How Talent Intelligence Platforms Can Help Eliminate Bias

What’s one of the most troubling challenges in talent management today? Talent agility and the growing skills gaps certainly often come to mind, but behind these difficulties may be something harder to overcome for many organizations — unconscious bias affecting talent decisions. Unconscious bias is so deeply ingrained in the human mind that it affects the decision-making of HR and managers without them realizing it. One of the most reliable solutions to eliminating unconscious bias is the inclusion of a Talent Intelligence Platform in talent processes.

While almost every HR person or manager will promote the idea that diversity creates better organizations, studies show that this idea does not translate into staff composition well. Deloitte’s 2019 study of bias in the workplace today showed that 60% out of the 3000 surveyed employees reported bias in the workplace. With organizations globally spending millions of dollars on bias training, this is probably caused by unconscious bias. According to the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at Ohio State University, unconscious bias, also known as implicit social cognition, refers to “the attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner.” Furthermore, “these biases, which encompass both favorable and unfavorable assessments, are activated involuntarily and without an individual’s awareness or intentional control.”

The cost of letting unconscious bias affect an organization’s talent decisions is enormous. A recent study from the Center for Talent Innovation found that employees who perceive bias are 3 times as likely to be disengaged at work, 3 times as likely to leave within the year, and 3.6 times more likely to withhold ideas. Similarly, being diverse in multiple ways can help an organization’s bottom line, such as found by McKinsey that gender-diverse companies are 15% more likely to outperform those who aren’t gendered diverse; likewise, ethnically diverse companies are 35% more likely to outperform those who aren’t ethnically diverse. One solution to helping us minimize or eliminate unconscious bias is a Talent Intelligence Platform. Talent Intelligence Platforms aim to connect all talent data available to aid objective decision-making in any part of the talent lifecycle.

How Talent Intelligence Platforms Help

1. Talent Intelligence Platforms Use AI That Learns – While many believe that AI tools used in HR may have flaws, these flaws can be addressed. This is because AI used in Talent Intelligence Platforms can be designed and taught to meet certain specifications and improves itself as it is used. Top vendors in the Talent Intelligence space have already implemented design principles for making AI in HR ethical and fair. For example, the AI deployed should be designed to be audited, and the bias found in it can be removed. An AI audit should function just like the safety testing of a new car before someone drives it. If standards are not met, the defective technology must be fixed before it is allowed into production.

2. Talent Intelligence Platforms Cover The Entire Employee/Candidate Pool – Certain tools that can be used to maintain objectivity are too expensive to scale across the organization or exclusive to either talent acquisition or management. A Talent Intelligence Platform aims to make its use scalable without being too costly and also to have functionalities across talent use cases. Also, only by using a truly automated process can we eliminate the bias due to shrinking the initial pipeline so the capacity of the manager can handle it. It is shocking that companies today unabashedly admit that only a few candidates are ever adequately reviewed.

3. Talent Intelligence Platforms Provide What Good Looks Like – Job descriptions are essential for recruiting and promoting, which usually falls on HR to design. While job descriptions serve as a reference, success profiles are really what’s needed in order to know what good candidates truly look like. Companies often aren’t aware that the way they construct a job description can be the reason they are hiring the wrong candidates or promoting the wrong employee. Talent Intelligence Platforms provide a comprehensive library of success profiles to which recruiters and managers can simply refer in order to select the right candidate and ensure their bias isn’t influencing their decision. Furthermore, Talent Intelligence Platforms can help identify if bias does occur at any stage in the talent journey.

4. Talent Intelligence Platforms Consolidates Objective Data – If selection and promotion into the organization are not grounded in data and hard science, it risks becoming a biased courtship process where certain types of people are regularly preferred. Companies can become known for people who look or act a certain way and they’ll be the ones to gain an edge in careers. Organizations need to spend more time scientifically evaluating what success looks like. They need to gather more accurate information on candidates to better predict their likelihood of success in a bias-free manner. This is why Talent Intelligence Platforms are a great tool. They easily consolidate data from multiple sources to help HR and management gain insights about a candidate that is objective in order for decision-making. These platforms speed up decision-making and also reduce resource wastage by taking away operational tasks like spreadsheet consolidation and presentation making.

While many organizations are still following the traditional approach of manual interventions right from the start to the end of the talent cycle, it is time to consider the use of Talent Intelligence Platforms that use a data-driven approach leading to the elimination of bias. The goal is to have the platform give as many objective insights as possible, that the human decision is full-proof and unbiased.

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