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Employers Neglect Gender Equity, Seek Smarter Management of Contingent Workers & More HR Tech News

March 10, 2021 Digital Workplace
Mark Feffer
By Mark Feffer

Despite increased awareness of gender diversity issues and the continued challenges facing women at work during the COVID-19 pandemic, 70% of global businesses don’t regard gender equity to be a top priority.

In fact, a study by Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM’s Institute for Business Value found that the leadership pipeline for women is shrinking, with fewer women holding positions as senior vice presidents, vice presidents, directors and managers than did when similar research was published in 2019.

Employees are fatigued and losing optimism because of ineffective efforts to address gender equity, the survey said. Only 62% of women (down 9 percentage points from 2019) and 60% of men (down 7 points) expect their organization to significantly improve gender parity over the next five years.

That comes despite the fact that more companies are launching programs designed to boost equity and inclusion, including gender-blind job screenings and parental leave for women. The study suggests these efforts haven’t translated to better outcomes, in part because mindsets and cultures haven’t changed enough. For example, fewer respondents from organizations in both surveys agreed that senior executives openly challenge gender-biased behaviors and language.

Eleven percent of the organizations surveyed, called “first movers,” make the advancement of women a formal business priority, view gender-inclusivity as a driver of financial performance and are highly motivated to take action. These organizations self-reported stronger financial performance, as well as stronger customer and employee satisfaction than others, IBM said.

The survey’s authors suggest including gender equity among the company’s top five business priorities and following through with specific actions related to the pandemic, such as training programs for professionals who’ve been out of work for extended periods of time and offering benefits like backup childcare or access to mental health resources. It also recommends fostering increased inclusivity, encouraging HR to champion inclusion, and incorporating accountability into business and individual goals.

“The data show that many women leaders are experiencing challenges at this moment. If these issues are not addressed more deeply than in prior years, there is a risk of progress backsliding further,” said IBM Senior Vice President Bridget van Kralingen.

Meanwhile, several vendors moved to strengthen their capabilities around diversity:

  • Qualtrics released Qualtrics DEI, a solution to help organizations uncover insights about internal diversity and help them drive change. Qualtrics DEI uses best practices and a validated model to measure drivers of inclusion across the entire employee experience. In addition, the company announced a partnership with Korn Ferry to combine its cloud solution with the consulting firm’s D&I expertise.
  • HireVue expanded its relationship with the Science of Diversity and Inclusion Initiative as an Innovation Partner. Through the collaboration, HireVue will work with SODI on a number of research-based initiatives aimed at addressing diversity, equity and inclusion problems in hiring. HireVue said the partnership will result in research that is “concrete, actionable and scalable for HR leaders.”

Paycor Adds Performance Management

Cincinnati-based Paycor launched a performance management module that emphasizes coaching and continuous employee development. The product, Paycor Talent Development, is designed to “create the right level of focus” among employees as a way to improve business outcomes and align the workforce with company priorities.

Paycor believes the challenges of 2020 have forced managers to seek new ways of approaching performance discussions. It describes Talent Development as a low-touch platform that supports performance management with automated workflows. Key features include:

  • 1:1s facilitate continuous conversation between managers and employees and keep everyone focused on their top priorities.
  • Feedback improves communication with peers, teams and management to encourage engagement, self-improvement and team development.
  • Employee Ratings use a 9-box grid to visualize individual performance and develop coaching strategies.
  • OKRs/Goals presents aligned objectives and key results to aid in the alignment of priorities.
  • Performance Reviews pulls data from 1:1s, feedback and goals to facilitate reviews based on historical performance data.

In October 2020, Paycor acquired 7Geese, which provides goal-setting and performance management solutions. Talent Development was developed “in conjunction” with the acquisition, the company said.

Other companies have been developing new performance management solutions, as well. In February, ADP launched a customized coaching tool for its StandOut engagement and performance platform, allowing it to integrate customized insights into conversations between employees and managers. Also, Oracle NetSuite added a new performance management application to SuitePeople. 

Beeline Expands ‘Extended Workforce’ Platform

Vendor management system provider Beeline introduced an “extended workforce platform” to help businesses manage their contingent workforce.

The platform takes an approach that’s less spend-focused and more “talent-centric and intelligence-driven,” the Jacksonville, Fla., company said. In addition, the platform’s designed around the specific dynamics of managing an external workforce.

“The evolution of external workforce management demands a technology partner built for today’s reality,” said Beeline CEO Doug Leeby. The new platform “goes beyond the typical benefits of a VMS” to optimize external talent, leverage data and connect with the contingent talent already in a company’s network, he said.

Essentially, the platform has VMS functionality at its center, then adds layers of “intelligence, connectivity and experience” to help manage external workers. 

The platform also includes features that leverage Beeline’s data set of more than 30 million workers and over $700 billion in talent spend over some 20 years. The platform pairs this with real-time intelligence to offer analytics that can be used to optimize external workforce programs.

Matt Norton, global workforce solutions manager at Staffing Industry Analysts, said the platform’s launch indicates that the term “vendor management system becoming an increasingly narrow description for the breadth and depth of available solutions.”

Product News

Indeed launched a toolset that allows employers to manage their hiring process directly on the job board’s platform, without the need for additional software or integrations. The company believes this will cut the time needed to move candidates from application to hire. Called Indeed Hiring Platform, the product provides an integrated approach to sourcing, screening and video-interview scheduling. 

Paychex expanded the analytics offering in its Paychex Flex platform, added a retirement services solution and a pair of integrations to streamline workforce and cash-flow management. A Diversity and Equal Pay Live Report builds on the platform’s EEO-1 compliance solution to give administrators the ability to analyze their pay and diversity data. A General Ledger Live Report expands visibility of general ledger data and provides options to customize, drill down and segment report information.

TriNet introduced new product features to its HR solution for SMBs, including compensation benchmarking, mobile capabilities for administrators, reporting enhancements and the ability for individuals to select pronoun and gender identity within the platform. In addition, executives gain the ability to combine and view data from multiple related entities.

Payroll platform Immedis launched Immedis CSI, for “Country Specific Information,” which delivers a payroll database for taxation benefits and compliance requirements on a country-by-country basis. The product tracks tax information unique to individual countries and validates input based on local requirements.   

ServiceNow and Microsoft announced an integration to allow HR and IT agents to collaborate directly within Microsoft Teams. Features include Chat-to-Call, with which agents can invite employees to a Teams call directly from a live chat, and Major Incident Management, which allows agents to collaborate in a group setting and share key information from ServiceNow into Teams. 

Alight Solutions and Benify teamed up to offer Global Total Rewards, a personalized digital platform that provides employees with a holistic view of their rewards package. The platform is customizable by employer and market, and combines targeted communications with country-specific content.

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