Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) have quickly become staples of HR playbooks, yet organizations still struggle with how to fully integrate the practice across both people culture and enablement tools (technology).
The data supporting D&I practice is clear. Sales teams with the highest levels of racial diversity see 15x greater sales. Companies with diverse employee pools (across age, race, gender, culture, religion, etc.) see 2.3x higher bottom-line revenue.
Studies have shown that diverse teams are 87 percent better at decision-making — a largely intangible asset. In addition to being a moral imperative, D&I is a legitimate competitive advantage with echoing consequences and rewards across the business hierarchy. Although we’ve seen a focus in D&I HR strategies around hiring and leadership growth, businesses often fail to invest in technology frameworks that perpetuate D&I strategy internally, and as a customer engagement proposition.
In fact, several analyses have uncovered that having a diverse top-level management team can result in as much as a 19 percent boost in year over year revenue performance. However, diversity & inclusion programs aren’t merely profit-bearing tools that help produce tangible value in the workplace, they help build future-proofed business ecosystems.
Interesting Fact: According to the latest Pew projections, by 2055, no racial or ethnic group will hold a majority in the United States. Already, Millennials (who will make up 75 percent of the active workforce within the next five years) are 16 percent more diverse — across virtually all metrics — than Baby Boomers.
Diversity and inclusion are necessities — not differentiators, yet how do you get there when all the messaging around D&I can seem vague, trendy…and at times somewhat confusing around what inclusion and empowerment really looks like when applied?
Given the newly-intense focus of D&I strategies, trying to pin down meaningful, value-driven solutions that truly bring people together can still be difficult.
Organizations must focus efforts and investments in solutions that create a holistic work ecosystem, driving D&I culture through diversity & EMPOWERMENT (I’ve written the word “empowerment” in all caps to indicate that this is a major hint 😊 ). We must continue to avoid simply ticking off checkboxes of vague or superficial D&I efforts just to sport trendy merit badges. Organizations must ask themselves…
“How do our metrics and technology investments
reflect and perpetuate an inclusive culture?”
Investing efforts in implementing Neural Machine Translation (NMT) solutions can bridge the gap between D&I hiring practice and D&I EMPOWERMENT, via language engagement tools, and is practical progress that can be measured and is not based on abstracts.
Today, let’s discuss the role that NMT (and language in general) play in culture, diversity, and inclusiveness. Plus, we’ll quickly cover some of the primary levers of D&I that make a focus on language diversity so compelling to the modern business’s success.
The Challenges of D&I
It’s easy to drop a big list of statistics in favor of why D&I should be a focus of growth for organizations, but let’s shift the tone: why isn’t it more common? After all, profit-bearing strategies, regardless of their sociopolitical flavor or impact — are generally rapidly adopted across the business ecosystem. However, companies are genuinely struggling with D&I in the here and now. There are a few common barriers making D&I difficult to adopt beyond the persistent challenges of hiring and culture.
As Globalization 4.0 and Industry 4.0 converge in the workplace, the average organization comprises thousands of moving parts located across the globe. Remote work and open trade flow create language issues. Even if you aren’t dealing with employees in other countries, over 67 million Americans speak a foreign language at home — and many of them don’t have a mastery of the English language. D&I is hinged to bringing these people to the discussion table. We aren’t just talking about boardroom meetings. Emails, training documents, and memos need to be conveyed across multiple languages. They need to be replicated in a way that takes internal language policies and unique internal language styles into consideration. After all, you’re trying to build a culture, and culture is forged with the right language.
This plays into language. Organizations struggle to provide consistent training across language and cultural lines. Most organizations hire for talent and train against performance. But, when performance is being measured against a framework that isn’t inclusive, it can create training gaps that further distance employees. For example, if training documents are in English, a native French speaker with a basic grasp of English may not perform as well as a native English speaker. But it’s not necessarily due to talent issues. It may be down to the speed at which they digest language.
As we all know, diversity hasn’t always been a sought-after business value. For many years, it wasn’t even brought into the discussion. So, obviously, there’s some leftover fog that needs to be dispelled. Many minorities simply believe they don’t have room for advancement due to past socio-cultural norms. Bringing everyone to the table starts with letting them know they have a place.
Of course, there are plenty of other challenges around D&I, but we consider these three challenges the most “solvable” and the most pressing. Luckily, these issues can all be assuaged via a single piece of technology — Neural Machine Translation (NMT).
How NMT Fuels D&I
As we slowly crawl across this alphabet soup of acronyms, let’s discuss what role NMT and language play in D&I. NMT acts as a mechanism to eliminate language barriers. Applying NMT against employee handbooks, social media posts, onboarding, training, email, messaging, and guidelines can help you create holistic, engagement-driven work ecosystems that bind cultures and languages together. There are a few key features of NMT that make it invaluable for organizations (as opposed to other translation solutions).
Speed & Scalability
NMT is lightning fast. As an example, an 8-core SYSTRAN’s OpenNMT-powered solution can translate 2,000 characters per second. This means that a single, 8-core instance of NMT can translate Charles Dickens in roughly one minute. However, when you look at the average enterprise, 2,000 characters per second isn’t nearly enough to facilitate engagement and interaction — especially in today’s hyper-globalized talent ecosystem. Luckily, NMT pairs this speed with scalability. SYSTRAN’s NMT solution is instantly scalable and has the built-in elasticity you need to translate a plethora of documents simultaneously across users in real-time.
Language is infinitely complex. Each culture and region has its own unique way of expressing language in their communities. So, trying to bridge all these languages together in a way that facilitates personalized and meaningful communication can be a nightmare. This is where NMT flexes its deep neural-learning muscles. NMT constantly learns to pick up on subtle variations in language, helping it understand unique regional language variants.
Here’s where NMT and SYSTRAN begin to shine. Not only can SYSTRAN learn language variants, but it can also learn domain-specific language needs. Within a matter of weeks, SYSTRAN can learn and adapt to any industry — including complex medical, industrial, and technical industries.
To fine-tune specialization, SYSTRAN accepts user dictionaries. This can help “fill-in-the-gaps” on extremely technical or company-specific terms.
Language is more than a science. There’s a nuanced infusion of emotion and tone that happens in almost every conversation, contributing massively to the overall clarity of communication. Tags can help SYSTRAN engines understand word emphasis and non-translation needs. In the end, this results in a highly specific, one-of-a-kind language engine that breeds culture-driven D&I.
Best-in-class NMT solutions will provide on-premise or cloud security features to keep internal documents and translations secured and private.
This is, by far, the most critical component of translation for D&I. SYSTRAN engines can work in real-time. In other words, SYSTRAN can be used with messaging apps or emails to quickly generate highly personalized translations.
SYSTRAN + D&I: A Perfect Match
Breeding a culture of Diversity & Inclusion is good for business, but it’s not always straight forward in its application. SYSTRAN technology can help add tangible value to your D&I strategies. Our real-time NMT solution instantly translates employee messages, documents, handbooks, and training content in a way that’s hyper-personalized for your business, and requires little effort with automated integration.
By J. Obakhan
Director of Strategic Partnerships & Tech. Alliances – SYSTRAN
Let’s talk about how SYSTRAN can partner and integrate with your eLearning, HR, and Customer Experience platforms strategy to create customized NMT-driven user experiences.
Contact us to learn more.