5 Reasons Why DEI Software Is… Complicated

Diversity Meeting

DEI software is often more complicated than most HR professionals realize. To help you understand why, we asked a number of DEI leaders and CEO to get their best insights. Here’s what they said.

The Human Factors Are Too Complex for the Software

The problem with DEI software is that it doesn’t take in the human factor. Creating a diverse working environment is important, but not more important than finding people qualified to do the job. Some aren’t qualified but have potential. They could be qualified with guidance. The DEI software doesn’t take that into account either. Bosses and managers have long used their “gut” as the final arbitrator in hiring decisions. The DEI software interferes with that and could feasibly choose a bad candidate that fits the diversity model. 

Legally, the challenge facing DEI software is that if you favor one type of diversity then you’re unfavorable to another type. That could present legal issues if the “other type” has more job qualifications than the “diversity” candidate. One way we navigate around these types of issues is to ignore all demographic components in the first two rounds of interviews and skills tests.

Baruch Labunski, CEO, Rank Secure

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DEI Software Lacks Algorithms to Predict and Engage Culture

One of the many reasons that DEI software is complicated and ineffective is because the information is imputed by human beings, and people are not as inclined to label themselves in set categories.

Too many outliers open up too many opportunities for misinterpretation of already overlooked communities. Software is not agile enough to interrupt how we connect and identify in real world settings. DEI software does not have the algorithmic capability to predict, engage or support culture. The way for programs to work is not to create more programs and software, but transform culture from the top down and create a great environment where DEI is not needed in the first place.

Clarisce Tolston, DEI Talent Acquisition Director

DEI Software Only Works With Clear Organizational Goals

The goals and objectives that an organization sets out should be clear and concise, as well as easily measurable. This is why DEI software is necessary when implementing changes. When an organization doesn’t have robust software, they lose employees who don’t feel like their voices are being heard. They spend money on training that doesn’t really work and spend even more money on projects that never get completed.

For key legal considerations when utilizing DEI software, organizations need to consider data protection laws that have been globally implemented and how they impact how you handle personal information.  There are certain laws that apply specifically to employee privacy rights such as employees’ right to know what information is collected about them, and their’ right not to be discriminated against based on any legally protected category, such as race or gender, and also employees’ rights over their own medical records.

Natasha Nurse, DEI Program Manager, Aspirant

Technology is Not a Silver Bullet for DEI Goals

Organizations need to dive deep into tools to ensure compliance and that outcomes align with their overall DEI vision and strategy. Technology is not a “silver bullet” to achieving DEI goals. Some technologies that automate recruiting tasks such as application review, digital screening or internal referral solicitation can actually have a negative impact on DEI efforts if inclusivity isn’t considered.  

When evaluating technology specifically in recruiting, consider things such as:

  • Does the technology focus on one specific diverse group which could have a negative impact on other groups?
  • Can algorithm results provide evidence-based reporting and data that is explainable?
  • How frequently are results monitored to check the impact of the technology being used? Can adjustments be made before there is an issue?
  • Is the tool EEO, OFCCP and CCPA compliant, and how is the technology provider monitoring and adapting function based upon legal considerations?

Judy Ellis, SVP, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Advisory, AMS

The Software is Ineffective Against Misdiagnosed DEI Problems

If you want to make impactful changes using DEI software, you must first understand your company’s culture and its existing gaps. When you blame a talent shortage on your lack of diversity, you enable a false premise.

What’s really happening is a lack of vision on the hiring side. Businesses often focus their hiring on the wrong criteria, emphasizing specific skill sets or years of expertise which works against recruiting talent from underrepresented groups. Base your hiring practices highlight traits like resilience, creativity and ambition and you’ll get candidates who’ll quickly learn the technical aspects needed to do the job.

One effort companies must make to help their DEI practice is to build support systems for workers through employee resource groups. ERGs focus on underrepresented groups and help create allyship and dialogue that encourage inclusion in your organization.

Mark Daoust, CEO & Founder, Quiet Light

Image: iStock

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