Can data address the hiring crisis and result in more diverse and inclusive workplaces?

There's a hiring crisis right now, can data address this issue and also aid in the creation of more diverse and inclusive workplaces?

Job vacancies are at an all-time high and unemployment at a record low according to the latest data. The Great Resignation means that candidates are out there, and employers want them. At the same time equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) are increasingly important.

More people to choose from means a more equitable playing field, right? You would think this would make it easy to recruit a diverse group of employees and ensure that there is no bias in the hiring process?

The answer from candidates is a resounding “no.” The Stop The Bias research found that less than a quarter of candidates (23.5%) trust that diversity information is being used for their benefit. In fact, there was a concern that it could be being actively used against them. The research found that key concerns from candidates were that age, disability, gender, being a parent and even accent were resulting in discrimination.

Yet data can not only help us address the hiring crisis but help responsible hirers address equality, diversity and inclusion in their organisations. This period after the ‘Great Resignation’ and during a candidate-driven market actually marks an opportunity to level up EDI – and do it in a way that is good for business, employees, and society.

Tech is not just a case of getting through more applications in the intray, or efficiency, but bringing the right people on board in a fair ways. Vacancies are mounting up and one click applications are leading to a raft of unqualified or unskilled candidates applying. Last year, nearly a third of employers (28%) admitted gut feeling was their main reason for hiring. But around a third of new hires quit within their first six months. Intuition-led hiring doesn’t deliver sustainable productivity or a diverse workforce. In fact gut feel is notoriously unreliable and often unconsciously biased, resulting in a team of lookalikes. First impressions aren’t a good indicator of long-term success.

The problem isn’t that there isn’t enough data. Quite the opposite. Yet it is not always easy to step back from an overwhelming amount of data and make smart and strategic decisions.  We all know data can uncover more effective, more efficient ways to hire, manage and retain the best people. We all know recruitment teams who leverage data enjoy better talent and business outcomes. That diversity data that candidates are worried about was designed to make for a more diverse workforce and inclusive workplace. But many recruitment teams are still struggling.

Companies need to support talent acquisition teams through training and technology to both spot biased recruitment practices and do something about them.

You can’t just start out using data and hope for the best. It is essential to build analytics maturity from descriptive through to predictive through comprehensive and powerful reporting, accessible and democratic information, meaningful insight, auditable and compliant systems and security. When you start making data-driven recruitment decisions, positive outcomes become much more likely, including improving quality-of-hire, decreasing turnover, accelerating time-to-productivity, decreasing time-to-hire, decreasing cost-per-hire, improving the candidate experience, improving diversity, and improving forecast accuracy.

These kind of advantages don’t only benefit the business, but improve the experience for employees. Talent acquisition teams are able to focus on getting a diverse group of excellent employees into the team, who will be able to focus on delivering great work in a culture that is supportive and enjoyable to work in.

Best-in-class embedded analytics functionality ticks five boxes. It is:

  • Comprehensive. You need powerful reporting functionality that harnesses all your recruitment data, so you can make smarter decisions about every metric that matters.
  • Accessible. To make best use of your data, insight should be democratic. That means everyone in your recruitment function should be able to generate reports and glean insights, without advanced tech skills.
  • Meaningful. For data to become insight, you need reporting tools that display data meaningfully, with impactful, engaging charts and graphs.
  • Auditable. Meeting your global compliance obligations shouldn’t be a burden. The best tools should record every click, track every action and make compliant reporting hassle-free.
  • Secure. With Big Data comes big responsibility. You need tools that look after your data, to avoid costly, embarrassing, reputation-damaging mistakes. For every user, every candidate, every report.

It is essential to not only collect data, such as diversity data, but use it in the right way. Candidates are favouring blind recruitment, with 80% saying they believe it would be fairer on everyone involved. Collecting data with an outcome in mind – such as improved EDI – is better than collecting it for compliance. Compliance and reporting alone is what means it results in being a tickbox exercise – which is turning candidates and employees off. Outcomes driven analytics results in meaningful change and can align with an EDI mission for companies that want to walk their talk.

The right tech is a springboard which is better for everyone – lifting people into roles where they thrive.

By Dean Sadler, the founder of Tribepad.

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