Diversity and Inclusiveness: closing the gap in the modern tech industry
Diversity and inclusiveness in Information technology
What exactly are diversity and inclusiveness in Tech?
Diversity in Tech is bringing a more diverse workforce in the work area with wider perceptive as compared to traditionally homogeneous and non-inclusive industries.
Diversity and inclusiveness are essential for a business that want to stay competitive in the talent market and relevant to their customer. This is an essential step toward creating resilient communities by bringing equality to the business environment. An inclusive environment offers opportunities for growth and achievement removing gender bias discrimination in the work area.
Companies are spending a huge amount on diversity and inclusion efforts. However, around 68% of business leaders; report a lack of diversity and equality in the tech workforce.
Why diversity in Tech is Important?
Bringing more diversity to the workplace means more diverse opinions, perspectives, and leadership skills. With a diverse set of employees, a company can access more creativity with wider skill sets. More diverse ideas for solving business problems result in more agility for the business. Promoting “cognitive diversity” also helps to avoid group thinking, which prevents creativity, and coordination and results in stale ideas.
How cognitive diversity drives success in tech industries?
When diverse backgrounds and different thought processes collaborators work together, they foster one another’s minds more successfully than like-minded people. The ability to think with a wider perspective brings creative ideas which in turn elevate mental performance in diverse groups.
Conversely, with less diversity, those in the minority of a group will lack creativity and open-mindedness. This hinders the thinking ability of the group which in turn slows the process of decision-making and implementation in the organization.
Support different markets:
In a globalized economy, companies need diverse employees who can understand the different customer’s needs irrespective of ethnicity, language, location, gender, or religion. Diversity helps to capture different markets whether they are geographically located or different segments of the market they currently serve or aspire to serve. This helps the expansion of business and generates more employment opportunities.
Retention of talent increases:
Diversity helps in the retention of talent of the employee. The employees feel included in the workplace and can relate to co-workers with divergent backgrounds. When they do not feel their presence is appreciated or their contributions are not valued among the like-minded and similar backgrounds, they eventually leave the company. According to Great Place to work research employees in a diverse and inclusive company are 5.4 times more likely to want to stay for a longer tenure.
Access to new talent and skills:
A diverse workforce provides diverse channels and access to a wider range of skilled candidates during recruitment. This inclusiveness helps the company to connect with employees with different networks. The diverse company can therefore attract new talents from various educational backgrounds in various geographical areas reaching greater talents and intellectual aptitudes.
Improves problem-solving abilities:
A cognitively diverse team is capable to find solutions more quickly and act accordingly without wasting time and resources like hiring experts for certain problems. The diverse educational background enables them to build critical thinking with flexibility. A study conducted by Harvard business review found that cognitively diverse teams are more flexible and find faster solutions to problems as compared to regular like-minded teams. This enhances their ability to grow with the company and brings agility inside the working environment.
Addressing the Gender gap in Tech
Diversity in Tech is bringing a more diverse workforce in the work area with wider perceptive as compared to traditionally homogeneous and non-inclusive industries. Today gender bias and racism are on the rise resulting in a lack of representation due to attrition at the hiring level. For example, Google reported that just 5.5% of new hires in 2020 were black and just 6,6% were Latinx. Likewise, the Pew Research Center 2017, found that 74% of women in technology jobs experienced gender discrimination.
When asked the respondents to reflect on their cumulative technical and career experiences, they collectively identify gender bias as the top barrier preventing women from moving into leadership positing in technology roles due to work/life experience and lack of sponsorship and integration.
Unfortunately, more women are leaving the tech job as compared to men. The figure below describes it all.
There is no proper answer when asked how technology executives can reverse this trend? comprehensive research and interview with CIOs and tech leaders reveal that a wider range of approaches when combined with comprehensive strategies can help to recruit and retain talented experienced women or underrepresented groups.
Various steps to improve diversity in Tech
The tech companies need to come forward and focus on implementing a diverse workforce and inclusiveness. Companies can take various steps to bring diversity to the workplace.
- Location inclusiveness including satellite office.
- Focused company culture
- A diversity hiring strategy
- Developing a diverse pool of talent
- Vocal about your diversity and inclusion
- Feedback from employees
Location inclusiveness including satellite office:
Remote culture has grown up ever since the pandemic started. For diverse employees, remote culture has opened more opportunities. Companies should come forward with a more employee-centric work culture with flexible work hours. This not only enhances productivity but also brings a diverse workforce under one roof. Employees do not have to travel to pricey cities leaving behind their families. Another option is the satellite office for employees from other areas of the country. tech hubs are growing up in affordable cities rather than expensive traditional Silicon Valley.
Focused company culture:
Company culture is the key to retaining and attracting diverse talent. Companies must actively cultivate a safe, fair empathetic, and inclusive environment without any discrimination. Another way to develop the company culture is to develop the employee resource group. These groups will help underrepresented employees to thrive in the workplace. Addressing unconscious bias among the employees is also an important way of developing positive work culture in tech industries.
A diverse hiring strategy:
To bring in a more diverse workforce tech companies should change their recruiting and hiring practices. A diverse recruiting strategy for tech roles can obtain through the indulgence of organizations that support such talents as Black girl code. Companies can no more simply put job requirements online and wait for the best talent to pop up.
Developing a diverse pool of talent:
Equal opportunities for the employee are the only way to attract a diverse pool of talents in tech companies. The workforce may be diverse, but the board room may not be a diverse one. To bridge this gap companies should have more diverse leaders. A company should provide leadership programs for its employees to climb the carrier ladder. Companies should also provide various educational certifications with skill development for the retention of the employee eventually.
Vocal about the diversity and inclusion:
Highlighting the various efforts and celebration of the diverse work culture of the company during the time of the interview will help the candidate to have a wider picture of the company. Appreciating and celebrating the employee’s success before the team will not only boost the confidence level of the employee but also have a more positive approach towards the company and its employees. The company should always be vocal about its work ethics, diver work culture, and inclusiveness and built a more positive environment for its employees.
Feedback from employees:
To see the impact of the implementation of such diversity and inclusiveness, the company should care about the feedback of the employees. Feedback becomes more important beyond the strategies and goals of the companies. As companies’ profitability depends upon employee satisfaction. Following honest feedback and keeping them happy at the workplace will help tech companies’ goal of bringing diversity and inclusiveness in a true sense.
Reorganization of diversity in tech
Diversity is a pathway to unlocking creativity and bringing newer ideas into the organization. The more organization is open to perspectives from people of different backgrounds, the more resilient and creative the organization becomes. However, reorganization of diversity in the established environment is not an easy task. The reorganization of diversity in tech industries can be done in the following ways.
- Encouraging personal growth and development of employee
- Accessibility is the fundamental part of the organization- everyone everywhere should have the accessibility to resources.
- Hiring experts of different cultures, languages, and geography.