“Data Inspires Thoughts and Changes Lives” – How Technology Enhances Equity

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Have you ever heard the term “human capital”? It is essentially defined as the knowledge, skills and health that people invest in and accumulate throughout their lives, enabling them to fulfill their potential as productive members of society.

How companies leverage the human capital of their employees is critical to social progress and, if done right, can change the way the world works. The team at Amazon Web Services (AWS) fully understands this. Through their artificial intelligence (AI)/machine learning (ML) technology, they help businesses like ADP (one of the leading HR software providers in the US) drive fairer outcomes for the organizations they serve.

This was highlighted at AWS’ recent re:Invent conference, where more than 50,000 people came together to network, build, and learn more about cloud computing. One of the learning opportunities was during ADP’s on-stage presentation on innovation, crossover and scalability using fair technology.

Vipul Nagrath, Senior Vice President of Product Development at ADP, talks about how using AWS’s deep learning capabilities has helped them make their software more inclusive. According to TechTarget, deep learning is a type of ML and AI that mimics the way humans acquire certain types of knowledge.

“From hiring and retiring to full-time and freelance, we have actual and real-time visibility into the decisions being made, all thanks to our data,” he explained.

The data he refers to is the power of AWS, which includes gender, race, ethnicity, age, and disability by organization (if there are multiple subsidiaries within the company brand), department, and job level to ensure companies meet their DEI goals.

For example, according to the ADP Institute, 64% of employees surveyed would consider finding a new job if forced to return to a physical office. This speaks to a plethora of research reports supporting microaggressions and inclusive restrictions as some of the reasons why Black employees in particular have been reluctant to migrate back to the office after working remotely since the height of the pandemic.

This important discovery by ADP is just one aspect of how data can reveal insights that can create a more inclusive workplace. As ADP developed its DEI tool, it relied on AWS to provide the flexibility it needed to experiment with new architectures. The DEI dashboard demonstrates the importance of being able to try different approaches and iterate as part of the discovery and development process.

AWS Enterprise Strategist Miriam McLemore shared with ESSENCE that access to data and analytics can help companies achieve gender pay equality.

“When someone says they don’t feel they’re being paid properly, companies like AWS and ADP can use data to substantiate that person’s concerns,” McClemore explained. “When you have data, it’s not just an opinion. Being able to see inequities and make them really visible so people can address them is very powerful. As a female leader, you always want to know , “Am I getting paid like my male colleagues? ” Or for people of color or people from different cultural backgrounds coming into organizations, they should be able to tell whether they’re being treated fairly based on peer data that already exists.”

The data example she’s referring to is ADP’s Human Resources and Compensation dataset, launching in 2021, covering more than 920,000 companies and more than 30 million employees. The company’s DEI Dashboard allows companies to compare their DEI metrics to similar companies as well as to local populations via census data.

“As organizations reexamine their DEI efforts, they need transparency of employee data to inform the actions they take and, in turn, influence the changes they make,” said Bob Lockett, ADP Chief Diversity and Talent Officer. Using a mindset to tackle an incredibly emotionally driven issue can help businesses better identify the gaps they need to bridge.Combining this scientific approach with the arts of communication and culture building can drive real change and set the stage for a more lay the foundations for an inclusive and fair world of work.”

AWS continues to work with companies like ADP to advance equity and expand underrepresented groups in the workplace.

“Data can spark thinking and change outcomes,” McClemore told ESSENCE. “We’re committed to making sure this is possible for everyone.”

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