02 May Leveraging Technology to Execute Your Diversity Strategy
The benefits of a diverse workforce and its impact on a company’s overall performance are clear. McKinsey’s research, for example, shows that organizations within the top quartile for gender or racial and ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.  Despite this information, for years organizations have decided the risks outweigh the benefits of including diversity data within their vendor management system (VMS) selection process. Most VMS providers have solved this as they partition the data to ensure diverse information is only available to individuals with elevated access levels. Meanwhile, the data is not visible during the sourcing and selection process. With this hurdle addressed, organizations can now include their extended workforce alongside their overall diversity goals.
For an organization to ultimately make a difference in terms of having a diverse workforce, including the extended workforce, it comes down to priorities. Businesses need to ensure their employees are educated about company values as well as training to help managers make conscious decisions to hire and include diverse candidates. More and more technologies have been developed to help organizations enable their diversity strategy:
- Integration of Diversity Supplier Sourcing Solutions – A significant requirement in achieving your diversity goals comes from sourcing more diverse candidates. The ability to quickly add new suppliers (e.g. traditional staffing suppliers, direct sourcing providers, etc.) to ensure you have a robust pool of diverse candidates is critical in a tight and changing market for diverse talent. It should be easy to add and change suppliers, for said suppliers and for the business. Agile, inexpensive supplier interfaces with an organization’s contingent worker purchasing system can drive more effective partnerships and ultimately attract more diverse workers.
- Job Description Creation – Affordable, purpose-built artificial intelligence (AI) can scan job descriptions to assess language patterns to ensure they are written to attract a diverse set of candidates while appropriately portraying company values. Many job descriptions can actually repel diverse candidates if the language is not reviewed for unconscious bias.
- Candidate Masking – Masking technology ensures that candidate demographic data is anonymized and that candidates are presented in a way so no one can infer a person’s race or gender from the application. This helps to ensure that hiring managers are focusing on skills and experience suitable for the role.
- Training/Certification Tracking – A wide variety of automated training programs can deliver and track training on company values while promoting a diverse workforce.
- Survey Tools – The ability to keep “fingers on the pulse” on the extended workforce alongside feelings about company’s commitment to diversity can help business leaders identify and act upon ways to improve the climate and inclusion for diverse workers.
- Analytics – To drive change and accountability, organizations need to measure performance. A robust analytics platform can aggregate data from the different systems while tracking an organization’s performance across the entire workforce. This helps measure progress and identify areas for improvement.
Organizationally and individually, we have to change in order to meet diversity goals. Fortunately, technology can be the enabler for reaching these goals. Organizations are leveraging these solutions and other technologies for their full-time employees, but if they are not leveraging this for their extended workforce solutions, then they can be avoiding anywhere from 30% to 60% of their overall workforce. This is a huge miss. Unfortunately, many VMS applications require much time and expense to bolt on third-party technologies that take advantage of the many options available for improving diversity sourcing and selection. Others are simply too expensive for many of these third parties to integrate.
Flextrack’s open architecture allows us to quickly integrate with third-party, value-added systems to better enable an organization’s diversity strategy. We’ve built integrations with firms like Textio to improve written job descriptions. Our state-of-the-art integration tools allow us to quickly and easily connect with established and emerging providers of diverse talent. This includes direct sourcing firms and niche staffing agencies. The dynamic, competitive market for diverse talent will remain, and organizations that can connect their extended workforce program quickly and easily with sources and services to meet the needs of diverse candidates will have a long-term advantage.
Mark has over 25 years of experience in the workforce solutions industry. Mark has been responsible for implementing, operating, and transforming contingent workforce solutions for hundreds of organizations worldwide. Mark has also led technology teams that built and managed VMS solutions and other technology solutions to digitize and transform extended workforce solutions