Data Driven HR #6: Diversity and Inclusion

The case for diversity and inclusion in the workplace is compelling – not just because it is the right thing to do, but because numerous studies suggest it can drive better business performance too.   
It is disappointing therefore that progress – as confirmed by the recently published Women in the Workplace 2018 study - remains slow, not just in gender but in all areas of diversity and inclusion.
My opening words last week in Amsterdam, where I had the honour of being the main stage MC at UNLEASH, was that we must make our workplaces better, fairer and more humane. By ‘fairer’, I was referring to HR leading the charge within the organisation to remove the barriers and biases that stymie diversity and inclusion.
With advances in technology and the growth of people analytics, HR increasingly has the tools it needs to promote and embed diversity and inclusion initiatives, and perhaps most critically prove that it can be a significant driver of business performance.
Even technology has its risks though as highlighted by the recent news that Amazon’s hiring algorithm was perpetuating bias against women in the selection process.
As such, this edition of Data Driven HR focuses on diversity and inclusion, with articles covering research, methodologies, technologies that are focused or have features on diversity and inclusion, the role people analytics can play and several case studies.
I hope you enjoy issue #6 of Data Driven HR. If you do, please share with your network and encourage them to subscribe!


Seven articles covering research on diversity and inclusion, methodologies and technologies that enhance these programs, and two articles specifically related to people analytics.

McKINSEY - Delivering through Diversity
If you want to understand the business case for diversity, look no further than this study from McKinsey. The key headline is the strong correlation between diversity and company financial performance. Companies in the top quartile for gender diversity were 21% more likely to experience above-average profitability than companies in the bottom quartile. For ethnic and cultural diversity, the likelihood of outperformance was even higher at 33%. The study is a treasure trove of information, and the advice offered (see Figure 1) on creating impact through diversity, which includes the use of analytics, is invaluable for HR and business leaders alike. 

FIG 1   : Four imperatives for building a successful inclusion and diversity (I&D) strategy (Source: McKinsey) 

FIG 1: Four imperatives for building a successful inclusion and diversity (I&D) strategy (Source: McKinsey) 

CIPD - Diversity and inclusion at work: facing up to the business case
This CIPD study from 2018 adds to the mounting evidence of the business case for diversity, highlights the implications the results have for companies and policy makers before highlighting the key actions needed to drive change.
STEPHANIE NEAL - How Top Organizations Are Growing Strong with Women in Leadership
Analysis of the diversity themes from the Global Leadership Forecast 2018. The article highlights the practices that support having a higher representation of women at leadership level as well as the benefits of doing so – organisations with more women in leadership positions were 1.4 times more likely to have sustained, profitable growth.
STACIA SHERMAN GARR - Diversity and Inclusion Technology: Could this be the Missing Link?Article | Research
Stacia Sherman Garr summarises the highlights of RedThread Research’s research collaboration with Mercer into the technologies that are helping drive diversity and inclusion forward. The research paper itself describes over 100 HR technology firms where diversity and inclusion is a focus or feature of their product. Figure 2 illustrates the focus areas of these technologies.

FIG 2   : Categories of D&I Technology Within Talent Management Activities (Source: Stacia Sherman Garr, RedThread Research and Mercer)

FIG 2: Categories of D&I Technology Within Talent Management Activities (Source: Stacia Sherman Garr, RedThread Research and Mercer)

CULTURE AMP | PARADIGM - Diversity, Inclusion and Intersectionality Report 2018
Steven Huang summarises the main findings from Culture Amp and Paradigm's survey, which highlights the importance of inclusion and belonging and finds that despite diversity becoming the norm, the employee experience is still not equal. Steven's collection of 21 diversity and inclusion influencers you should know is also a recommended read.
MAXINE WILLIAMS – Numbers Only Take Us So Far
Maxine Williams is the Global Chief Diversity Officer at Facebook and her article challenges people analytics teams to look beyond the traditional minimum confident and push themselves to look beyond the limited hard data.
BRIAN RICHMOND - What Is Workplace Inclusion and Can You Measure It?
Brian Richmond summarises the discussions at a recent New York Strategic HR Analytics MeetUp, covering what inclusion means, how to measure it, the role of technology and what the future of inclusion is.


Five articles on the subject of bias and how to mitigate against it.
CATHY O’NEILL - Amazon’s Gender-Biased Algorithm Is Not Alone
Cathy O’Neill provides a typically powerful analysis on the recent news that a hiring algorithm used by Amazon was perpetuating bias against women. “What makes Amazon unusual is that it actually did its due diligence, discovered the troubling bias and decided against using the algorithm”.

ALIYA RAM - AI risks replicating tech’s ethnic minority bias across business
FT article warning of the dangers of 'bias in, bias out' and that workforce biases in the tech sector are likely to be amplified across other industries and the public sector.

GOOGLE - A new course to teach people about fairness in machine learning
News that Google’s engineering education and ML fairness teams have developed a 60-minute self-study MOOC on fairness. Thanks to Andrew Marritt for highlighting in this week's Empirical HR newsletter - a highly recommended subscription.
TOM HAAK – The Psychology of People Analytics
Tom Haak summarises 15 cognitive biases that are relevant to the work and results of people analytics projects. As Tom states “there is a benefit for people analytics professionals to learn more about psychology and important cognitive biases, because no one is exempt from these biases”. 
GLEN FORD - 4 human-caused biases we need to fix for machine learning
Algorithms that are biased will end up doing things that reflect that bias.” Good piece outlining four distinct types of machine learning bias that we need to be aware of and guard against. Thanks to Michael Merritt for highlighting.


Six examples showing how data can provide insights to support diversity and inclusion programs, and also how emerging data sources such as passive ONA, wearables and text analytics are helping to increase the depth of analysis that can be undertaken.
HROS CASE STUDY – How Atlassian uses data to attract more qualified and more diverse graduate candidates
This #HROS Case Study provides an excellent example of how (and why) Atlassian improved the gender and ethnic diversity of its technical graduate hires.
SUVARNA JOSHI – Measuring Diversity & Inclusion using Organisational Network Analysis
Four examples of how passive ONA can provide a fresh lens to help organisations measure the impact of diversity and inclusion. These include i) understanding gender differences in networking behaviour (see Figure 3), ii) measuring inclusion of diverse groups, and; iii) identifying hidden stars.

Figure 3   : Significant gender differences in networking behaviour (Source: TrustSphere)  

Figure 3: Significant gender differences in networking behaviour (Source: TrustSphere) 

STEPHEN TURBAN, LAURA FREEMAN & BEN WABER - A Study Used Sensors to Show That Men and Women Are Treated Differently at Work
This article describes an experiment that investigated whether gender differences in behaviour drive gender differences in outcomes at one multinational organisation. The results, which combined anonymised data from emails and Humanyze sociometric badges, indicated that bias rather than differences in behaviour explained the differences in male and female promotion rates. These are not only powerful findings that demonstrate the value of people analytics, but they also highlight the fundamental challenge facing most organisations of the need to reduce bias. 
ANDREW MARRITT - Unconscious bias? Using text analytics to understand gender differences in performance reviews
Andrew Marritt outlines findings from a project that sought to identify whether gender bias was present in the language used by managers, and also the differences in the way that men and women talked about their own performance.
ESTHER BONGENAAR – Moving diversity forward | LINDA VAN LEEUWEN – ‘How I did it’: Unleash The Business Power of Diversity
Esther Bongenaar outlines the research Shell’s people analytics team undertook with Erasmus University on diversity and inclusion, whilst Linda van Leeuwen provides a more detailed explanation of how the project identified the conditions under which Shell could unleash the business value of diversity.
JOSH BERSIN - Diversity and Inclusion Is A Business Strategy, Not An HR Program | OLIVIER BLUM - Building an Inclusive Company in a Diverse World
Josh Bersin highlights how Schneider Electric has embraced diversity as a business strategy and in doing so shifted from a ‘one-headquarters’ Paris-centric model to one that now has three global leadership hubs in Boston, Hong Kong and Paris. As Josh outlines, the impact on business performance and growth has been significant as has the speed of the company’s digital transformation. It is an inspiring story and one where further detail is provided in Schneider Electric’s CHRO Olivier Blum’s article.


As I alluded to in the introduction, I had the privilege of being MC on the main stage as 5,000 members of the HR community gathered in Amsterdam for UNLEASH. The show was the best UNLEASH yet and it was a real thrill for me to be the MC - a huge thank you to Marc Coleman for the opportunity, to Leah Narodetsky for orchestrating the show and the whole UNLEASH team. Check out the UNLEASH site for details of next year's shows in London, Las Vegas and Paris.