Women Are Still Being Shortchanged At Work. Here’s How Gamification Can Change It

A report released by Hired earlier this year revealed the worrying trend of gender pay disparity among tech workers. For starters, 63% of the time, men are offered higher salaries than women for the same role at the same company. Traditional hiring and training practices have also been found to have discriminatory biases, which is unbelievable, considering how a growing body of research is proving that more inclusive workplaces deliver stronger results. 

This can be fixed starting with gamification. Below, how.  

By Deborah Tan 

As a doctoral student and then as a professor, Myra Sadker (1945 – 1995) found that regardless of whether her name appeared first or second on her coauthored articles, people frequently referred to her work using the male co-author’s name. She wrote the first book for teachers on the issue of sexism in 1973 and alerted Americans to the academic, psychological, physical and career costs of sexism.

“Sitting in the same classroom, reading the same textbook, listening to the same teacher, boys and girls receive very different educations.” This quote by Sadker still rings true in today’s world. How?

Well, believe it or not, gender bias in schooling has a long-term impact on its victims. It is an insidious problem that causes very few to sit up and take notice. Victims have been conditioned, through years of schooling, to be silent and passive. Over the course of the years, this can affect whether they speak up against unfair treatment at work and at home.

How can you introduce some positive change into your company? Gamification.

Gamification And Structure 

With gamification, it might just be possible for employers to not let biases get in the way of hiring, developing and retaining talents.

For instance, getting candidates to complete identity-blind games that are then scored by AI. These are better predictors of employee performance than unstructured interviews that take the form of fluid conversations. You may wonder, “But shouldn’t the hiring manager consider my personality as well?”, but do know that less structure also leads to more opportunities for bias to creep in. A hirer’s bias towards certain traits during the conversation (such as accent) can affect his judgement.

Pymetrics is an AI startup with the goal to make the world a fairer place by eliminating discrimination based on sex, race, age, and class. The process begins by getting a company’s star employees to play a set of games. Pymetrics then determines the traits that are important for each specific role in the company. Job applicants take the same test and the AI scores their performance without taking into account a person’s name, gender, skin, colour, age or resume.

 

Gamification In Training 

Gamification levels the playing field by taking the socialization of gender out of the picture. From early on in our education, teachers socialize girls towards “feminine” traits where we are praised for being friendly and obedient. Boys, however, are praised for being independent and strong. This, unfortunately, continues even in the corporate world.

Women employees are expected to be nurturing and cooperative. When they pitch an idea, they “should” be doing so in a collaborative manner. But, when men argue for their ideas to be considered, they are seen as “leadership material”, viewed favourably for challenging authority.

Although gamification may not be possible for all areas of corporate learning, it is possible to use it to determine engagement, knowledge, and mastery – without factoring in a person’s gender, marital status, or location.

SmartUp‘s platform allows trainers to test everyone and track their progress on a leaderboard. This is great in a number of ways:

1. Employees who are parents don’t have to feel bad for wanting to skip after-work classroom training sessions. Gamification can be executed on the mobile interface and this makes it possible to learn wherever you are.

2. Trainers don’t get to pick which student should lead discussions or answer questions. All learners have to complete modules, answer quizzes, respond to polls to score points and finish a course

3. Leaderboards at both community- and channel-level display top performers without bias. The ranking is for all to see. Gamification is only focused on 3 things: validate, complete, reward – and this should be done without any “emotional” input from a manager.

To remove even more biases, administrators can consider using employee numbers to identify members within the community. This anonymity allows everyone to contribute content without the fear of being judged if they are the right “type” to write about a topic.

 

 

Gamification In Removing Biases

Understandably, gamification is not the panacea for gender bias in the office. A sexist isn’t going to stop asking his female co-workers to take notes at a meeting. He’s not going to suddenly get why the new female manager should be paid for the job she’s hired for, and not her salary history.

Can you introduce more diversity further up the recruitment chain with a set of neuroscience games? Yes.

Can annual performance appraisal be more objective using quizzes and polls? Absolutely.

Gender equality is a conversation we still need to have at work. Gamification could be the ice-breaker that gets it moving in the right direction.

 

Want to know how SmartUp can help make training and appraisals fairer and more egalitarian? Email us at info@smartup.io or visit our website at www.smartup.io now for more details. 

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