So what's been happening in the D&I tech space since our last check-in? Lots!
This is one of the fastest-growing tech areas today – with some existing vendors adding capabilities and tools focused on D&I to existing platforms, while solutions from new vendors pop up just as quickly. At the same time, issues surrounding bias continue to heat up as do the mounting concerns globally about data privacy and breaches. In the midst of all this, the human element remains at the center – and this article takes a look at the latest, and what organizations need to know to navigate these technologies and deal appropriately with their people.
The end of 2019: What's happened in the last 6 months?
It’s that time of the year again when we check into all that's been happening in the world of diversity and inclusion (D&I) technology, and update you on the new technologies that we've seen or read about in the past months. This is our 2nd update on the good, the bad, and the new since we published our D&I tech report in February 2019. You can read our previous update, published in the summer / fall of 2019, here.
Sexual harassment and discriminatory practices at the workplace continued to make headlines following the #MeToo movement. In a study conducted by the National Women’s Law Center on the recent policy changes related to workplace harassment, the center found that 15 U.S. states have passed new laws protecting employees from harassment and discrimination. The policy changes have made it riskier for employers to ignore or not seriously respond to complaints about harassment.1
Efforts to promote pay parity received a greater push as companies across the U.S. with more than 100 employees were required in September 2019 to disclose their compensation policies for workers of all races, genders, and ethnicities to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).2 While the reporting rules were first issued by EEOC in 2016, it wasn’t until 2019 that they finally came to effect.
Bias in technology, resulting from unconscious bias of product designers, remained a hot topic. To help them solve for this bias, Google put together a product team of 2,000 people to ensure all the products launched by the company address people of all shapes, sizes, and color.3
In an effort to increase transparency for job applicants into the hiring process and hold technology companies accountable for their products used in the hiring process, the U.S. State of Illinois put into effect a law that requires companies to give employment candidates more insight into the algorithms that analyze their interviews. The Artificial Intelligence (AI) Video Interview Act requires that companies must notify and receive consent from the applicants for using AI to evaluate the applicant for a position. Companies must also explain how their AI works and to protect applicants’ privacy by limiting who can view their recorded video interview and delete any video that an applicant submits within a month of their request. The law barely requires any change for companies that are already GDPR compliant.4
Biased algorithms continued to make news. After a study revealed potential widespread racial bias in medical software designed to prioritize which patients receive healthcare, two U.S. senators asked the Federal Trade Commission and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services to investigate whether biased algorithms are in use in government healthcare. The study, which was conducted in October 2019, found that an algorithm some healthcare providers use to prioritize access to extra help with conditions such as diabetes systematically favors white patients’ needs over those of black patients.5
The new: Technology in the market
The D&I tech market grew significantly in the 2nd half of 2019. A major trend of 2019 was the number of technologies that offer analytics capabilities, leveraged by companies for the purposes of D&I. We also saw a number of solution providers enter this space with tools focused on improving overall employee experience. Further, sexual harassment was a dominant topic, with several new solutions coming to market that specifically help companies provide safe and anonymous venues for employees to report incidents of sexual harassment.
Since our last update (in which we identified 18 new vendors), we came across 15 new (to us) vendors that we want to share with you in the sections below. These vendors are “D&I focused” or “D&I friendly” and have identified them as “new additions” below. Additionally, four of the vendors we have previously covered have launched new products, and we have identified them in the list below as receiving an “update.”
- New addition: EZ-ADA helps employees return to work and employers stay compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The company uses machine learning to accelerate unbiased decision-making for accommodations and to issue custom fitness for duty forms for each employee.
- Update: Oleeo, a talent acquisition platform that helps companies minimize unconscious bias during selection process, added insights, and text analysis to their product. The insights allow users to see the diversity of their hiring pool by breaking down applications, interviews, and hires by gender and ethnicity. The text analysis allows them to identify words or phrases used in job descriptions that can appeal to or alienate specific groups.
- New addition: Cassiopeia offers a solution to analyze a company’s data on communications, surveys, and structure to identify non-inclusive behaviors and take actions to address those behaviors.
- New addition: Compaas is a fair compensation platform that offers analytics to allow customers to receive insights into their employee compensation. The platform connects with existing HR tools like HRIS, payroll, and benefits as well as stock administration to provide an overview of compensation policies.
- New addition: Dandi provides analytics to help its customers with their diversity, equity, and inclusion goals by tracking and providing insights on a company’s hiring, compensation, promotion, and employee retention practices.
- New addition: KeenCorp offers a solution that conducts text and language analysis to identify levels of tension and involvement in internal organizational communications. The Keen Index allows the users to analyze the levels of engagement and connectedness within and across teams and groups.
- New addition: OneModel is a people analytics tool that provides infrastructure to measure, report, analyze, and predict business outcomes. The customers are able to leverage the analytics infrastructure to find insights on their D&I goals and efforts, such as their diversity growth rate and diversity profiles in leadership roles and compare mobility and promotion rates among different diverse groups within the company.
- Update: OurOffice, a D&I analysis and monitoring platform, launched a turnkey solution that offers assessments on maturity levels of existing D&I infrastructures and policies, and helps customers plan their future efforts to meet their goals.
- New addition: Trusaic enables pay equity analyses to help organizations understand their pay equity profile and address any unexplained pay disparity. The service also includes various diversity metric views and reporting.
- Update: TrustSphere, a solution that conducts organizational network analysis (ONA), launched its D&I MRI product which allows customers to measure inclusiveness using passive ONA signals. By analyzing both inter-team and intra-team networks, the MRI is able to asses the level of homophily, the preference of a group or individuals to connect with others that share common attributes.
Engagement & retention
- Update: Culture Amp, covered in our original report as an employee experience vendor, launched its Diversity & Inclusion Starter Kit. The kit includes a D&I survey, lessons, and reporting to help companies uncover D&I insights along with actionable tips.
- New addition: People First is a software solution that allows employees to report workplace harassment either experienced or witnessed by them. The solution offers a predetermined amount of time that reports should be resolved. In case it remains unresolved, the report is automatically escalated to a senior member.
- New addition: Spot is another solution offering harassment training and anonymous reporting. It offers a small survey on the working culture of their organization that can be taken anonymously by employees. The company provides an AI bot that acts as a third party between the HR and employees reporting anonymously and passes follow up questions between the two.
- New addition: #Notme is a mobile solution that allows employees to report harassment anonymously. For employers, it allows them to track reports and see patterns of misconduct. The data is stored in the company’s encrypted infrastructure.
- New addition: HRAcuity is an employee relations case management solution. It helps identify, track, report, and analyze issues that are crucial for employee relations. It aims to foster a culture of accountability and provides confidentiality and security for employee relations data.
- New addition: Worklytics conducts organizational network analysis that customers leverage to meet their diversity and inclusion goals. The platform uses nudges to encourage inclusion behavior among employees and drive change.
Development & advancement
- New addition: DebiasVR offers diversity and inclusion training through virtual reality by focusing on racial bias. The platform offers gaming and uses avatars based on minorities set in a virtual reality environment to build and develop inclusive behaviors.
- New addition: Ethena provides a solution that allows for customizable sexual harassment trainings. The programs can be customized by sector and by how much the employees taking them already know about sexual harassment.
- New addition: Fishbowl offers a platform and a social network for employees to connect, share knowledge, and seek advice about their industry and work. The platform works with companies to provide mentorship and a safe space for women in various industries to push for pay equity.
- New addition: Women 2.0 offers a platform for HR teams, leaders, and individuals to access resources and research on inclusion and career development for women. Their platform includes a subscription-based product, The Dot offers resources and analysis provided by the company’s experts that help the customer’s D&I efforts.
Diversity and inclusion continue to be priorities for company leaders; Gartner’s recent research into HR frontline agenda revealed that 82% of CHROs have discussed workforce diversity in the last year with executive teams.6 The issue has drawn greater attention as evident by the recent announcement by Goldman Sachs to refuse to take companies with all-male boards public. Investing in employees through fair compensation policies and fostering diversity and inclusion was also one of the focus areas of the Business Roundtable group as CEOs made a commitment to lead their companies for the benefit of all stakeholders.7
A positive result of the issue coming to the forefront has been the growing focus on not just committing to inclusion, along with diversity, but actually measuring it to truly meet their D&I goals. A growing number of new technologies, as covered above, are offering companies the means to do that.
If you're interested in learning more about the vendors in the D&I space, you can do so by checking out our tool here. If you are a technology vendor in the D&I space and think you should be included in our tool, but are not, reach out to us here.
Appendix 1: Table of Referenced Vendors & Capabilities
- “15 States Have Passed New Laws to Protect Women After #MeToo,” Retta, Mary, Vice, August 2019.
- “Deadline Looms for U.S. Employers to Report Pay for Women, Minorities,” Kelsey Gee, Wall Street Journal, August 2019.
- “Exclusive: Google Rreveals 2,000-Pperson dDiversity and iInclusion pProduct tTeam,” Kaplan, Jeremey, Digital Trends News, January 2020.
- “Illinois Says You Should Know if AI is Grading Your Online Job Interviews,” Heilweil, Rebecca, Vox, January 2020.
- “Senators Protest a Health Algorithm Biased Against Black People,” Simonite, Tom, Wired, December 2019.
- “2018 Gartner HR Frontline Agenda Poll,” 2019 Gartner Head of Diversity and Inclusion Survey, 2019.
- “Business Roundtable Redefines the Purpose of a Corporation to Promote ‘An Economy That Serves All Americans’,” Business Roundtable Statement, August 2019.