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  • ben26023

Technology: a Sheep in Wolf’s Clothing

There’s no doubt that access to technology has allowed running a business in today’s modern world a little bit easier. However, like all progression, it’s important to check in and measure whether the benefits far outweigh the costs.

As a small business owner, I can hand on heart admit that running a business is A LOT OF HARD WORK.

You’re often forced to wear multiple hats that bigger organisations can dedicate to one individual – you’re the head of marketing, head of bookkeeping, head of human resources and much, much more. That’s why I’m so grateful to have access to time-saving applications and programs that help with the day-to-day running of the business. (Side note: I’m also ETERNALLY GRATEFUL to the incredible team we have at 30 Foot Drop. No amount of technology or AI robots could replace their amazingness). I’m constantly being targeted by advertising for different techniques that can help save me precious time which I can then dedicate to running the business. One such example recently was an online tool that helps with recruiting by sifting through candidates to produce an ideal short-list to interview for a specific role. Whether you’ve been looking for a job or looking for a new employee, we’ve all been through the recruitment process and I think we can all agree...there’s a fair bit of work involved. So an online tool that can save you time by creating a shortlist of candidates seems too good to be true. And in some cases, it is.

Online tools work based on an algorithm, which helps to assess applications to create an ideal shortlist of candidates to interview. However, the way these algorithms work mean they can also be quite exclusionary. For example, people who have ‘missing’ information on their resumes can be automatically discluded from the candidacy pool because there’s a perceived gap in their experience. However, what that online tool can’t know is WHY there is a gap; is it because a mother is returning to work after having children? Did someone have a gap year? Perhaps someone is recovering from a life threatening disease or injury?

These online tools also use applications such as video, where a candidate is given a certain allotment of time to record an answer for review. For some people with a disability, it could be problematic to fit within the timeframe provided and therefore they ‘fail’ that section and are discredited through no fault of their own – rather, to the limitations of an online tool. How is that fair? How does that promote an inclusive and diverse society? What it tells me is that no matter what technology is available, you cannot discount the importance of human interaction. And no matter what they say, no algorithm can be completely unbias because they’re created by humans, and no human is without their own bias (we’ve written a blog about it here Challenging your Natural Bias - 30 Foot Drop ) So while, as a small business owner, I’ll continue to lean into technology, it will never surpass the love and support I have for my team. Those tangible, amazing people who help me every day. I also urge other business owners, large and small, to check in with their processes. If you truly believe in fostering an inclusive and diverse workplace environment, don’t discredit people based off their limitations. Instead, look at what they can contribute and give them a platform to flourish – you won’t regret it.

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