putting jobs at risk.

HR automation isn’t about a robotic workforce. It doesn’t replace recruiters, but rather augments their capabilities. Currently, necessary, but time-consuming tasks, such as answering emails and scheduling feedback, bog down hiring stakeholders. Automation takes care of these rote tasks so recruiters can focus on more important assignments. It also enables them to inject more human involvement into the screening, interviewing and onboarding process.

Increasing Hiring Diversity

Diversity is not only great for your bottom line, it can help to build a better employer brand and happier workplace culture, too. An optimized talent pipeline should contain applicants from a variety of backgrounds. The more unique experiences and perspectives you can bring to your team, the better.

Through the time-saving nature of automation and conscious human efforts, you can eliminate instances of bias from your recruitment workflows and ensure your workforce is as diverse as possible.

Get Started with Recruitment Automation

Automating repetitive, time-consuming tasks in the recruitment process can help organizations improve and deliver tangible benefits of talent diversity by:

  • Eliminating rote tasks like scheduling interviews and assessments.
  • Giving recruiters more time to audit their workflows for unconscious bias.
  • Allowing the hiring team to focus less on paperwork and more on human interaction.

Sign up for a free demo of JazzHR to learn more about how to implement automated recruitment workflows at your organization.


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