If you were to describe what a construction worker looks like, what characteristics would come to mind? What about a forklift driver or warehouse worker? Most likely you have a definitive picture in mind. Bias, although hurtful at times, is present in each and every person. Moreso, unconscious bias is something unspoken that has been ingrained in a person since their early years. However, this doesn’t mean that having bias cannot be corrected. Since 2018 and the equality movement, organizations have started to transform their culture to become more diverse and inclusive. According to research by McKinsey & Company, companies that employed workers with diverse genders (21%) and racial diversity (33%), receive more profitability than companies that are less diverse. Now that we are in 2020, technology has made it easier to eliminate bias in the workplace.
When making hiring decisions, organizations rely on the information at hand and their own instinctive judgment. However, as humans, our instinctive judgment cannot be rid of any unconscious bias. Human bias is a big threat to building equality in the workplace, specifically for recruiting. Human recruiters have implicit biases that are deeply rooted and hard to distinguish. When recruiters read through resumes with bias, they often miss out on hiring qualified candidates that are a better fit for the job. This leads us to the conclusion that although a candidate may be a good fit based on a recruiter’s prejudgment, they may not fit a client’s needs. This can then lead to early employee turnover, costing the company valuable money and time.
Importance of Equality
Why is it so important for organizations to promote equality and diversity in the workplace? For one, businesses must stay compliant with existing Equal Employment Opportunity laws that protect individuals from age, disability, ethnicity, or any type of discrimination in the workplace. Building an equal opportunity culture means fostering your employee’s right to be different and free from discrimination regardless of their color and ethnicity. They can flourish in the workplace despite their own personal opinion, beliefs, and values. Fostering this kind of culture will allow employees to thrive in their roles, knowing that their workplace is fair, positive, and progressive. The practice of equality should be present throughout the recruitment process. From the first step, one must be treated equally as an individual, with no judgments based on stereotypes. Furthermore, an equal and diverse approach to workforce management allows organizations to hire the best candidate on merit alone, free from bias based on age, disability, gender, race, etc.
How AI can help
Hiring bias, unfortunately, comes with being human. Having biases is innate to humans, with certain predispositions being a result of what we were exposed to growing up. Although an unconscious bias may be hard to distinguish and at times can be harmless, it can become a hindrance when hiring people. So, how can we avoid this problem altogether? By taking out the human function completely with the help of Artificial Intelligence. Over the years, AI has been adopted by various industries, most specifically HR. By using AI algorithms, organizations are able to intelligently automate candidate selection without the need for human intervention and bias. The AI program serves as a tool that is gender-neutral, trained to source candidates by going through various information and ignoring anything that might trigger biased decisions. The result? A pool of diverse and worthy applicants that are a perfect fit based on merit and nothing else.
AI Beyond Recruiting
The use of artificial intelligence goes beyond resume selection. By using artificial intelligence, organizations can lead candidates through a recruiting funnel that will give them a better experience. Certain AI tools use chatbots to address candidate questions in real-time and can also be quite valuable during the interview process. AI-powered tools for LinkedIn study found that 76% of hiring managers believe AI will be important in the future. From recruiting to onboarding, artificial intelligence is without a doubt elevating the capabilities of HR.