Use data to create a more productive and diverse workforce

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Exceptional talent is hidden in plain sight. However, most employers can’t find it because they rely on conventional hiring processes that ignore large talent pools of qualified candidates.

For decades, talent leaders have utilized conventional talent strategies that limit their organization’s potential. Fortunately, breakthroughs in data and technology now give employers new ways to identify qualified and diverse candidates, beyond the obvious places like LinkedIn or using outdated methods like resumes.

By using data we can uncover top talent, unlock their potential and enable them to become highly successful technologists who grow into top performers and leaders. This isn’t a hypothesis. This is a fact that I’ve personally experienced both at Twitter and now at Catalyte. I’ve seen the major benefits that using data in this way can have for employers.

Here’s how employers can use data to eliminate bias throughout the recruitment process and create on-ramps to in-demand technology careers for people who are often overlooked and underestimated.

Focus on aptitude, not skills

A first step is to use data to build effective hiring screenings. These look past the skills that someone has now to determine how quickly someone can acquire skills and put them into practice in the future. They focus on aptitudes and attitudes like grit, curiosity and tenacity.

This differs from traditional recruiting approaches where hiring managers rely on pedigree and degrees. One of the benefits of using machine learning or AI to predict measurable, successful outcomes is that algorithms determine which traits are important and give them appropriate weighting. Data and metrics can tell you if there’s correlation between years of experience and successful job performance.

Look beyond the resume in your hiring strategy

Data-based hiring can also replace resumes, which are infused with conscious and unconscious bias. Names are imbued with ethnic, racial, gender assumptions. Lack of educational credentials systematically eliminate two-thirds of Americans without a four-year college degree. Application questions about convictions or incarceration disproportionately impact people of color.

Most of us think of bias as creeping in from job descriptions or during the interview process. But unconscious bias permeates the entire hiring process. Even if you’re using technology to review resumes, that only reinforces unconscious bias faster. This is why removing the resume entirely from the process is necessary if you want to hire the most productive and diverse talent in an unbiased and equitable way.

Boost the bottom line, avoid bad hires and reduce attrition

Using data and hiring screenings not only creates a more productive and diverse workforce. It also boosts your bottom line by reducing time and money spent sourcing candidates; candidates that have no guarantee of being good hires or productive employees.

Data can show you who will be the best fit, who has the potential for top performance and even highlight potential candidates who will have the highest retention rates. This eliminates the potential for a costly bad hire, something that can set you back months.

Using data rather than resumes/pedigree for outside hires is a great first step. But companies can also take a data-informed view for promoting and growing current employees. Internal programs for structured growth and talent acceleration, supported by measurement and tracking, are both socially responsible and economically sustainable. Given that it’s six times more expensive to hire from outside the company, you can use data to grow your own future high-performers and leaders at a lower cost with better results.

Diversity hiring and business effectiveness are not mutually exclusive 

By screening, hiring and training with data, companies can build diverse teams that closely mirror local populations across a variety of different backgrounds and demographics, including race, gender, education and socioeconomic background. This approach transcends individual job seekers, impacting families and communities in tangible, financial terms by providing paths to well-compensated jobs with strong future demand. And it benefits employers in many ways, too.

1. Reduced labor costs

Opening new recruiting channels expands your applicant pool, reduces the hard costs of hiring, eliminates the cycle of poach-and-be-poached and helps retain institutional knowledge.

2. Enhanced competitiveness by filling open tech job needs

If companies can’t deliver on expectations, customers will turn to competitors. According to Accenture, $11.5T in economic growth driven by intelligent technologies could be lost if companies can’t – or don’t – fill skills gaps. Companies can grow their market position with a steady stream of the right technical resources and better meet expectations of a diversifying population by using data to build more diverse workforces.

3. Democratized talent

It can be hard to find top talent outside of the major tech hubs using traditional hiring practices based on resumes. Data-based hiring can find equally talented people anywhere, making it possible for companies to compete and people to find work no matter the location.

4. Increased socioeconomic equality

Following the labor market instability of the pandemic, the difference between the haves and have-nots has been laid bare for all to see. Data-driving hiring can break the cycle of inequality, bring historically underrepresented groups into an expanding industry and breathe economic life into communities full of aptitude, but lacking opportunity.

Adopt nontraditional hiring practices to hire nontraditional talent

Words and statements of support for diversity, equity, inclusion (DEI) and opportunity are important. But actions speak louder than words. This means adopting nontraditional hiring practices.

Data-based applicant review and hiring processes are nontraditional in the sense that they break from the standard “job posting/submit resume/review resume” way of hiring most organizations practice. These data-driven hiring practices help companies identify and root out bias by giving an opportunity for those from nontraditional backgrounds to succeed.

Access more productive and diverse tech talent with Catalyte

By using data and data science to unlock a more productive and diverse workforce, we can strengthen companies and communities. The hiring process can become a force for social good.

Lessening the skills gap and bringing more people into family- and community-sustaining careers of the future isn’t just an economic issue. It’s a gender and racial equity issue. It’s a social and economic justice issue. It’s a matter of creating an economy that allows the American Dream to survive, rather than exacerbating inequality.

We at Catalyte can help you in this process and transform your organization to be both more productive and a force for social good. Let’s talk about how we fix broken talent acquisition strategies and supply you with the top diverse talent you need to lap the competition.

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