Eliminating Bias and Fostering Diversity & Compliance with HR Tech

by Adrienne A. Wallace, bowmo, Inc.

Here is a bold statement: Diversity is not something that is needed because it already exists. All we must do is accept that and use our eyes wherever we can to acknowledge that people are different. Bias is what hinders the fulfilment of more diverse workforces across industries. It is also what often contributes to a lack of diversity as well as inefficient and risky recruiting and hiring practices. Whether that bias is conscious or unconscious, the drive to recruit candidates with unique thoughts, histories and perspectives to contribute is limited by the immediate view of certain data that recruiters see on a resume before the most pertinent data that gives qualifying skills. For example, we can make absolute assumptions about a candidate with the name “Frank Huang” and one with the name “Lakeisha Williams.” Gender and race are easily assumed here. When it comes to certain roles, you will then have assumptions about who might best fit based on trends. This is especially true in the Tech industry, many American companies and business teams. Diversity and hiring without bias is a hot topic in the Human Capital space.

Human Capital is the accumulative knowledge, competencies and personal attributes of the people in a company which can be used to create a financial value through an exchange of supply and demand. Diversity, or rather a diverse talent pool and workforce drives financial value and sustainability.

We are very cognizant of that at bowmo, Inc. As a company that supplies intelligent technology for the recruitment category, we know that this segment of the Human Capital funnel is on the front line.

Recruiting is a function of the Human Resource Management category within the Human Capital ecosystem. Recruiting exists to find the best fit between numerous people / candidates and a job description from a hiring manager and /or agency client. The job description manifests from the needs of the company or hiring organization. Only when that need includes diversity are recruiters more deeply involved in the whole Human Capital ecosystem.

The fact that EEOC Directors, Diversity Talent Acquisition Directors and Chief Diversity Officers exist in many large companies is a huge indicator of how important it is to have a diverse talent pool. Many companies will tell you that the more diverse their teams, the more successful their business results. The diversity of thought and rich cultural ideation that is achieved by strong employee representation of women, immigrants, different lifestyles; sexual orientation, ethnicity; nationalities, physical disability and veteran status is of benefit to all companies. Diversity and reducing bias in recruitment enriches their competency about the world and the multitude of clients and customers they may supply to or for.

The Chief Human Resource Officers, aka as the CHRO in most companies sets; should drive the mandate for diverse recruiting and overall inclusion in their companies. If there is a Chief Diversity Officer, they are working in cooperation with Talent Recruitment to achieve this goal. All the Human Capital management professionals will have a stake in diversity when it is part of a company’s values.

Consider the data you collect and filter

Here is an important question: How does a Hiring Manager build a diverse staff systematically without letting his or her own bias enter the decision making?

It starts with the outside or internal recruiter. Responsibility for delivering diverse candidates to the hiring manager rests squarely in the hands of the outside or internal corporate recruiters. Even these recruiting professionals can be biased. That bias can be conscious: looking at schooling and signs of wealth as factors of intelligence; graduation dates and years of experience to figure out candidates’ age. That bias can also be unconscious: seeing an ethnic name, specific address, area code or zip code which indicates race, national origin or even financial status.

It continues with the applicant tracking systems (ATS). Much of the data that fuels bias is found on resumes and resides in the ATS used by most recruiters. Resumes and other information recorded in ATS are the basics — essential tools in the recruiter’s HR technology toolbox. A single search of an ATS can churn out dozens of resumes. Depending on the data housed in the ATS, search terms and the assumptions of the recruiter who filters the resumes, this is where conscious and unconscious bias begins to impact the workforce.

This is the point at which the likelihood the diverse candidate pool presented to Hiring Managers drops due to assumptions and biases about candidate.

Enter bowmo, the technology that minimizes the opportunity for bias!

A potential answer? bowmo, an evolutionary software as a service (SaaS) enters the HR Technology space to eliminate the bias in database and resume searches. The software enables recruiters and hiring managers to match candidates’ specific skillsets to job requisitions.

Human bias is removed and the technology is driven by algorithms based on Boyer-Moore string search algorithm, the benchmark for modern search engines like Google. bowmo software finds the right candidates and empowers Hiring Managers to keep outside and corporate recruiters accountable. bowmo enables companies to build diverse talent pools. The software is easy to integrate and seamlessly matches qualified candidate with appropriate jobs. Recruiters can see clearly, without getting bogged down by distracting and irrelevant information that leads to bias.

The algorithm does not consider or use as fields for matching any candidate name, race, gender, sexual orientation or religion. EEOC data collected by many systems and applications are not data fields for job matching either. Credentials such as role, years of experience, terms of technical skill and sometimes education can be relevant.

Effective business leaders, data scientists and product leaders recognize the power of cognitive computing. The buzz word in HR Tech is “artificial intelligence” or “AI.” It is time to recognize the convergence of AI and recruiting, talent acquisition, and talent development.

bowmo is combatting bias and making this AI and recruiting convergence a reality.

Learning the Way Forward

Social consciousness, intention and action to include diversity in the way that business is created, conducted and supplied is the imperative. This means inclusion is: the business design/model, team structures and practices around achieving results. Even better, this means that a bold and proactive step towards retaining proper counsel around Human Resource practices before something goes wrong and using technology that minimizes the bias of the recruiters’ eyes is welcomed.

Business ownership, employment and opportunity in the U.S. is predominately assumed by white males which are just 1/10th of the world segment of people. This is true in business across the globe. There are some countries that do not have or express as dire a need for D&I efficiency, programming and practice, EEOC laws and compliance measures. Their social history is not marked by as much denial of rights; practices marked by racism, sexism, gender bias or other unfortunate acts that have limited fairness and opportunity to those that qualify as the 90% in need of diversity and inclusion practices in hiring like is needed in the United States.

When a company does not have a diverse staff, lacks facilities to hire based on talent, is not recruiting to increase diversity or has nothing in place to lessen bias — that company is telling its customers that their money matters but they do not matter. The insights and actions of a diverse contributor and worker population increase profitably and competitiveness. If we are prepared, we will understand that driving excellent Diversity Inclusion efficiency is a human capital management function that can be driven by technology like bowmo from the point of candidate sourcing. The business results and hiring data will show social and capital gains for the companies. Profitability through the best diverse talent is the end game.

Important factors like changing civil rights and legal compliance by employers first in their hiring practices, the pace of digital and mobile technology, and the tanning of American and global society dictates that Diversity and Inclusion and minimizing bias is more than a nice to do. It is can be measured in four other functional and areas: Creativity, Commercial Competition, Corporate Social Responsibility, and indeed Compliance.

An engaged C-Suite and leadership at all levels that understands this and has Diversity and Inclusion as part of the core values will mandate that it starts with how recruiting is done. It will be part of their KPIs when selecting recruiters and agencies to hire on their behalf. A company that invest in HR Counsel, training and technology to facilitate diversity and minimize bias is one that has its eye on the prize. Fostering, procuring and using technology that helps to eliminate bias and supports diversity in hiring is indeed a new best practice in Human Capital and one that Tech and all industries should welcome and will benefit from.


Adrienne A. Wallace is the EVP, Marketing & Brand Engagement of bowmo, Inc.
You can follow her on Twitter:
@AdrienneWallace, Medium, or connect with her about bowmo on LinkedIn.