Innovative tools and platforms aiming to level the playing field for prospective minority employees.
Some organisations across sectors, from tech giants to nonprofits, continue to be criticised for their handling of workplace diversity issues. Whether it has to do with bias during the hiring process, or unfair treatment of existing employees, there remains much work to be done.
Further highlighting the ongoing issues, a recent study of corporate America, conducted by the University of Chicago, revealed many troubling figures, including that 58 per cent of black employees believe they experience racism on their jobs.
New ideas and platforms to help level the playing field for prospective minority employees could be part of changing things for the better, and Springwise continues to track innovations that aim to promote diversity in the workplace. Here are some of the most creative and promising we’ve spotted, and we hope these and others yet to be developed can help lead to meaningful change.
1. ONLINE RESOURCE AIMS TO INCREASE DIVERSITY IN UK’S DESIGN INDUSTRY
Design Can is an online resource and campaign tool aimed at increasing diversity in the design industry, developed by Not Flat 3, a multi-disciplinary design collective.
The rationale behind the campaign is that the ethnic and gender stratification of the UK’s design industry is not representative of its customers. According to the company, only 22 per cent of the design industry is female, and only 13 per cent of employees are from BAME backgrounds. Design Can provides practical resources to support diversity, such as the Mayor of London’s handbook to support diversity and monthly meet-ups for emerging designers.
2. DATABASE FINDS UNDER-REPRESENTED TALENT
Grow Your Circle is an open-source database that helps US agencies find under-represented talent, such as people with disabilities, those from diverse ethnic backgrounds, or who are LGBTQ+. The database can also be searched for female or minority-owned businesses.
The idea for Grow Your Circle grew out of an attempt by Forsman & Bodenfors to hire an all-female production crew. They found it difficult to source the right talent and came up with the idea of a database that would focus on sourcing minority talent for use in advertising.
3. A ‘GLASSDOOR’ FOR THE MINORITY WORKFORCE
The Dyversifi career reviews platform allows BAME and other underrepresented minority employees, including the disabled and military veterans, to share what it is like at their place of work and also read the stories of what others have experienced. As its Co-Founder Toby Egbuna puts it, it is “Glassdoor but for minorities.”
Users start by creating a “portrait” — an anonymous profile that contains key demographic information, such as race, age and gender. Dyversifi says this helps others with similar portraits identify with stories that will be relevant to them.
Once a portrait is created, a user can submit three different kinds of “stories” — advice, experiences and rating. Finally, after a story has been created, the user then gets access to the stories submitted by others.
4. RECRUITMENT SOFTWARE TO REMOVE UNCONSCIOUS BIAS
Recruiters and managers are often guilty of unconscious biases during recruitment, with the candidate’s ethnicity or gender negatively impacting their chances of getting a job or even an interview. A UK startup, MeVitae, created software to help companies overcome this challenge by scaling the hiring process. MeVitae’s founders are computer scientist Vivek Doraiswamy and neuroscientist Riham Satti. Together, they applied space, neuroscience and big data technology to advance the recruitment system.
Removing bias from the hiring process is necessary to enable diversity and MeVitae does this with cognitive technology. Companies who have recently advertised new job opportunities can add MeVitae software to their existing Application Tracking System. MeVitae uses an algorithm to select candidates, automating parts of the recruitment process. Moreover, as it uses cognitive technology, it can process information faster than a human.
MeVitae validates each candidate’s score using the web and also supplies the company with its reasoning process. Its analysis takes into account the job specification and assesses how each candidate’s education, experience and qualifications compare.
5. EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT PLATFORM ENCOURAGES DIVERSITY IN THE WORKPLACE
All of Us aims to help organisations to build diverse cultures and promote positive role models within their spheres. The platform offers educational information through the form of news, business insights, inspiring stories and thought leadership.
Users can select topics of interest and share relevant information about themselves to their colleagues. This connects people with those who have similar interests and builds communities who share knowledge in and out of the workplace. By harnessing the power of collaboration, All of Us aims to demonstrate how the right behaviours can be influenced and the conversations that lead change and build inclusive workplaces inspired.
6. VOICE-CHANGING RECRUITMENT TOOL PREVENTS UNCONSCIOUS BIAS
For companies who want to tackle their own biases from the ground up, Interviewing.io is an online tool that alters the voice of the interviewee, so that they can be judged on their merits alone.
Interviewing.io was created as a tool for coders to practice interviewing for top tech companies without the risk of an unconscious bias working against them. Founder Aline Lerner compares it to Chatroulette for technical interviews. To begin, interviewees sign in anonymously and are connected with a top company such as Google, Udacity, Square, Twitch and Microsoft. They then proceed with the interview, with their voice masked. At the end of the interview, the participants can choose whether or not to reveal their identities and take the recruitment process further.
7. PLATFORM USES AI TO WRITE BETTER JOB DESCRIPTIONS
US-based Textio is using machine learning to help HR improve recruitment practices. Its product, Textio Flow, makes it easier to write more effective job descriptions and other communications.
The platform analyses the word choice and context as the text is written. For instance, prompted with “originality”, it composes a sentence reflecting how originality figures within the context of that particular job. Textio Flow and its companion, Textio Hire, also analyses text for gender and/or minority bias. That aims to help improve diversity and make sure companies are not inadvertently speaking past their target candidates. Textio Flow is already available through subscription.
Written By: Holly Hamilton
23rd June 2020