When I meet with customers to talk about HR technology and its place in diversity and inclusion, the conversation quickly floats to analytics.  For decades we have been measuring our workforce, our salary equity, and other programs to slice by demographic and look for problems we can kaizen.  This type of measurement is critical to understanding the problem and measuring the success of the programs put into place to change our organizations, but I would argue we can do more.

What if HR technology could help detect and prevent the bias before it happens?  What if you could have an automated coach guiding you as you make decisions about performance, calibration, recruiting and selection, or compensation? 

One area of research into the limiting impact of unconscious bias, is in the recruiting space.  Machine learning technology provides us the ability to learn from our past actions and identify risky behavior before it occurs.  Are your job descriptions using language that could inadvertently discourage a diverse applicant pool?  Are you using the best possible job boards to attract a broad range of candidates?  We can move beyond just identification to suggesting smart alternatives so the end users have the right actions in front of them, making it easy to implement.

This new type of enterprise tool  also provides us the ability to identify risk and facilitate objective conversations that otherwise might not have occurred.  Are you giving a low performance score to someone who was on leave this year?  Are you measuring someone’s potential as low because they recently had a child or have taken leave to care for a family member? The power of an integrated suite allows you to look across the talent management lifecycle to identify where there is risk, and potentially subjective bias.


The time has come to move beyond looking in the rear view mirror.  HR Technology should help prevent bias before it occurs by guiding our decisions. This kind of cultural change can only happen if tools are created that keep it simple to make the right objective, impact-driven decisions. It’s time to raise the bar.


Join me at SuccessConnect 2016 where we’ll talk more about how technology can help your organization with inclusion.

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