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Fahim Islam

D&I Specialist

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Why HR needs to bring Data and DEI together

HR's focus may be on talent retention, but the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion cannot be underestimated.
Diversity and Inclusion

A study from McKinsey entitled Why Diversity Matters showed that in the United Kingdom, greater gender diversity on the executive team corresponds to higher than national industry performance. Companies are proven to perform better when they incorporate a more diverse set of employees and greater inclusion culture.

When working with data analytics and AI (Artificial Intelligence) methods, it is even more crucial that companies play attention to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) as a key factor of success. Here are some reasons as to why combining these elements is crucial.

1. Getting recruitment right

Most organisations see the recruitment process as being the gateway to a more diverse and inclusive company. Aspects of the process such as automation, including the speedy decisions made based on applications, must be consciously adjusted to remove prejudices and unconscious bias, which play a strong role in limiting the right talent from having an equal chance to opportunities.

Organisations such as SAP are proactively designing Machine Learning models that work to fight bias through offering gender neutral translations and calibration to diversity rules.

It has become easier to work remotely which means that anyone from anywhere could be working for your organisation

The Centre for Social Investigation found that despite having identical CVs and cover letters as their white counterpart in the study, ethnic minorities: ‘needed to send 60% more applications in order to receive as many call-backs as the majority group’.

Incorporating a diversity lens, such as hiring a DEI consultant or using a diverse team in the setup process of any AI used can be crucial to ensure the recruitment process constantly changes with evolving cultural expectations and protect the organisation from reputational damage.  

2. Make the most of globalisation

Covid has taught us many things, one being that the ‘work from home’ model works. Many organisations have closed their office spaces and have seen a great cost saving with negligible hit to their productivity. It has become easier to work remotely which means that anyone from anywhere could be working for your organisation.

This expansion into remote working means you could access a larger pool of potential applicants and skills for your workforce. Where before you were limited to hiring an individual who happens to have a second language, why not hire someone who natively speaks a language and knows a region, to be able to support your organisations’ goals?

Surveys and websites such as Glassdoor can help consumers and potential employees screen a company’s reputation

You could also use data to better understand the needs of your employees and remain agile in an everchanging inclusive culture. Expanding talent acquisition will not only strengthen your workforce but also widen your lens to DEI, by understanding different country cultures and standards. 

You could utilise data to analyse and bring about insights from different experiences around the world, which would be an asset to a companies’ DEI strategy especially by making proactive changes towards targets based on cultural shifts. All of this data could then go on to drive action such as ensuring teams are more diverse through allocation to projects, aligning working hours across and even allocating jobs based on location of employees and their needs. 

3. Culivating your brand image

Consumers are more conscious on the use of their data, company brand is more important than ever, and DEI is at the top of the agenda in how a company is perceived. Using marketing through data driven insights and AI, you can help navigate the company’s reputation digitally. Surveys and websites such as Glassdoor are important ways that consumers and potential employees can screen a company’s reputation.

Monitoring key metrics on company reputation such as review statistics, opinion sentiment, employee satisfaction, advertising clickthrough etc., will allow a better understanding on how the company is being perceived and what should drive internal marketing goals.

Stay receptive to the developing workplace landscape as DEI touches all parts of a company

Leaders are looking to better understand what their audience want from a holistic angle, incorporating internal culture alongside purpose. Speaking to Forbes, Mollie Spilman, CRO of Oracle Advertising, said: “I am really focused on our talent – how we recruit the best team, how we retain our top folks, supporting employee engagement in our DEI initiatives, ERGs (employee resource groups), and other ways we can empower them to bring their whole self to work.”  

Utilising data analytics and AI will help you position your company in this competitive market as being agile and ready to learn from what the people want. Make sure to use metrics to drive decisions.

It is important to stay receptive to the developing workplace landscape as DEI touches all parts of a company. Utilising advancing technologies to remain competitive is very important but without the leverage and endorsement of the people who will working for you, the technologies are the equivalent to planting seeds in the dark.

Interested in this topic? Read How streamlining payroll and HR data supports diversity and inclusion.

Author Profile Picture
Fahim Islam

D&I Specialist

Read more from Fahim Islam
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