Home' HR Monthly : April 2019 Contents April 2019 HRM magazine 27
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UK’s Technology Taskforce and the Global
Right now, she's the founder and chief
executive of Business Disability International.
“The international work came about because
so many of ou r BDF members would say things
like, ‘ Well, we can't fix website accessibility
because it's controlled out of New York,’ or
‘Ou r call centre is in Singapore, so we can't
improve the quality of responses for customers
with fluctuating mental capacity,’” she says.
Sometimes the excuses were more
confounding. “I once had a banker who said to
me, ‘But Susan, we don't even do women.’”
In 2000, Scott-Parker was also involved in
the establishment of the Australian Network on
Disability with the now- CEO Suzanne Colbert.
“It's one of the very best organisations of its
type in the world. There aren't many out there,
and the Australian one is really one to be proud
of,” she says.
Equality and fairness
There is a saying that “Diversity is being invited
to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance.”
Scott-Parker isn't one to pull punches.
“That's bull,” she says. “Because the party is
usually up a flight of steps.”
“People think that if they treat everyone
the same, they've got it right. But actually, the
essence of discrimination – as experienced by
disabled people – is that when you treat them
the same as a non-disabled person, they can't
even get into the building.”
As such, much of Scott-Parker's work with
HR professionals is focused on conveying the
message that “We need to treat disabled people
differently in order to treat them fairly”.
HR driving change
Her second big message is that “legal
compliance is your high-risk strategy”.
“Imagine wanting to communicate: ‘We will
only treat you properly if we have to.’ That is
exactly the message a disability compliance
culture sends out every day.”
Treating people with disabilities fairly is not
something HR can do alone, she says.
“It's impossible to achieve best practice just
through HR. It's about influencing property,
technology, procurement, new product
development, marketing and sales, facilities
management, customer service, workplace
“So the biggest challenge for H R is the
question of how they get that influence across
the whole business.”
This is an issue Scott-Parker is particularly
keen to explore as a keynote speaker at AHRI’s
National Convention and Exhibition in
September this year.
“ Where and how does HR get the power?
It could be as simple as refusing to be the
department that automatically – albeit in
ill-defined ways – is expected to deal with
disability and saying, ‘ Since this issue goes
across the whole business, it's actually a chief
operating officer (COO) responsibility.’
“And then help your COO put together the
inter departmental group of senior players that
drive the business improvement that lies at the
heart of the best practice.”
Another topic never far from Scott-Parker's
mind is AI-powered recruitment and the
potential impact on people with disabilities.
She’s very interested in what she calls “e-
discrimination” in recruitment.
“The word ‘bias’ is too soft and sweet. I'm
talking about addressing unfair treatment and
discrimination on a potentially huge scale.”
She points to HireVue's recent announcement
that it had completed 9 million interviews using
its AI assessment and video interview software.
“ We don't have any idea how many
candidates were discarded because of facial
disfigurement, stroke, Botox, visual impairment,
or because their voice was too low, because
their eye contact wasn't right because they
were looking down for subtitles, or they were a
Bangladeshi girl looking down in respect.”
“But to be fair to HireVue, we've had some
good meetings. They know there are risks here
and they're working with [BDF], IBM and the
Australian Network on Disability to determine
what needs to be done, and by whom.”
It's this willingness to dive in and work with
those who are part of the problem – business
leaders, employers and tech providers – that has
made Scott-Parker's advocacy so effective over
the past three decades.
It also makes her uniquely placed to help
guide HR professionals who are keen to enable
equal opportunities for people living with
21/3/19 3:21 pm
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