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HR technology's role in DEI&B

Saturday, December 05, 2015

Making a difference in your workplace

Technology is changing the way we work. From automated systems to self-service point of sale (POS) kiosks, technology impacts businesses more than we think. One of the ways technology is really helping companies in today’s business world is ensuring that companies are staying compliant with rules and regulations, especially when it comes to people management. An emphasis on diversity, equity, inclusion & belonging (DEI&B) makes it even more important that HR technology can support these initiatives. In this article, we’ll look at how HR technology is helping to shape DEI&B and how your business can support DEI&B initiatives through the use of HR technology. To start, let’s define DEI&B.

What is DEI&B?

In the past, businesses were concerned about diversity, equity and inclusion. But isn’t belonging the same thing? Not necessarily (and we’ll explain why). But first, let’s look at the components of DEI&B. 

The first component of DEI&B is diversity. This is about ensuring that there is a mix of people from different genders, ethnicities, sexual orientations, religions, and economic backgrounds working at your company. Diversity is important because it enables representation of everyone in the population to have a voice in the workplace.

The second component is equity. This means equal opportunities for success for each person in the organization, no matter how diverse they are. While this doesn’t mean equal treatment for everyone, it does mean each person is treated fairly and with respect.

The third component is inclusion. This means that not only are you hiring a diverse workforce, but the diversity makes it into the conversations that affect everyone at your organization. If you do not include these diverse individuals, your decision-making might adversely affect them even without you being consciously aware of it.

So, where does belonging come into play in your workplace culture? As you can see, diversity, equity, and inclusion are all coming from the organization without any feedback from the employees. So, if the business thinks it’s doing a great job of diversity, equity, and inclusion and yet the employees don’t feel a sense of belonging, much of the company’s efforts could fall flat.

That’s why belonging matters. It’s a way to measure how your employees feel about how they fit into your organization. Fostering a sense of belonging is all about talking to employees to make sure they feel comfortable and that they can be their authentic selves in the workplace. When you create an inclusive workplace that values allyship, employees are more apt to be themselves.

One way you can help foster this sense of belonging is by the implementation of employee resource groups (ERGs). These groups focus on collaboration and allyship within your organization and can be a source of conversation and positive change for employees.

Creating a workplace that values DEI&B can also be good for business. More diverse workplaces reflect higher revenue, increased innovation, improved decision making, higher rates of employee engagement, and a stronger acceptance rate of employment offers.

What role does HR technology play in DEI&B?

Now that you know more about diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, let’s talk about the ways your HR technology can help further your DEI&B strategy and efforts. There are three main ways this software can help:

A focus on inclusion

The evolution of HR technology is making it easier than ever to track all aspects of employee data. Because we have all of this data to use, we can make more and better informed decisions than ever before. An HR software program can help you identify and remove unconscious bias from hiring and promotion decisions. By taking into account a whole range of factors, the software can then tell you if there are unconscious biases in your hiring and promotion practices. This can give you an indication of where you need to focus and improve.

There’s even a few software tools that can help you keep your focus on inclusion. The first is a software program known as organizational network analysis (ONA) software. This software takes data from a variety of sources, including e-mail, internal collaboration platforms, calendaring software, instant messaging, and more. Then, it maps the company’s internal networks, communication patterns, and information flow. This software can help with talent management and tell you whether underrepresented talent is getting the opportunity to be in the right spotlight for visibility or promotion. A second tool helps to audit performance management data for potential bias. By reviewing performance feedback, the software can tell you as a small business owner if there exists any biases toward certain individuals or groups in your company. 

Talking and listening to your people

It might sound obvious, but the only way to know your employees is to talk with them. Besides checking in with them and giving performance reviews, it’s paramount to keep your employees updated on all of your initiatives to support DEI&B. HR technology can help you consolidate your communications and provide a central hub for your employees to find all of the latest company announcements, standards, and policy updates.

Communication is a central part of an effective DEI&B plan, so make sure your communication is timely and transparent. Active listening, which is the practice of giving your complete attention to and truly taking in what someone is saying so that the exchange between the listener and speaker is productive and transparent, is very helpful when it comes to communication with your staff. Not only will you as a business owner be able to effectively communicate to your staff, but your employees will feel that what they’re saying is being heard. As you build your DEI&B goals and share your key metrics, make sure to provide context to what the numbers mean. That will give your employees a better sense of the change that’s happening within your organization.

Using DE&I analytics

With HR technology, there’s access to an unlimited amount of data. And your HR software should allow you and your HR professionals to sort this data in a wide variety of ways. Measuring this data through the use of built-in analytics or third-party analytics programs can be incredibly useful. Besides just capturing data, the real value of this data is sifting through it to find unique insights that are specific to your organization.

It’s important that your organization looks beyond the surface-level insights. For instance, if you just consider your diversity hiring metrics but not after hire, it’s difficult to retain diverse talent. It’s more than just representation – it’s important to consider gaps in pay, development, and promotion opportunities. If these are lacking, your company will struggle with retention rates. Each of these characteristics provide a better perspective into the DEI efforts at your organization. The more equitable, the better for your business.

Another important feature of HR technology is being able to evaluate DE&I analytics next to engagement survey results. This can help you evaluate all sides of your efforts, taking feedback from your employees, and comparing these subjective thoughts to the objective hard data. Some HR software can even nudge leaders to help build more inclusivity within your organization.

DEI&B is an important part of developing your organization’s culture. As you work to develop your diversity, equity, and inclusion footprint, it’s important to leverage your HR software capability to drive lasting change at your organization. Diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging aren’t just buzzwords or hiring practices. They’re a commitment to positive change throughout the entire employee lifecycle. 

HR technology can help streamline a lot of the feedback loop and communication practices. This can help you to eliminate time spent on manual processes and instead focus on creating lasting and meaningful change at your business. HR technology can also help you utilize data for better decision making, thereby creating a more positive employee experience and collaborative work environment. By utilizing HR software to create meaningful change, you can make an impact in the lives of every single employee in your organization.

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