With banks under fire for falling short of their racial-equity promises, software that helps chip away at specific issues – like building a more diverse workforce – can ensure forward progress.
2020’s racial reckoning included reflections on how bias impacts the entire financial system – from home loans to money management education – as well as how many banks have dismal internal diversity statistics.
To that end, several financial services firms have deployed unconscious bias training from recruitment company Rare, according to a report in FNLondon. Rare’s software gives workers from the likes of BlackRock, Credit Suisse, HSBC, and EY insight into how they might bring racial or socio-economic biases into interviews and other interactions.
After employees complete the 90-minute program, they’re given feedback on ways they appear to treat people with certain traits or demographics differently, delivered in a sensitive way intended to help them interrogate their biases without getting defensive.
“That is quite powerful for some people,” Rare director Raphael Mokades told FNLondon. The aim, he added, is to make sure that biases “aren’t creating distortions and unfair outcomes,” which is “a significantly different message to ‘you are a bad person.’”
This ultimately helps institutions better recruit and retain diverse candidates and move towards achieving their DEI hiring goals.
Software like Rare’s offers a concrete way for firms to improve their recruitment practices as diversity, equity, and inclusion issues remain in the spotlight in 2023. Late last year, activist investors called out JPMorgan’s racial-equity audit for being “deficient” in several ways, including because it didn’t examine any internal DEI issues, while other banks are under fire to conduct third-party audits as well.