Recent advancements in the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) have allowed organizations to increase workplace productivity, further streamline employee activities and replace mundane tasks with automated systems.
While the development of these systems has come a long way in recent times, improvements in diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace have simultaneously taken a backseat as company executives jump at the opportunity to incorporate advanced technology that can potentially increase their bottom line performance.
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Now, to counter these developments unfolding across several industries, human resource managers and recruitment specialists are left having to use AI technology to better understand what an inclusive workplace looks like, and how they can leverage big data to make the necessary improvements that can help benefit marginalized employees.
Using AI To Boost Company Diversity And Inclusion
While there may be a cohort of employees, and executives that often shrug off the importance of inclusive workplace policies, a September 2021 survey by Glassdoor found that 76 percent of employees and current job seekers claimed that a diverse workforce remains one the most important factors when evaluating job offers.
What’s more, research by the International Labour Organization (ILO) found that nearly one in four people often do not feel valued in the workplace. The research found that those that do however feel more included are often in senior management roles.
The lack of understanding of equality and diversity in the workplace is often overlooked, and in some instances, it’s only organizations that are shooting themselves in the foot. ILO research suggests that more diverse workplace settings are often associated with improved innovation, employee performance, and productivity.
How can the use of AI help organizations evaluate their workplace policies, and make the necessary improvements from the bottom upwards?
Bias-Free Recruitment And Employee Selection
Recruitment, hiring, and employee selection often experience high levels of bias, especially in companies where teams are smaller, and management can dictate suitable candidates for available roles and promotions.
Some research claims that there may be instances where talent acquisition managers, including recruiters, have an unconscious bias toward certain recruits or employees. The problem with unconscious bias is that it often leads to companies that are less diverse, and less inclusive of heterogeneous backgrounds.
In an attempt to curb unconscious bias in the recruitment and hiring process, organizations can look towards artificial technology that utilizes algorithmic data points to track and locate the most competent employees for available positions.
This would ensure that hiring takes place solely based on the employee’s level of experience, skills, and ability to meet the criteria outlined by the available position. Using key metrics, HR managers, recruiters, and executives can track employee diversity through key metrics, ensuring that their decision-making is based purely on experience, and not on social labels.
Employee Well-Being And Inclusive Policies
The continuous changes organizations have endured in recent years following the pandemic have exposed their inability to develop or implement high-functioning workplace policies that consider the importance of employee well-being and inclusion.
The introduction of artificial technology, including big data ensures that companies can effectively monitor and track employee well-being based on their performance. Using organizational metrics, companies can keep a better score of employees’ level of welfare for all employees, and not just a select few.
New techniques can be better utilized to ensure that bias or prejudice towards a specific group, whether this be based on gender, race, or culture, is less prevalent, and that the necessary adjustments can be made to overcome these instances.
Using such techniques can help encourage organizational leaders, across all business functions, to better understand where improvement in terms of equality and inclusion is needed. But more so, ensure that employees are provided the necessary tools to overcome challenges within the workplace and that equitable metrics are used to prevent biased or one-sided workplace policies.
Provision Of Enhancing Accessibility
One area of inclusivity is the promotion and enhancement of accessibility for employees and recruits with disabilities. In more recent years, companies have noticed that their inclusion not only stretches to create more diverse work environments but also ensures that all employees have fair and equal access to necessary workplace areas.
With the use of data analytics, companies can now monitor their employees’ accessibility to different parts of the company, whether this includes physical accessibility, but also identify potential challenges or barriers that might restrict less able employees.
Technology can now further ensure that companies become aware of any physical barriers that they might have in place, before hiring disabled employees. This would expose any gaps within their physical office or workplace that might need further improvement.
AI-driven tools can now provide companies with adequate solutions, based on the physical needs of their employees, and suggest where a company might need to make adjustments to ensure that all employees have enhanced access.
Creates Diverse And Equal Opportunities
Career advancements and progression is a critical element for many younger employees. Many new professionals often find it difficult to thrive in a company where exposure to new opportunities is limited.
Creating new opportunities often leads to improved employee satisfaction, lower absenteeism, and better company loyalty. With this being said, companies are often slow to adapt and find suitable ways in which they can create new opportunities for existing employees.
With technology and the implementation of AI tools, organizations can now evaluate employee performance more accurately but also make data-driven decisions that can help make a positive impact on employee performance.
Access to widely available market data would also ensure that employers are aware of changes within the marketplace, and ensure that employees undergo the necessary transitions that would provide them with competitive compensation.
This is perhaps one of the best ways in which companies can further narrow the gender pay gap, but also ensure that promotions and salary increases are not slanted towards selected pockets of the company, but rather based on factual data.
Functional Cultural Collaboration
The pandemic may have upended the traditional office environment, however, it’s created the ability for companies to attract and retain suitable employees from a global selection of talent pools.
With the wide-scale adoption of the virtual office and workspace, companies now hire employees outside of their geographical locale. This however comes with its challenges, as language and cultural differences can pose communication or collaboration barriers.
However, with digital tools, such as on-demand translation tools, and effective digital workstations, employees can now have improved cross-cultural collaboration.
These tools not only help limit possible friction between team members, instead it creates a more neutral, and inclusive workplace opportunity for any suitable employee. More than this, it encourages employers to increase their intake of remote workers and create more diverse workplace environments.
Looking Towards The Future
Many organizational facets see companies now leveraging the possibilities of artificial intelligence to create more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace environments.
While this is helping companies to become more welcoming to a bigger selection of potential employees, it remains within the company’s interests to monitor existing biases and discrimination that are not easily detected with the use of AI.
Additionally, recent developments have found that even AI can often be biased and make decisions that are often more one-sided. This would require companies to monitor the accuracy of these applications, and whether it’s possible that it can help solve a widespread issue that’s still too prevalent among companies, both big and small.
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