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In a recent LinkedIn article, I wrote about DIB (diversity, inclusion, and belonging) in terms of employment. I included a quote from someone I know about the process: “Diversity is getting the invitation to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance. Belonging is choosing the next song to play from their playlist.”

As I discussed in that article, companies have invited a diverse community to their parties. They have asked those workers to dance along to the pre-determined business processes and meetings. And the companies have incorporated parts of the diverse cultures, “the next song,” in their celebrations for a sense of belonging. But there is still something missing: Impact.

Impact is not just inviting the diverse community into a company to dance to the song. It’s also about allowing that community to plan the party and create the invitation list—to define and make changes. If the workers are not doing that, they’re missing out on the opportunity to make an impact that could play a significant role in a company’s ongoing success.

DIB must become DIBI, adding the “I” for impact

Just as “pluralism” was the insufficient goal of the 1970s, DIB is insufficient in 2022. The human resources (HR) world is doing that initiative wrong. We’ve been inviting the community to attend without truly giving them the opportunity to contribute.

You can walk into a company and observe everybody sitting in the office and say, “You're a very diverse organization.” But that doesn’t mean there has been a development of opportunities. You can't just scan the environment and say, “Oh, look how good they're doing.” A company that includes a staff of 50% “underutilized” groups may be underutilizing them. It’s the difference between just being there and having an impact.

So, how do you change the environment?

It takes a combination of things, including removing bias—conscious and unconscious—in the workplace, establishing programs to encourage all employees to contribute and influence change, and gaining a better understanding of what each employee can bring to the party. And that starts with recruitment.

I’m reminded of how many symphony orchestras audition potential members for their group. To eliminate bias, they have the musicians perform on a stage behind an opaque screen. In some cases, they cover the stage floor with carpet to further ensure the identity of a candidate is unknown. In the end, all that matters is the candidate’s performance. 

That’s the way it should be with selecting potential employees for companies, although the screen technique is not always practical. And not all candidates play musical instruments. But using an intelligent automation software bot to handle, let’s say, the early phase of screening candidates can help eliminate some of the bias. Take selecting candidates based, in large part, on the school they attended—a common situation.

Removing bias in the hiring process

We all have our biases about which schools turn out the candidates with the best potential to make an impact. But that could mean candidates who are more worthy are left out just because their school is not on the hiring manager’s list.

A bot can be developed with no bias regarding schools or gender or race or background and, just as with the symphony orchestra, look for performance indicators when reviewing resumes or other candidate materials.

On the job

Once candidates become employees, they could still face bias from managers, peers, or even themselves that will hold them back from contributing. And that’s where intelligent automation can help as well.

Here at Automation Anywhere, we’ve developed a talent assessment program that relies on bots to gather information from our people at all levels to help create an environment that supports diversity, inclusion, belonging, and impact. With our company of thousands of employees, acquiring that information manually would be extremely challenging, requiring our HR people to do little else.

On the other hand, bots can handle the task quickly and automatically, freeing HR to focus less on administrative work and more on employee needs. The bots gather data from surveys and interviews, process and analyze the data, and provide reports.

Those reports are used to see where biases may lie that can be resolved, to gain insights on job and employment expectations from managers and their staff, and to review true performance measurements to help separate out, as much as possible, the subjective view—to name a few uses.

Finding the best fit

With that kind of information in hand, we can help ensure our employees are given the opportunities to make the most of their talent—where they can thrive and contribute.

The time is now for companies across industries to add impact to their DIB initiatives. And intelligent automation can play a key role so that employees are not just watching but planning the party for their success and the success of their company.

About Nancy Hauge

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Nancy Hauge is the chief people experience officer at Automation Anywhere. She is a recipient of the "Stevie Awards" for women in high tech and was named by the Silicon Valley Business Journal as one of the "100 Women of Influence" in Silicon Valley.

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