With the backdrop of today’s social justice movements, both employees and consumers are demanding that companies improve their diversity, equity and inclusivity (DEI) in the workplace.
Recruiters play an integral part in creating a more diverse work environment and culture. There are even tools at their disposal to help reduce subconscious bias during the hiring process. Unfortunately, as reported in Harvard Business School’s “Hidden Workers” study, AI resume scanners already filter out some 27 million people by focusing on a person’s credentials over their capabilities.
The same research found that using AI resume scanners results in fewer applicants from underrepresented sectors of society – despite recruiters’ insistence that they’d like to diversify the talent they’re exposed to, in order to advance innovation and round out their teams’ skills.
Apparently, many AI-powered recruiting tools are failing minorities, and, as a result, failing HR teams and their business objectives.
Making the Case for an Inclusive Workplace
For example, research from Boston Consulting Group finds that organizations that have stronger than average diversity are more innovative, see more revenue from their innovations and are overall more profitable.
Having a diverse workforce helps create an inclusive and welcoming culture that attracts better talent. Employees look to employers to drive change in society, thus top talent will choose employers that meet their standards. In fact, 40% of millennials won’t accept jobs with organizations that are not inclusive.
According to Deloitte's 2020 Human Capital Trends report, 93% of respondents believe that a sense of belonging is a key driver of organizational performance. Backing up this claim, research by Gartner indicates that 75% of companies that are focused on improving their DEI benchmarks surpass their financial goals.
How to Avoid Bias in Recruitment
One of the building blocks of an inclusive workplace is diversity in recruiting; a company’s workforce must reflect its inclusive agenda. And in recent years, companies have started relying on AI-powered software and tools to help them achieve their diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) goals, especially in the enterprise.
Without denying the incredible advances in machine learning and AI, it still has one major flaw: it was created by imperfect humans, so a machine can make biased assumptions. Recruitment diversity models might have been trained on datasets with a built-in bias from their human creators.
The American Economic Review found that not only was there bias against applicants with ethnic-sounding names, but that AI-based applicant screening software was skipping over highly qualified applicants based on factors such as having gaps in employment, choosing to work versus doing an unpaid internship, or working remotely as a freelancer. These are examples of socio-economic bias that largely affect minorities.
To course-correct and cut the cycle of bias in recruiting, new HR tech is emerging that focuses on underrepresented candidates and attempts to eliminate bias against talent that is typically undervalued. One such company, Joonko, self-described as a diversity recruiting platform, has created a pool of job seekers who are ethnic and gender minorities, as well as army veterans. Joonko’s tech connects directly into a company’s applicant tracking system (ATS) in order to help recruiters bring about a truly diverse workforce.
Joonko uses metrics that have been proven to prevent discrimination by holding onto the information of “siver medalist” candidates who are also highly qualified and surfacing them in the ATSs of partner companies for suitable openings. In this way, Joonko offers a dedicated ATS feed, to help recruiters achieve their DEI goals, and it does so by training algorithms for desired results.
Ilit Raz, Joonko’s Co-Founder and CEO, says, “Recruiting teams struggle to source, attract and recruit diverse talent due to common mistakes made during the recruiting process such as exclusionary job descriptions and unconscious biases. Underrepresented talent is indeed out there, you just have to learn to expand your recruitment practices to reach the right audience.”
The Future Is Diverse
Mirroring the public sentiment for social justice, companies should work towards building a team of individuals that come from a variety of backgrounds, ethnicities and life experiences. Finding integral team members that meet DEI standards can be challenging for a number of reasons, including simply locating candidates from underrepresented groups.
Companies with a progressive selection process are great examples for other organizations that want to integrate inclusive recruitment practices. Using solutions that are specifically engineered to help underrepresented groups get noticed such as Joonko can also help organizations reach their DEI goals.
Successfully cultivating an inclusive company culture is more than just recruitment. It’s an ongoing and all-encompassing process that plays a big part in what an organization can achieve.