HR Labs, DEIB Edition: pymetrics’ Frida Polli on Technology’s Role in Eliminating Bias
1 April 2021
We’re thrilled to announce the third season of HR Labs, a podcast that explores how to create a better employee experience for all of your people. This season is hosted by Cornerstone’s Chief Learning Officer and VP of Organizational Effectiveness Jeff Miller and Chief Diversity Officer Duane La Bom. Through conversations with change-makers, activists, executives and experts, they’ll explore strategies for taking diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) initiatives from intention to action. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you listen.
This week on HR Labs, Jeff sat down with Frida Polli, a neuroscientist turned co-founder and CEO of pymetrics to talk about how technology can further DEIB strategies. Pymetrics is a computer software company that uses cognitive data and AI to remove bias from how companies hire employees. If companies want to move the needle around their DEIB initiatives, Frida says, they need to be more creative and innovative, rethinking standard HR processes—and using technology to drive them.
How Technology Can Drive DEIB Initiatives From the Ground Up
Many recruiting algorithms today are one-size-fits all, but AI can unlock the opportunity to optimize fairness by looking at candidates from a more human, holistic perspective.
"We have this mold of what someone is supposed to look like if you're a tech entrepreneur. You're supposed to be Caucasian, young, male, definitely not a single parent," Frida told Jeff, referencing her own experience with recruiting. "But that's silly. Why are we looking at people that way? Because I'm pretty sure I could be a good entrepreneur and I'm not half of those things."
The recruiting process, Frida says, shouldn’t suppose that one type of employee is always best. Because people are unique, there are many different kinds of fits—and the recruiting process should account for this. But, how?
In the case of pymetrics, their software assesses candidates based on their cognitive and emotional make-up (think: soft skills, like altruism and attention). By using algorithms, pymetrics builds a profile of a company’s top performers and bases potential candidates on that, and the algorithms are checked to make sure bias is removed. This approach not only results in a better outcome for the individual, but also for the larger company.
How Can HR Support Diversity and Inclusion?
Technology is here to stay. As Frida says, "We’re not going to put the genie back in the bottle." Embracing AI and technology to improve the recruiting process is the first step, but it will also take more than that to create change—it will involve pushing back on traditional processes that have had suboptimal outcomes.
"At the end of the day, we want to make this world equitable. And sometimes that means being bold and taking some risks," she said.
Listen to the full conversation below to learn more about how HR teams can think about equity, and using technology to further their DEIB initiatives.