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Author's profile photo Susan Galer

HCM Trends: Prevention is New Way to Address Workplace Diversity

D&ISuccConnblog16.jpgThere’s no shortage of metrics linking diversity and inclusion to workplace innovation and high-performance. Research from the McKinsey Global Institute calculates gender equity could add $12 trillion to the world’s economy. In fact, plenty of corporations have no trouble keeping a running tally of employee diversity levels. What we haven’t cracked is how to make lasting, significant changes so gender equity actually happens in the workplace. Some experts believe the answer lies in prevention.

Erste Group Bank is among a cadre of SAP SuccessFactors customers and experts joining together in a unique Customer Advisory Group to address gender equity in the workplace. To find out more, I spoke with Vera Budway-Strobach, Chief Diversity Officer at this leading financial services and retail banking institution with 46,000 employees in seven countries across Eastern Central Europe. Budway-Strobach views the Customer Advisory Group as a place to exchange valuable ideas.

“SAP SuccessFactors wants to use technology in HR processes to address gender equality — something we hadn’t previously thought about,” she said.  “We can find out what other companies are doing well, and how we can apply it to us. It’s also about using data better. Our Board is very analytical, and needs numbers to identify gaps and priorities so we can make the business case for change. I’m excited about how we can use these advances to achieve more transparency and meritocracy in recruiting, developing, promoting and rewarding talent.”

She said that prevention is just as important. Erste Group has already introduced unconscious bias training for its recruiters.

Gabby Burlacu, Human Capital Management Researcher at SAP SuccessFactors, said initial feedback from the Customer Advisory Group revealed tremendous interest in holistically tackling HR processes like recruiting, hiring, performance management, succession and development that address diversity, particularly around preventing gender bias.

“Having struggled with diversity and inclusion for a long time, our customers are at a crossroads,” said Burlacu. “We are co-innovating with them to help create tools that address their diversity and inclusion challenges. This goes beyond providing the data and metrics. We’re taking a thematic approach across the SAP SuccessFactors suite to make sure all of our solutions are built with bias prevention in mind to help change how decisions are made.”

Upcoming plans include a spotlight on diversity and inclusion at SuccessConnect 2016 in Las Vegas and Vienna. Participants at both events will have the opportunity to network at special sessions with customers and experts passionate about taking diversity to the next level. They will also watch demos showcasing new SAP SuccessFactors features like detecting and preventing bias in job description language, calibration innovations and mentoring strategies. Attendees will also learn how to better take advantage of existing anti-bias features in their current SAP SuccessFactors solutions, such as workforce analytics.

While culture change isn’t easy, providing people with tools to alter existing behavior is a proven transformational strategy. Instead of just having conversations about numbers, adding bias prevention to diversity and inclusion programs could make a real difference for every high-performance workplace.

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