AI is key to supporting women and diverse talent in the workplace

Despite concerns about AI, if used effectively, it can help to reduce gender bias in the workplace, says Nicole Seredenko from DEJI Digital.

Data illustration shaped into a human face

 

As we navigate the changing landscape of workplace dynamics, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has emerged as a pivotal tool that can help in the ongoing battle against bias. Targeted integration of AI can revolutionise the way organisations address bias in their workplace.

At the hiring stage, AI can enable fairer blind recruitment processes when implemented with Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), through the anonymising of resumes and job applications to ensure candidates are evaluated solely based on their qualifications and skills. This works to minimise the influence of employer bias, both conscious and unconscious, as studies suggest that blind resume screening increases the chances of minority and female applicants being offered a first-round job interview by around 40%.

It must be said, however, that these AI technologies should not be used as a complete replacement of human inputs in the recruitment process. AI can amplify biases that may be present in the data it trained on, so in some cases it may disadvantage unique talent that may have taken unconventional routes in their work. Companies must take a holistic approach to implementing AI, acknowledging its shortcomings, and recognising the value of human expertise and experience in hiring practices.

An inclusive culture

Beyond recruitment, AI can create more equitable workplaces and cultivate a culture of diversity and inclusion that transcends tokenism and surface-level diversity quotas. As organisations are encouraged to move away from superficial gestures towards a more substantive and strategic approach to DEI, AI proves valuable in doing so. Using AI-enabled Learning & Development platforms, for instance, can make upskilling opportunities for employees more available and impactful, regardless of circumstances like remote working. By leveraging AI technologies, companies can support in fostering an inclusive environment where all employees feel valued, respected, and empowered to contribute their unique perspectives.

Microaggressions

AI can also detect and mitigate biases in communication channels, offering real-time feedback to employees and promoting inclusive interactions. By analysing language patterns, AI algorithms can flag biased language and behaviours which can help reduce microaggressions directed at diverse talent at work. These microaggressions, such as being mistaken for someone junior or receiving comments on their emotional state, both of which are twice as likely to happen to women as men, have a significant impact on those who receive them. Studies have shown that these microaggressions often lead to companies losing the diverse talent they hired as they move elsewhere to more welcoming environments.

Work life balance

AI also proves useful in more subtle ways that women are affected in the workplace; for one, it can help with restoring a healthier work-life balance.

In today’s fast-paced and interconnected world, the concept of work-life balance has become increasingly elusive for many employees whilst striking this balance is essential in supporting employees and their mental health, especially female employees. Studies have shown that women, especially mothers, experience intense work-life conflict, more so than their male counterparts, particularly those with a more traditional gendered division of labour at home.

Therefore, the proliferation of digital technologies and continuous connectivity that has blurred the boundaries between work and personal life often exacerbates the challenge of managing time effectively and maintaining a healthy equilibrium.

These technologies can be leveraged to restore this balance with AI-enabled time management tools. Employees can then be presented with metrics that help gain actionable insights into their time management habits, supporting them to make informed decisions on how to better optimise their work-life balance.

When diverse talent is nurtured in a culture that better understands their needs, the full potential of DEI training, professional growth and skill enhancement can be reached. AI-driven learning platforms can support in a number of ways, offering personalised and immersive experiences tailored to individual learning styles and preferences. By curating customised learning pathways and facilitating interactive learning experiences, AI empowers employees to thrive in their careers while promoting diversity and
inclusivity.

*Nicole Seredenko is Head of AI Product & Insights at DEJI Digital.



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