Unconscious bias is pervasive in many companies across all industries. It's something that's ingrained in our very nature as human beings. Most of us are unaware we harbor prejudices against different groups—hence the “unconscious” element. These biases can not only harm those they are directed against. They can also harm organizations by limiting diversity and inclusiveness and the power inclusion has to spur innovation.
Recognizing these challenges, companies have been developing several technologies to help combat unconscious bias in the hiring process. In an article for Fast Company, Lars Schmidt and George LaRocque provide several examples.
Gender Decoder (free)—Chrome browser extension that reduces gender bias in job descriptions and ads.
Unbiasify (free) —Chrome extension that hides names and profile photos on social networks.
Cultivate—An app for the G Suite, Office 365, Slack and Skype that provides guidance on language and tone of messages and then provides “inclusion analytics” for individuals or teams.
Greenhouse—Hiring platform with an inclusion product that manages the data that gets exposed to recruiters in order to remove bias.
Pymetrics—Through AI and algorithmic matching, identifies traits of a company’s top performers to create a profile of high performers and then presents recommendations based on top-performing trait alignment.
Small Improvements—Feedback and performance appraisal tool that help guide managers on team conversations.
Textio—Augments the text in recruiting communications to both reduce bias and increase inclusive conversations.
Vervoe—Aimed at reducing bias and expanding the candidate pool. It takes all prospective clients through a “job trial” to test skills across four dimensions, after which qualified candidates are presented based on their merits for the open position.
These technologies may help mitigate the impacts of implicit bias in the hiring process, but as Schmidt and LaRocque point out, "technology alone won't solve your diversity challenges. It takes sustained work, commitment, and organizational alignment to create an inclusive environment."
Moreover, hiring is just part of the problem, and most of these tools are exclusively focused on the hiring process. No matter how diverse your staff is, you won't reap the benefits of that diversity if you aren't also being inclusive of that diversity. That means bringing members from diverse groups into your organization and then seeking out their opinions and helping them rise to levels of increasing authority.
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