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Bias

Tech Attacks Bias, But Not Totally

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No matter how good the technology, as long as humans are involved with the data, bias creeps into hiring and retention. The result is reflected in workforce diversity — or lack of it.

This is where Meghan M. Biro, Angela Hood and Cindy Li find common ground, each of them bringing her own diverse insights into bias and how to overcome it in hiring.

Analyst, brand strategist and podcaster Biro founded Talent Culture. The company specializes in workplace culture, career strategy, leadership, recruiting and human resources technology.

International speaker Hood is a self-described “serial entrepreneur” who founded and is CEO of This Way Global, which uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to assist employee recruitment and retention.

Li shares views and news on HR management, work-life integration, talent sourcing, career development and social media marketing.

They discussed the obvious benefits of building a more diverse team.

“There are so many documented benefits of hiring diverse employees. Innovation, faster growth, better performance … the list goes on,” Biro said. “If your hiring is biased and you’re not building a diverse team, there are major downsides.

“When you build a team based on what I call ‘people in 3D’ — not just lines on a resume — your organization becomes stronger, more empathetic and more resilient,” she said.

Hood added that as bias creeps in, “a lot of organizations are missing out on talent.”

“A diverse team can combine different experiences, backgrounds, perspectives and insights into the workplace,” Li said. “When working toward solving a problem, it’ll be beneficial to have this advantage to come up with a more well-rounded solution with different options.”

Gradually, they see bias being squeezed out of the hiring process.

“I am so excited about the changes we’re seeing in hiring at companies all around us,” Biro said. “For instance, Microsoft is making a big change — a private feedback process that hides your colleagues’ feedback on a candidate.

Bias

“We are all susceptible to bias, and we’re swayed by our co-workers’ opinions,” she said. “Limiting that kind of bias in the hiring process is a game-changer. Before you roll out AI or a fancy new tool, ask yourself: Are our basic hiring processes breeding bias?”

Understand the challenge

Tech can help solve the problem, but it’s not the first step.

“Diverse data from over 3,000 diverse groups has helped us really see people in a new, a better light,” Hood said. “Once people accept that we all have biases, then tech can help them take the next steps toward a more diverse workforce and the benefits it brings.”

Regardless of the temptation to lay back, recruiters must assert themselves in the system.

“Don’t rely solely on automated processes to filter resumes by hunting down keywords,” Li said. “These methods are helpful for sorting through massive applications, but it’s worthwhile to take time where possible to join in the initial screening process.”

AI is on the horizon waiting to make a difference.

“Right now, it’s often the best resume-writers who get the job,” Biro said. “AI will help us focus on the skills that are actually relevant for the role.”

Hood noted in her podcast with Biro that candidates also have bias, along with other “aha moments.”

“Who wants to read paper maps while driving?” Hood said. “One day very soon we will all look back and wonder why it took us so long to stop reading resumes manually. As people we need to spend time talking to talent and not processing thousands of resumes.”

That might help everyone from leaning on tech to eliminate bias.

“AI can help out a lot in the areas of data management and customer service for both clients and candidates,” Li said. “Tech will become an important work partner to ease massive workloads off recruiters so more time can be spent on the actual hiring selections.”

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Jim Katzaman
Jim Katzaman is a manager at Largo Financial Services. A writer by trade, he graduated from Lebanon Valley College, Pennsylvania, with a Bachelor of Arts in English. He enlisted in the Air Force and served for 25 years in public affairs – better known in the civilian world as public relations. He also earned an Associate’s Degree in Applied Science in Public Affairs. Since retiring, he has been a consultant and in the federal General Service as a public affairs specialist. He also acquired life and health insurance licenses, which resulted in his present affiliation with Largo Financial Services. In addition to expertise in financial affairs, he gathers the majority of his story content from Twitter chats. This has led him to publish about a wide range of topics such as social media, marketing, sexual harassment, workplace trends, productivity and financial management. Medium has named him a top writer in social media.

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