Today’s leaders are taking diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) more seriously than ever by implementing tangible initiatives to uphold verbal commitments. Unfortunately, many companies still lack the necessary tools and data needed to actually achieve their DEI goals.

Through smart strategies, proper training and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, companies can achieve their DEI goals faster and more efficiently than ever before.

Here are five easy-to-apply ways to leverage AI for improved DEI across your workforce:

1.) Tap Into the Widest Talent Pool Possible

AI tools collect public information from multiple sources so that you can access a wider range of talent without spending hours searching every possible source for job candidates. LinkedIn is just one source, but if, for example, you are looking for engineers, more talent data can be found on sites like GitHub and StackOverflow. AI tools can collect talent data from a multitude of public sources, curate them into rich profiles and increase your chances of finding the right talent for open roles, including diverse talent.

2.) Set Benchmarks for DEI Initiatives

When it comes to DEI, industry context is crucial. You may know the diversity make-up of your workforce, but do you know if it is above or below your industry standards? To set reasonable diversity goals for your company, you will need to evaluate your situation and compare it to your industry’s. AI-enabled tools enable you to measure your workforce diversity across a variety of key performance indicators (KPIs) and compare it to your industry peers. In addition to viewing the percentage of your employees from minority groups, you can use AI to analyze how your company compares to your peers by looking at KPIs such as internal mobility, participation in managerial roles, average tenure and risk of churn among diverse employees.

3.) Fix Your Process

AI can eliminate descriptors from job candidates’ profiles, allowing companies to select talent purely based on their merits. These tools look at a multitude of parameters to help identify the most qualified candidate, without looking at factors like names and pictures that could potentially lead to unconscious bias. Taking the time to conduct unconscious bias training can help ensure any bias is stopped in its tracks.

In addition, you need to establish specific diversity goals. Hold your company accountable for such goals, but also set a process to identity diversity hiring “roadblocks.” Your recruiters may do a great job bringing in diverse talent for interviews just to be blocked by hiring managers in the next stage. If you have an analysis of your hiring funnel, you will know the specific stages that negatively impact your diverse hiring.

4.) Know Your Data

When pushing your team to meet their diversity hiring goals, you will often hear that “there isn’t enough diverse talent for some open roles.” This is often not true; companies just lack data. AI can tell you how many qualified candidates are available for each open role, including the percentage of each diversity group. If the pool is indeed small, work with your hiring managers to tweak your job descriptions to ensure an equitable hiring process. AI tools allow you to run hundreds of variations of one job search and recommend small changes in the job requirements to result in a greater participation of diverse talent in your hiring pipeline.

5.) Train Everyone to Embrace AI

If you implement AI in your diverse hiring strategy, make sure everyone is equipped with the right tools and is fully trained on how to utilize them. Here are some tips:

  • Explain to your employees how AI works and how it can help them be more successful in their role. There may be a fear of AI-enabled tools as potential replacements for human jobs. However, the technologies described in this article are likely to empower employees to do their jobs more efficiently and intelligently. Often, knowledge removes fear.
  • Incentivize employees for their use of AI tools, especially for achieving positive results from using such tools. Share successes with everyone.
  • Make training continuous. People tend to forget how to use technological tools over time and become less proficient, ultimately abandoning their use. If you want employees to use such tools, establish a quarterly training cadence to continue to build their confidence using the technologies.
  • Choose “change agents:” Implementing any new technology can be difficult, but some people are more open to trying new things. If you choose “early adopters” to be the first users of your AI tools, their colleagues are likely to be more motivated to use these tools as well based on their colleagues’ success.

Data and advanced analytics are transforming how companies do business. In the area of talent sourcing and retention, AI tools are becoming mature and increasingly common at a growing number of companies. However, best practices for implementing AI tools in recruitment and retention are still evolving. If implemented properly, with the right training, they can make lasting, positive change in companies’ DEI goals. Using accurate data, monitoring the right KPIs and implementing the right tools are the first steps to improving diversity across your workforce. In the end, creating a diverse, equitable and inclusive workforce is not only the right thing to do, but it’s good for business, too.