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The Drive Between People Analytics and Inclusion & Diversity

Originally posted on January 1, 2020.

Today, we are hearing a lot about People Analytics. SHRM, the largest human resource management membership association, is having its first ever, People Analytics Conference in Seattle in January. HR Exchange Network is having its People Analytics Conference Winter Summit in February in Orlando, Florida.


According to HR Technologist, People Analytics is defined as “the deeply data-driven and goal-focused method of studying all people processes, functions, challenges, and opportunities at work to elevate these systems and achieve sustainable business success.”


How does People Analytics link with inclusion & diversity?


In the following post (click here to article), Building Diversity with People Analytics, Patrick Boyle, Talent Analytics & Strategy Consultant with Dell Technologies, discusses opportunity hoarding and occupational segregation.


According to Wiley Online Library, opportunity hoarding “is a sociological concept utilized by Charles Tilly in 1998. It has been used to explain a growing range of phenomena related to social inequality. It concerns the control of resources, defined in any number of ways, that allow certain groups to exclude others from access to said resources or benefits accruing to them.”


Encyclopedia.com defines occupational segregation “as a fundamental process in sustaining and perpetuating social inequality because occupations dominated by white men tend to offer more pay, fringe benefits, access to promotions, training, and authority than occupations” dominated by people of color and other marginalized groups. Occupational segregation reduces the quality of life for racial/ethnic minority workers, other marginalized groups, and white women. Also, it plays an integral role in keeping a greater share of minorities below the poverty line.


Boyle used the following analogy. If a job opened up and it was being promoted through word of mouth, what would happen? In this sort of situation, it usually is about who knows who and who’s friends with whom. As indicated in prior blogs and presentations, people for the most part surround themselves with people like them. As a result, employers end up getting the same type and group of people to fill jobs. Subsequently, this does not make the workforce in the organization as diverse as one would hope. Boyle suggests if there was a more equitable way of disseminating this information, employers would have a much larger and diverse pool of candidates.


Both opportunity hoarding and occupational segregation are bad for employees and bad for business. However, Boyle suggests that “measurements for occupational segregation such as the dissimilarity index” are underutilized. People apply the dissimilarity index to job functions or roles or job families at various levels. It is a measurement that uses a scale from 0 to 100 to denote the amount of diversity in any particular title or role.


HR Technologist indicates that there are three ways people analytics can potentially help organizations overcome discrimination and bias to build a more diverse workplace:

- Identify existing diversity gaps

- Build equitable compensation structures

- Improve diversity retention


It should come to no surprise that there is a strong correlation between diversity and a company’s financial performance. McKinsey reports that “companies in the top quartile for gender diversity were 21% more likely to experience above-average profitability than companies in the bottom quartile. For ethnic and cultural diversity, the likelihood of outperformance was even higher at 33%.”


Chris Havrilla, Vice President of HR technology and solution provider strategy with Bersin, Deloitte Consulting, states "It's now as much about talent acquisition and people analytics as it is about pure compliance. There's more of a focus on the business criticality of workforce diversity and inclusion today."


The RedThread-Mercer study found that vendors and HR leaders are focusing on three categories of D&I technology, of which include people analytics. The study divided D&I analytics into three types of activities: D&I analysis and monitoring (including pay equity analysis), employee resource group (ERG) management and analysis, and D&I business case analysis. One of the biggest advantages technology can bring to D&I initiatives is improved visibility of data. The desire for more analytics goes beyond the need to make a business case for diversity and inclusion. Leaders want analytics to help them prioritize D&I areas for intervention and action as they often struggle to identify key areas to improve.


People analytics is a new concept but after much research it is clearly vital and one that will further drive inclusion, diversity, and belonging in a positive direction.


- ->Receive 20% off standard rates when using Promo Code: PA_ANTHONY to register for HR Exchange Network’s People Analytics Conference Winter Summit. (Click here for details)



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