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Placing diversity and inclusion back in the spotlight

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Shelli Gafan Artificial Intelligence (AI), AI

The sheer scale of progression in AI technology has been significant in recent years. Innovative techniques have consistently driven further advancement in many industries. While the technology market evolves, we continue to experience challenges with diversity and inclusion. As we respond to the pandemic and the influence of technology, our approach towards diversity and inclusion must change too.

 The pandemic created significant challenges and transformed our working lives. Another subject that has risen is the necessity to prioritise diversity and inclusion in the workplace. The last year exposed many inequities in society and emphasised how diversity and inclusion fit into the working world. In response to recent changes, many businesses experienced pressure to show their commitment to diversity and inclusion by launching new initiatives that tackle cultural bias and discrimination at work.

The pandemic has stimulated discussions and proposed measures in diversity and inclusion, but many believe more action is needed to translate these ideas into clear and decisive plans.

 A report by Wired Magazine explains that employees of colour within the technology industry believe the actions of leading tech companies as a ‘diversity theatre’. Businesses have made public announcements to tackle diversity and inclusion employees but failed to address the challenges of constant discrimination in the workplace.

Despite several significant initiatives to tackle racial inequity, many technology businesses have failed to meet up to their words of driving greater diversity. Between 2014 and 2020, Black employees at Facebook increased by only 2%, and in the most recent count, Google listed only five Black female executives within their total of 357 executives, equating to only 1.4%.

The power of tech and its influence on diversity and inclusion

 After a year that forced the country to think more seriously about race and equality, employers are increasingly looking for new technologies to enhance their diversity and inclusion plans. According to McKinsey, 90% of employers stated that D&I was a top priority for 2021.

Employers are applying new technology to assist them with the challenges of eliminating bias in recruitment and transforming corporate culture. These tools are proving vital in generating a more diverse and dynamic workplace. Technology enables you to have the insights formed on real-time data, allowing employers to make decisions based on fact rather than emotive plans.

The pandemic has been a catalyst for this work. The acceleration in remote work and an anticipated rise in hiring means employers are shifting their attention towards virtual recruitment, offering more opportunities to expand their talent pool.

Artificial Intelligence can help ensure the recruiting experience is equitable from start to finish. For example, AI tools can identify the language in job postings that may potentially exclude some candidates. The words used can have a big difference in what people you attract to your business.

Once potential employees proceed through the initial application stage, HR managers need to be trained and capable of determining their own biases. This process involves exploring what influences their interactions and decisions. We make choices based on previous experiences, and the memories support us in how we recognise our existing and plans.

Virtual training is another area that has allowed both managers and employees to focus on these discussions more closely. Training has grown into an essential piece of company culture. Everyone needs to understand the importance of diversity and inclusion and have the training to ensure these values and practices are consistent. Remote training provides flexibility and enables people to participate at their own pace.

To deliver long-term success, employers must focus on implementing a comprehensive diversity and inclusion strategy. According to findings from Gartner, inclusive businesses are considerably more likely to reach their financial goals. Studies also suggest that more inclusive workplaces create more innovation and show higher levels of performance.