Angela Rixon

How can business leaders improve diversity with intelligent automation?

Diversity is a hot topic right now and it should be. Let me explain why.

The most successful organisations innovate. New ideas are developed based on different perspectives. Without these different perspectives, you fall into groupthink.

Groupthink occurs when the thinking in a group converges towards an agreed point of view and anything that contradicts that point of view is rejected. If it makes good business sense to create new innovative solutions for consumers and citizens, why do organisations struggle to tap into the diverse point of views of their workforce?

Why is diversity in the workplace important?

One of the most interesting examples of the impact of groupthink is highlighted in the MSCI Women on Boards report . Women on Boards found that organisations with strong female leadership (a minimum of three board or executive management team members) achieved a return on equity of 10.1% a year. Those without managed just 7.4%.

It also discovered that groups of randomly selected diverse individuals, outperform people defined as ‘high ability’ when asked to solve problems. The diverse groups more often make better decisions because they argue issues through from a number of different perspectives.

Study after study shows a notable correlation between diversity (gender, ethnicity, minorities, age, thought processes) and success. The more diverse an organisation is, the more profitable it becomes. Studies show the benefits of ethnic and cultural diversity, with the top quartile diverse companies being 33% more likely to outperform their bottom-ranked and less diverse peers, in terms of earnings before interest and tax.

So evidence shows that diversity makes good business sense as well as fundamentally being the right thing to do.

The impact of diversity on business results is not ‘new’ news, but leaders are struggling to translate that into actionable plans that make a big enough difference. How do business leaders work with their HR function to ensure the best diverse teams join the organisation?

Business leaders need to ask themselves, how is talent brought into their organisation today?

I think that intelligent automation (IA) solutions can make a big difference.

In a typical situation today, a manager will draw up a job and candidate profile – which is inevitably influenced by the existing culture – to identify the skills, capabilities, and communication abilities needed.

So, what’s the problem with this?

The problem is that hundreds of CVs are reviewed on the basis of groupthink – where the manager wants the candidate to reflect their thinking style and skills that they think are important.

There is another way that will deliver a better outcome.

By exploiting intelligent automation tools, you can use a CV selection tool for the initial selection. It sifts through thousands of CVs, looking for key words, phrases and criteria, to draw up an initial shortlist of likely candidates.

These systems are designed by people who are consciously aware of bias and the need for diversity. So the system is gender, ethnicity- and age-blind. It doesn’t need to know names, dates of birth or even formal qualifications.

With more diversity represented in the initial recruitment pipeline, groupthink can be mitigated. Better recruitment decisions will be made which bring new ideas into the organisation which in turn enables new innovation for consumers and citizens.

Of course, no IA system is the complete answer to the diversity challenge but, combined with commitment from the top it is part of the solution.

Are you looking to increase diversity in your workforce or understand how automation can help? Leave a comment or get in touch at enquiry.uk@cgi.com to discuss your options.

Footnotes:
https://www.msci.com/www/research-paper/women-on-boards-progress-report/0806530251
https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/delivering-through-diversity

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