How Big Data Can Be Your Diversity Ally

How Big Data Can Be Your Diversity Ally

14th November 2018 Off By Vithoria Escobar

If you ask around, most companies will tell how much they want to be diverse and inclusive. Making that a reality however, is the tricky part. This week’s #DiversitySeries discusses how data can help you achieve this!

Ask any business their thoughts on having a diverse workforce and nearly everyone will say promoting diversity is one of their top priorities. Putting that idea into practice, however, has proven to be very difficult. Despite some notable efforts, many workforces remain relatively the same, dominated by white men, especially in leadership positions.

If companies want their place in the #FutureOfWork one of their first steps would be to assure a diverse and inclusive workforce. Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) are today top priorities to global CEOs. Importantly, it leads to social mobility and social changes. Also, it is proven by companies to lead to higher performance and improved bottom line.

How Big Data Can Be Your Diversity Ally

In our last article, we discussed the challenges and measures of implementing D&I in work culture. Many companies are working their ways to overcome biases and are doing an amazing job. Still, many companies struggle on coming up with practical and measurable solutions. We have the issue, the impact, the opportunity, and even the requirements to address it. But why are the results taking so long?

It’s all about the data!

The positive impact of diversity programs, mentoring and so on is undeniable. However, there is another solution that can be key to achieving D&I goals at every level: Data!

Unconscious bias is one of the biggest obstacles to overcome and as we discussed in a previous post here. It can appear just about anywhere in the workplace. Some of the key areas areas to focus on include hiring, performance, management, promotion, and work allocation. Those are strategic decision-making circumstances that are susceptible to our own unconscious preferences. As Business Insider pointed:

‘…when we don’t have a rigorous, replicable set of criteria from which to evaluate a potential hire’s merit, we fall back on our most immediate instrument: ourselves.’

If used responsibly big data technology offers an opportunity for people as individuals and as a society. It can accelerate innovation, scientific discoveries and even social changes. That’s one of the reasons why data analytics is on the rise within HR departments. Among the many benefits, data analysis enables companies to improve retention rates and understand what drives performance. From a D&I perspective, data analytics can ensure that different varieties are equally represented in an algorithmic process. This basic logic can help it in so many ways!

Evidently, if you wish to be the D&I spotlight you should think beyond the easily available data. You must recognize that non-representative data sets won’t lead to any diversity improvement. In fact, just the simple unstructured data represents around 90% of data available.

Can you imagine all the insights data could have if applied properly?

All the messy data can be structured into charts and analysed with mathematics. The task is challenging, but in digital times, technology can be a great supporter. The potential and rewards are huge!

For example, when it comes to a team or individual’s promotion. Big data technology can help you identify any unintentional biases and under which conditions those pay raises are handed out. You can ensure the standards are being fairly applied to every employee so it guarantees diversity and it improves your overall work performance.

Another use for it can be to identify which employees are more likely to leave the company. You can understand who these people are and what is driving them to leave. If targeting minorities or social categories, you can analyse whether diversity is part of that equation. And, at the same time,  you’re ensuring a diverse and inclusive workforce.

Diversifying your Data

Practicing diversity is not a simple task. That’s why using technology tools, such as big data, can work in your favour to help your business truly be diverse. There are a variety of factors that affect people which we can’t always be aware of. Data analysis can reveal biases patterns and behaviors while giving you insights to create a new strategy to guarantee D&I progress.

Data visualization can show leaders where the problem is and inspire them to act on it. Obviously, analytics will never replace people’s consciousness attitude but it can be a great help in terms of strategy and measurement.

If you’re wondering how to take the first step, register with us at Our anonymous profiles help reduce the unconscious bias, matching employees and companies based only on required skills 🙂