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Using AI to Make Better Promotion Decisions

By | Adam McKinnon | Martha Curioni |

“I have been passed over for promotion multiple times over the last few years. Those promotions always seem to go to younger workers. When pressed for reasons, I have heard some version of the response: ‘we are looking for someone with more long-term prospects.’ I’ve also been asked when I planned to retire in a couple of interviews. Is this possibly discriminatory? What can I do?” 

– James

The above question is a real example of age discrimination, which was featured in an Ask HR column in USA Today on the 14th June 2022. Unfortunately, discrimination within society and its organisations comes in many different formats, including gender identity, race, disability, sexual orientation, pregnancy, family responsibilities, and relationship status (to name but a few).

HR should be a key partner in shepherding organisations towards bias-free decision making, to ensure optimal outcomes for both employees and employers. It is the position of these authors that data and Machine Learning (ML) (i.e., a subset of Artificial Intelligence) can play a significant role in enhancing the conditions for minimising bias in decision making at all stages of the employee lifecycle.

In this article, we would like to explore why HR practitioners should consider using ML as another resource to inform promotion decisions, and explore ways in which ML could be embraced in modern organisations.

Why Use ML to Inform Promotion Decisions?

We believe there are several reasons ML should be embraced by modern organisations to augment promotion decisions and support fairer processes. These reasons include:

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