The tech industry is struggling to introduce a diverse workforce. According to a Silicon Valley Bank study, ‘only 43% [of global tech start-ups] have established companywide hiring and promotion goals to increase diversity.’ This lack of diversity not only affects the industry's culture, but it also results in a homogenous group of individuals who may be more prone to groupthink and less likely to consider alternative perspectives.
However, attracting, retaining, and empowering a diverse workforce is not only the right thing to do; it's also good for business. Diverse teams bring different experiences, backgrounds, and perspectives, which can lead to more innovation, creativity, and productivity. In this blog post, we'll discuss five strategies to introduce a diverse workforce in tech.
1. Create a Culture of Inclusivity
Creating a culture of inclusivity is crucial in attracting and retaining a diverse workforce. To achieve this, companies need to foster a safe and respectful work environment that values and celebrates differences. Companies can start by implementing diversity and inclusion training for all employees, which can help them understand the importance of diversity and how to work effectively with people from different backgrounds.
Establishing clear policies and procedures is also essential to ensure that discrimination and harassment are not tolerated. These policies should be communicated clearly to all employees, and the company should take swift action to address any violations.
2. Establish a Diverse Hiring Process
Attracting a diverse workforce starts with establishing a diverse hiring process. Companies should ensure that their job postings are inclusive and free of gender, racial, or other biases. They should also make an effort to reach out to position their job postings in front of diverse communities and organizations.
Companies should vet their hiring processes to ensure fair representation. Meaning recruiters and hiring panels alike should be diverse to accelerate the hiring of diverse candidates. For executives that vehemently oppose a diverse hiring process, they should be aware a McKinsey report revealed that companies with a diverse workforce exhibited 19% higher innovation revenues. Diversity in the hiring process is a non-negotiable for companies committed to growth.
3. Offer Competitive Compensation and Benefits
Extending a competitive benefits package is crucial to retaining a diverse workforce. Companies should ensure that they pay employees fairly and equitably, regardless of their gender, race, or ethnicity. They should also offer a comprehensive benefits package that includes health insurance, retirement plans, and flexible work arrangements. Additionally, companies should provide opportunities for professional development and career advancement, which can help employees feel valued and invested in the company's success.
4. Provide Mentorship and Support
Empowering a diverse workforce is an underrated aspect for DE&I initiatives. Employees should be encouraged to bring their true and honest selves to work to develop an authentic company culture. Companies should establish mentorship programs that pair employees with mentors who can provide guidance and support. This can be especially beneficial for employees who may not have access to the same networks and resources as their colleagues. Additionally, companies can provide support for employees who may face unique challenges, such as language barriers or cultural differences. This support can include things like language classes or cultural sensitivity training.
5. Emphasize Diversity in Leadership
Promoting diversity in leadership is essential to creating a truly inclusive work environment. Unfortunately, though most tech companies are falling short. According to a Silicon Valley Bank study ‘55% of tech companies lack comprehensive programs to increase diverse representation in leadership positions.’ This explains why only 42% of tech start-ups studied have at least one ethnically or racially diverse executive.
Companies should make a concerted effort to recruit and promote diverse candidates to leadership positions. This can be achieved by partnering with innovative diversity suppliers that are familiar with focused strategies to attract diverse executives. Ultimately, tech companies must be willing to allocate proper funding sources to further these initiatives. The bottom line is that diverse leaders can serve as a role model for employees and help create a culture where diversity is valued and celebrated.
Attracting, retaining, and empowering a diverse workforce in tech is essential for creating a more inclusive and innovative industry. Companies can achieve this by establishing a diverse hiring process, offering competitive compensation and benefits, providing mentorship and support, and emphasizing diversity in leadership. By implementing these strategies, companies can not only improve their bottom line but also make a positive impact on the industry and society.