How to mitigate bias and break down barriers with a talent marketplace

Find out how talent marketplaces can help you level the playing field

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By Nicole Schreiber-Shearer, Future of Work Specialist at Gloat

From fears that robots will take our jobs to warnings about the dangers of biased algorithms, it can be challenging to separate AI fact from fiction. Yet, it’s something leaders must navigate, since all signs suggest that AI-powered workplace technology is here to stay. In fact, 90% of companies now use AI to improve customer experience and 61% of executives expect the share of roles requiring collaboration with AI to increase over the next three years.

When it comes to technology concerns, bias tends to top the list, with 54% of leaders sharing this apprehension. It’s easy to understand why any solution with skewed results would be a major problem, especially as organizations strive to level the playing field. Today, nearly 1 in 2 CEOs view building a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace as one of their top priorities.

Fortunately, the newest generation of workplace technology takes bias out of the equation. Talent marketplaces in particular have unparalleled potential to promote equity and inclusivity by democratizing access to career opportunities. So rather than worrying about how your technology might be swaying decisions, you can turn your attention to minimizing human bias—which is something talent marketplaces also help with.

What does ethical AI mean?

Ethical AI ensures that the AI initiatives of the organization or entity maintain human dignity and do not cause harm to people in any way. This encompasses many considerations, including fairness, anti-weaponization, and liability. Ethical AI adheres to well-defined guidelines that help leaders differentiate between legitimate and illegitimate AI uses.

Since AI has the potential to be used for both good and evil, prioritizing ethical AI is non-negotiable. When used ethically, AI’s benefits have the potential to become game-changers. Think reducing environmental impacts, democratizing access to career development opportunities, and mitigating bias.

The dangers of unethical AI

When organizations don’t have systems in place to ensure AI usage is ethical, there’s a real risk that workplace technology will cause significant harm, including exacerbating existing biases or fueling new ones.

There are a few different ways to use AI that might have unethical impacts. Some businesses may leverage platforms that rely on tracking or surveillance to generate insights about employees, which violates privacy and diminishes workplace trust. Other technologies may be plagued by bias, such as facial recognition tools, many of which have significantly higher error rates for women and people of color.

Why talent marketplace must use ethically-constructed AI

All AI-powered technologies must ensure AI adheres to ethical guidelines, and talent marketplaces are no exception. The two-sided platforms include a rich data, insights, and artificial intelligence layer that connects, cleans, and normalizes data and integrates information from disparate platforms and tools to create one harmonized data set.

If the AI that’s powering your talent marketplace isn’t ethical, your platform won’t be democratizing access to opportunities like it’s intended to. For example, if your employees’ personal information (like names and zip codes) is fed into the algorithms that your talent marketplace uses to match people to opportunities, there’s a risk that this information will skew the suggestions it generates. Similarly, if your platform doesn’t use multiple matching strategies to look for other potentially suitable employees with different profiles, qualified talent will get overlooked.

4 ways that talent marketplaces mitigate bias

The best talent marketplaces are designed to mitigate bias and ensure that employees have equal access to career development opportunities. When it comes to evaluating your platform’s potential to break down barriers, here are a few differentiators to look out for:

#1. Multi-matching strategies
As mentioned above, multi-matching strategies are a must for talent marketplaces. Rather than just using one recommendation model to identify employees whose skills and experience align with a specific opportunity, your talent marketplace should employ additional matching strategies that look for potentially suitable employees with a different profile type. That way, your platform is intrinsically promoting the diversity of candidates as a result of its design by avoiding the over-recommendation of a single profile type.

#2. Exploring candidates outside of targets
The best talent marketplaces take diversifying your candidate slate to the next level. As the system tries out different matching strategies, it will recommend candidates that the original matching models would not target. By studying how hiring managers react to these “unlikely” candidates, your platform will keep discovering new meaningful attributes and profile types that were not covered before.

#3. A commitment to transparency and D&I
Like any type of ethical AI, your talent marketplace should adhere to well-defined guidelines that spell out whether data is being used in a moral way. The most impactful guidelines will include transparency as a principle, ensuring their systems provide context so leaders can understand why internal candidates have been selected as potential matches. Similarly, diversity and inclusion should be woven into your talent marketplace’s guidelines for ethical AI. The potential for bias and prejudice should be acknowledged and teams should be diverse and inclusive so that a wide array of unique perspectives and experiences are taken into account.

#4. Recommendations, not decisions
The matches that your talent marketplace generates should be viewed as recommendations, rather than final decisions. Suggestions aren’t written in stone; instead, they’re meant to equip leaders with insights and open their eyes to qualified internal talent that may have once been overlooked. Ultimately, it’s up to your stakeholders to ensure that talent management decisions align with your organization’s own standards for equity and inclusivity. Talent marketplaces are just a powerful tool that enables organizations to take their commitment to leveling the playing field one step further.

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