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DEI : Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Talent Acquisition

by Jay

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) are not just buzzwords; they are fundamental pillars of organizational success in today’s globalized world. From fostering innovation to driving financial growth, DEI initiatives are at the forefront of progressive organizations like Mastercard, Facebook, Chevron, Google, Amazon and many others. Here are a few stats to set the stage for further discussion

  • The ‘difference of age, gender, ethnicity and other dimensions foster a high performance” suggests a research study by Gartner .
  • Diverse companies benefit from 2.3 x higher cash flow per employee, according to Deloitte
  • Companies that have an above average diversity score steer 45% average revenue from innovation, according to World Economic Forum
  • Bain research has found that diverse and inclusive teams are 5 times more likely to innovate.

According to Boston Consulting Group, organizations with DEI ties can increase their revenue up to 19%. On the other hand, studies by Josh Bersin show that in inclusive companies, the level of innovation can increase by 1.7x. Whereas when it comes to market competitiveness in attracting and retaining the best talent, it is proven by Deloitte that Diversity and Inclusivity is important to 80% applicants when looking for a job.

By examining the symbiotic relationship between DEI and business outcomes, exploring strategies for inclusive hiring practices, leveraging technology to mitigate bias, and spotlighting real-life case studies, this article delves into the transformative power of DEI in shaping the future of work.

The DEI Business Case

In a global economy, a company needs employees with an understanding of all the markets where the company currently serves or aspires to serve. Those markets could be geographic, or market niches and segments (particular ethnicity or group of people in a certain country or region). A workforce that reflects its customer base encounters fewer obstacles and possesses inherent advantages when strategizing and communicating effectively in business.

Investigative studies consistently highlight the correlation between robust Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) practices and notable business outcomes. Notably, numerous Fortune 500 companies achieved revenue exceeding $250 billion in 2023, including prominent names such as Walmart, Amazon, Apple, CVS, Alphabet, Chevron, and Costco. What sets these industry giants apart is their commitment to DEI principles, evident through diverse leadership structures, inclusive workforce compositions, initiatives aimed at advancing the representation and professional growth of women and minority groups, implementation of flexible workplace policies, establishment of DEI advisory boards, and active engagement in community partnerships addressing racial disparities.

Strategies for an Inclusive Hiring Process

Diversity and Inclusion do not happen by chance but are consciously achieved with actionable strategies employed within organizations to foster a diverse and inclusive culture. Organizations and professionals in decision-making positions may employ certain strategies to build a diverse and inclusive workforce:

  • Establish diversity goals and develop actionable plans to achieve them.
  • Partner with recruitment agencies focusing on underrepresented communities to attract diverse candidates.
  • Ensure diverse representation in interview panels and provide unconscious bias training to team members.
  • Conduct consistent, transparent, and objective interviews by implementing diversity and inclusion training.
  • Encourage feedback from all panel members post-interview to ensure fairness and prevent bias.
  • Implement blind hiring practices to mitigate bias and prioritize qualifications and skills over personal characteristics.
  • Utilize technology for blind hiring, such as anonymized application processes, to increase diversity in applicant pools.
  • Structure interviews with standardized formats and predetermined questions to minimize subjective biases.
  • Foster inclusivity in organizational routines by reassessing social and yearly events to ensure they cater to diverse individuals.
  • Offer flexible work arrangements, such as remote or hybrid options, to attract talent from diverse backgrounds and demographics.

Mitigating Bias in Recruitment with technology

Organizations today are increasingly leveraging cutting-edge technology, to ensure fair and unbiased hiring practices.68% of recruiters believe AI will remove unintentional bias whereas 97% of employers plan to expand their use of recruiting technology. Here’s how you can too:

  • Regardless of the technology used, clear and defined hiring criteria are essential, outlining the skills, qualifications, and competencies needed for the roles to align them with organizational values and goals and eliminate stereotypes, subjective impressions, and personal biases that may influence the hiring process.
  • Use of tools like the Implicit Association Test from Harvard University for identification of implicit biases carried by recruiters and hiring managers. While it doesn’t offer a definitive diagnosis, it provides valuable insights into unconscious associations.
  • Data anonymization of surnames, locations, gender, and other such personal characteristics can contribute significantly to guardrailing unconscious biases. AI Tools like Blendoor and TalVista help to mask identifying information on applications and resumes
  • Employing data analytics and utilizing data-driven screening tools such as online assessments, resume parsers, skill tests, or personality profiles to filter and rank candidates objectively based on predefined criteria.
  • Informed decision-making is driven by data by leveraging several data sources such as HRIS (HR information systems), ATS (Applicant tracking system), and sometimes even the social media analytics to construct patterns, and project outcomes and tailor the recruitment strategy accordingly.
  • Composing biased free job descriptions using tools like “Textio” and “Included” for talent analytics.

Promoting Equitable Opportunities

Diversity is just the beginning; inclusion is the key to making it work.

Some initiatives and policies that can ensure Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in organizations can be:

  • Strengthen your pipeline by investing in quality training and pre-apprenticeship  programs.
  • Promote equitable and fair hiring by implementing standardized job postings that clearly outline the qualifications and requirements for each role. By using inclusive language and avoiding biased terminology, these postings attract a more diverse pool of candidates.
  • Equitable pay for employees by conducting equitable pay audits of the organization.
  • Establishing an objective career framework to propel your business forward in promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). This framework serves as a clear roadmap and offers guidance on career progression by addressing the question: “How can I advance?”

Case Study Spotlight

How a diverse workforce can contribute to problem-solving can be perfectly exemplified with IBM’s Watson Project. The project did not only bring people from diverse technical and cognitive backgrounds but also different cultural backgrounds. Whereas linguists aided in the language understanding, computer scientists helped devise efficient algorithms, the diversity of backgrounds helped to refine the accuracy of watsonx.ai’s sentiment and category classifications. The result? a groundbreaking AI system revolutionizing finance and healthcare industries showcasing the power of diversity in innovation and problem solving.

Mastercard has done some phenomenal work in the dimension of DEI.Expanding beyond traditional credit services, they embraced diverse talent needs for areas like data services and cybersecurity. Internal DEI policies address the specific needs of their diverse workforce, while ESG scorecards and gender diversity goals are tied to executive compensation, ensuring equitable pay. Innovations like an AI-based recruitment game reflect Mastercard’s commitment to unbiased hiring. These initiatives have propelled Mastercard to become the top U.S. company for diversity in 2023, with substantial market capitalization growth in 2022.

Conclusion:

As organizations navigate the complexities of a rapidly evolving business landscape, embracing diversity, equity, and inclusion emerges as a strategic imperative. By adopting inclusive hiring practices, leveraging technology to mitigate bias, and prioritizing equitable opportunities, organizations can not only drive innovation and growth but also foster a culture of belonging where every individual can thrive. Through case studies like Mastercard, we witness firsthand the transformative impact of DEI in shaping a brighter future for organizations and society as a whole.

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