Human Resource Outsourcing

How big data and AI can foster more inclusive workspace

The subject of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) has seen considerable traction across various domains, especially in businesses. Organisations recognise the value of creating diverse and inclusive environments that empower all, irrespective of gender, ethnicity, ability, and neurodiversity. As organisations focus on ensuring that they hear the opinions missing from important conversations, they have discovered that DEI is highly beneficial for financial performance. More varied perspectives elevate the work discourse and fuel more creative and impactful business decisions. Planned and continued initiatives to encourage DEI are crucial for innovation and growth.

Several global studies show the connection between organisational diversity and improved financial performance. Research from the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) puts the loss linked to current levels of gender discrimination globally at around 12 trillion US dollars. DEI is now a source of competitive advantage and a key growth enabler, making it a business and economic imperative.

How can organisations progress toward the DEI goals they have envisioned? Timely, relevant, and actionable data can be a solid foundation for implementing a concrete DEI strategy. Big data is the fuel that powers AI-based analytics and insights. AI has great potential in fostering DEI if designed with careful choices of data and algorithmic features. AI can detect potential biases, even unconscious biases that are unintentional and not easily identified.

Equal access starts with equal awareness of opportunities. Increasing the awareness of opportunities among job-seekers through AI tools that interact with candidates and match openings with skills helps improve talent pool diversity. Smart review tools can pinpoint bias in job listings and underline biased language. They can also suggest tone, voice, and other features to appeal to as many skilled candidates as possible.

Research indicates that women only apply if they feel proficient in all the mentioned skills. AI can determine the necessary skills for a role and ensure that only the critical skills are stated, indirectly encouraging more women to apply. A trained algorithm can remove or replace indicators of age, gender, or ethnicity in resumes or applications to eliminate bias. Tools provide bias-free applicant ranking based only on the qualification, skill, and experience.

AI-enabled solutions can detect instances of bias and discrimination during appraisals, promotions, awards, and terminations. Organisations can take timely mitigative action to address such cases of adverse impact. Career path progress, unimpeded by bias, will go a long way in enhancing DEI. As diverse talent rises in the organisation, their concerns will have a larger platform, and their voices will have better access to leadership.

Using pattern recognition and natural language processing (NLP), AI solutions can analyse employee project experience, training data, and roles to match employees with vacant roles within the organisation. The AI tool can then send these suggestions to the person responsible for filling the vacant position. It improves inclusion by listing skilled employees who are either unaware of the vacancy or do not consider themselves visible enough to be a probable choice.
AI-driven personalised development programs can drive learning based on employees' skill levels, role requirements, and individual career aspirations. The customisation allows employees to build their skills per their career goals and creates a level playing field for growth within the organisation. AI-enabled learning can play an essential role in promoting equity and employee engagement.

AI can make workplaces more inclusive for people with disabilities through accessibility tools. AI-generated captions and transcripts help people with hearing impairment be an equal part of all workplace events. Voice assistance for device control allows touch-free work activities like email and document-writing. AI-based sentiment analysis tools can help neurodiverse people understand the tone and emotion behind the words in workplace correspondence. Neurodiverse people who take words literally often feel a sense of exclusion and otherness due to their inability to read between the lines. Such a tool can be a game-changer in instilling a sense of belonging.

DEI should be a priority for any leader or employee. With AI, organisations now have data-driven analysis to pinpoint bias and inequity and tools to prevent a recurrence. DEI can no longer be an annual initiative or a one-time campaign. It needs to be woven into the fabric of everyday interactions and work processes. Empathetic leadership is the critical factor for this transformation. Every leader should believe in the value of belonging and use their influence to ensure they hear all voices.

* For organizations on the digital transformation journey, agility is key in responding to a rapidly changing technology and business landscape. Now more than ever, it is crucial to deliver and exceed on organizational expectations with a robust digital mindset backed by innovation. Enabling businesses to sense, learn, respond, and evolve like a living organism, will be imperative for business excellence going forward. A comprehensive, yet modular suite of services is doing exactly that. Equipping organizations with intuitive decision-making automatically at scale, actionable insights based on real-time solutions, anytime/anywhere experience, and in-depth data visibility across functions leading to hyper-productivity, Live Enterprise is building connected organizations that are innovating collaboratively for the future.

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