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Diversity in Tech staffing and What You Can Do

Posted by Jeff Pelliccio on May 3, 2017 9:00:00 AM

In ICS insights, hiring trends

It's no secret that tech has always been on the forefront of the latest trends, but it fails to keep up with the best practices when it comes to diversity.Companies can voice their concerns and promise to act accordingly, but they can also struggle when it comes to implementing such practices and commitments. Interest in diversity is different than commitment. Interest is whenever it is convenient and commitment is sticking to the practice even when it's not. There are plenty of recommendations from various sources thatrange from increasing access to opportunities to building inclusive environments. There are many kinds of diversity gaps, but one thing remains in common, people need to be educated in order for us to move forward.

Diversity On a Broader Scale 

While awareness has been raised, fundamental problems and resolutions haven't been figured out yet. Those will never come to fruition if we don't engage with those underrepresented cultures. Companies need to take real steps to close the opportunity gap. That includes taking a breath to gauge where they stand today and educating their people who make company culture what it is today. Atlassian’s 2017 State of Diversity Report can elaborate more from a statistical standpoint, but let's focus on what it means and what we can do. 

But What is diversity? 

Many tech workers consider their team to be diverse and do not see room for improvement. The tech industry actually has some diversity, but not the kind that allows for those systematically excluded. The problem is way bigger than most would think and some believe that having some diversity is the same as being diverse. Without this diversity, we can't continue innovating, building environments for the best talent, or deliver maximum value for investors and shareholders. 

Wait, What Does Progress Looks Like? 

Not everyone is on the same page for how we should move forward, what will move us towards progress, and where the source of the problem lies. We should be having discussion out in the open that have serious implications.  The majority of people believe that companies and individuals will make all the difference in progressing, as opposed to the government or judiciary system.  It's up to us to change the future, but it's a conversation that needs to be had in order to figure out where we're going and how to get there.  

Moving Towards Inclusion of Women in Tech 

Tough challenges are easier to tackle with a diverse team. This rings true especially with the tech industry. A big diversity issue in this particular sector is the inclusion of women. We need to ask ourselves and women in the workforce what we can do to change the current culture. Here's a few things that seem to be talked about as solutions: 

Performance Reviews 

These should be in place to level the playing field.  Not everyone feels comfortable speaking up to their abilities and accomplishments. Promotions can be passed on to more vocal men if track records and performance aren't a key component of climbing the ranks. It shouldn't have to be said, but keep the performance review fair. Some women won't be vocal about their desire for a promotion, but when evaluated, you'll find they are overachieving and ready to take on a leadership track. Purposely carve out leadership paths and be clear about what you're looking for when it comes to a promotion. Men generally will apply for a job or promotion when they only meet 60% of the criteria, but women will only unless they have 100% of the qualifications. Really get to know your team and you'll reap the benefits.  

Magnify Women’s Voices and Opportunities 

Empower women's voice by making sure they are heard. Let their solutions be heard as well. Anyone can bring problems to the table, but few bring the solution. Make sure that women are in front and center at meetings, give them room to speak up, and bring in external female mentor or coaches if you don't already have them. In addition to all of that, make sure that the women in your company are getting credit for their work. They need to be more visible in the spotlight.  

Build a Culture of Inclusivity 

This culture of inclusivity isn't just a manager's job. There should be a team effort to create an inclusive environment. Even when it is part of a manager's role, they should create something that is for everyone to succeed, not just a certain kind of person. This goes for team-building exercises too. Diversity in the workplace doesn't need to stop at hiring. You should make an ongoing commitment to keeping it in your culture. 

Don't Stop At Family Leave Policies 

Even when companies offer family leave policies, there is a lot of stigma surrounding them. Women shouldn't have to fear falling behind during maternity leave, coworkers should be more educated about what to expect with parental leaves, and managers should never make assumptions when it comes to the wants and intentions of the mother in question. Managers can make well-intentioned gestures, but it's not always what the women wants. Communicate before trying to do anything different. There is also diversity in different stages of lives, so make your expectations known and upfront. 

Commitment at the leadership level

Don't just put the practices in place without implementing them. Employees will look towards you to take the lead on how it is done. Commit to the cause and others will do the same. Don't leave it up to the employees on the ground level. If you don't know how to do it yourself, bring in people who know how to build out that kind of culture. Underrepresented groups shouldn't have to be their own champion.  

Take the pulse of your own company and if you're coming up short on diversity, you may need help. When you're ready to staff with more inclusion, contact us and we'll be happy to supply with you with a more diverse candidate pool.  Staffing was always meant to be diverse.