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SAP HR tech suite to get bias-detecting feature

7/09/2016 by Usha Tyagi


SAP, one of the world’s leaders in enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions, has revealed that it is to add bias-detecting software to its HR tech suite. It will mean that any unconscious bias in the workplace can be eradicated easily, allowing for fairer recruitment. It should also ensure that job descriptions meet the criteria for attracting all targeted potential candidates instead of turning off some people.

In the latest addition to its SuccessFactors HR management tool, SAP has invested in technology that will identify possible bias issues so that they can be removed. For example, a new feature allows for HR professionals to identify certain key terms that could affect and “unintentionally limit” the number of people applying for a particular role. As reported in Fortune, even relatively banal phrases within job descriptions could prevent potential candidates applying. For example, the phrase “rock star” might discourage applications from women. Using the new software, HR experts would be alerted to the potential issue and advised to alter the phrase to something more neutral to maximise appeal.

It was also suggested that SAP’s performance review module could be set to receive similar programming. It means that both the diversity and equality at SAP offices could soon be improved, following on from the company’s previous vocal response to such HR issues.

The latest SAP software is likely to work in a similar way to other programs on the market in that it will base decisions on historical data. By drawing conclusions from years of data, the tool will be able to highlight matches between candidate information and job descriptions and, as a result, identify hiring patterns. This is very similar to the way in which Textio and similar applications conduct bias detection operations.

The move marks yet another step forwards for artificial intelligence (AI). Over the past few years, AI has been increasingly finding its way into HR systems, with more firms wanting to utilise intelligent software to focus on diversity and the many other challenges brought on by millennials. A large number of companies want to ensure that they offer equal hiring, not only to develop a particular ethical brand culture but also to provide future safeguards against diversity challenges. By seeking out unconscious bias, this can be accomplished. Now, with a large global player such as SAP moving into the field, it has become even more likely that other HR-focused businesses will make further improvements to their own systems.


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