HCM Expert Featured Article

Eliminate Bias, Promote Diversity with New HCM Suite from SAP

September 01, 2016

Bias, gender equality, workplace fairness – these are all topics we cannot get away from. Even as our industries and workplaces evolve over time, there is always a way to improve fairness and ensure everyone is given an equal chance. For businesses, ensuring their operations are taking all the right steps is vital. A new offering from SAP SE will use machine learning to help find and remove biases in the talent lifecycle – from hiring through succession.


The new technology is being built within SAP’s SuccessFactors HCM Suite and includes knowledge gained from customers and experts in the SAP Diversity and Inclusion Customer Advisory Group, and others.

According to the company, plans for the upcoming technology include:

  • Diversity and Inclusion E-Book (available today ) — A guide to help customers optimize existing features throughout the talent lifecycle that support inclusiveness, enabling customers with SAP SuccessFactors products to better design, utilize and benefit from solutions that help them harness the best talent.
  • Recruiting (planned for a future release) — Offering machine learning–based sentiment analysis of job descriptions within the SAP SuccessFactors Recruiting Management solution to not only identify potentially biased language in job descriptions but also recommend alternative language to ensure the descriptions are gender-neutral.
  • Calibration (planned for a future release) — New enhanced calibration within the SAP SuccessFactors Performance & Goals solution to include calibration analysis by diversity rules, including in-app 9-box descriptors and bias detection alerts, to help ensure consistent, equitable standards in evaluating performance and potential.
  • Mentoring (planned availability with Q4 release) —A feature within the career development planning component that will match mentors based on skills and competencies to help ensure mentoring is equitable and inclusive, and efficiently track mentor-mentee relationships.

“Bias in business undermines employee commitment, performance and retention,” said Mike Ettling, president of SAP SuccessFactors. “We're investing heavily in furthering the functionality we have today, as well as in new capabilities across our suite, because we believe technology can help root out and eliminate bias, and promote more diversity and inclusion across the entire business.”

The need to improve workforce diversity has never been greater. A study from Oxford Economics and sponsored by SAP, Leaders 2020, shows that those execs who are taking the charge to have a digital transformation are the ones more likely to have diversity programs (46 percent vs. 38 percent of all respondents) and who are able to recognize the positive impact that diversity has on the company culture (66 percent vs. 47 percent). Also the report uncovered benefits in financial performance (37 percent vs. 29 percent) and overall higher revenue and profitability growth.

Lisa Rowan, research vice president of HR and Talent Management Services at IDC, said: “Given the higher returns that diversity is expected to bring, SAP is on the right path by helping organizations invest in the right technology now. Companies looking to build diversity and inclusion for a modern workforce will win and pull further ahead, while laggards will fall further behind.”




Edited by Alicia Young

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