Viewpoint: New Tools for Diversity and Inclusion Arrive

Companies create methods for developing ‘citizenship’ in all employees

By Josh Bersin Jun 27, 2017
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I've been following the HR technology market for almost 20 years, and it never ceases to amaze me. Today we are in one of the most innovative cycles I have ever seen, with hundreds of new companies funded by more than $3 billion in venture capital invested over the last three years, according to a CB Insights research report on HR technology investments.

Where is all this investment going?

Much is going into a new breed of people management tools, most designed to improve and optimize the radically changing organizations we work in today. We network more, operate globally and work in teams. The hierarchy we designed years ago still exists on paper, but most employees now function in smaller workgroups. And we spend time on projects, services and customer engagements that feel more like consulting projects and less like "jobs" than ever before. More of our tasks are automated, and that prompts us to become more social, more adaptable and more facile with technology than ever.

Think about the typical sales or customer service person. This employee deals with a myriad of people and business issues each day; he or she must maintain positive relationships and empathy for others, learn to use many online systems, and constantly leverage others to get their work done. You've probably just realized those facets are part of many of today's jobs. None of us operates as an island, so our ability to share information, enlist the help of others and build relationships is now central to our success.


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This new way of working, operating in a cohesive network-based team of teams, demands a new focus on inclusion, diversity and what I now call citizenship. When you ask someone for help, will they call you back and, if so, will they give you their best? When someone from a different department, country or age bracket asks you for help, will you take the time to listen to him or her and help, even though it may not be in your job description? As we source and recruit new people, are we able to look outside our comfort zone and attract smart, ambitious people of different ages, genders and nationalities? And when it's time for a promotion, job change or new assignment, are we open, inclusive and fair about who gets the best opportunity?

All of these concepts fall into the category of inclusion, diversity and citizenship—and they grew in importance by almost 50 percent this year, according to the 2017 Deloitte Human Capital Trends report. The HR tech marketplace has responded with new methods to meet this demand.

New Work, New Tools

Today you can find a wide variety of new instruments designed to source people in a more neutral and fair way (Entelo, Textio, Unitive, HireVue, for example); create reports that help identify bias in talent and pay decisions (Visier, SuccessFactors, Workday, Oracle); and run predictive analytics to see where decisions may be biased, weak or possibly unethical (Cornerstone, TrustSphere, Keen IO). In fact, as I think about the 100 or more vendors I've talked with over the last year, a great number of them have tilted toward solutions that help us remove bias, create more data-driven decisions, and use artificial intelligence (AI) to help us become better leaders and teammates. For example, BetterUp.co, Everwise and ADP Compass now use AI and analytics to identify leadership traits and recommend human coaches to grow better leaders.

As I come back from the SHRM 2017 Annual Conference & Exposition in New Orleans—an amazing conference that opened my eyes to many new ideas in HR—I realize that many of the conversations I had with HR leaders and practitioners revolved around how to build organizations that are fairer, healthier, and more just and positive for the employee, the customer and the outside world. I group all these aspects into citizenship: learning how to be a good citizen inside the company as well as outside. Citizenship has grown in importance (read my article on LinkedIn for more details) and is possibly one of the most powerful performance measures you have.

Technology can be used for many things: to make transactional work easier, to provide hints on what we should be doing and to help us become better co-workers. I think this latter category may be one of the most exciting and powerful new markets to emerge, and it's one I recommend you look at carefully as you plan to spend money on technology in the coming year.

 

Josh Bersin is founder and principal of Bersin by Deloitte, Deloitte Consulting LLP. He is a published author on the Forbes website; is a LinkedIn Influencer; has been quoted by Bloomberg, NPR and The Wall Street Journal; and speaks at industry conferences and to corporate HR departments around the world. Contact him on Twitter @josh_bersin and follow him at www.bersin.com/Blog/.

 

As used in this document, "Deloitte" means Deloitte Consulting LLP, a subsidiary of Deloitte LLP. Please see www.deloitte.com/us/about for a detailed description of our legal structure. Certain services may not be available to attest clients under the rules and regulations of public accounting.

 

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