4 Ways to Build Brilliantly Diverse Tech Teams
Real innovation unfolds when tech companies are diverse and employees are confident their differences are valued as an asset, not punished as a liability.
Millions of people quit their jobs this spring and summer, creating what some are calling “the Great Resignation.” As the pandemic receded and job opportunities became plentiful, employees left companies that didn’t meet their expectations. Reasons for leaving varied, but were in large part connected with pay, the ability to work remotely or not, and frustrations with poor leadership.
Fast Company points to the Diversity in Tech: 2021 US report and suggests that for tech companies “part of the issue is the industry’s long struggles to achieve workplace diversity and equity.” Lacking diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) has caused tech companies persistent public relations headaches, as well as talent and retention problems.
Chief Diversity Officers and other company leaders are responsible for creating a culture where every employee feels empowered, heard, and understood. Learn how to improve your DEI efforts and build brilliantly diverse tech teams for your company.
Tech Companies Need to Improve Their DEI Efforts. Here’s How.
1. Hire Diverse Employees
Tech companies need to widen their talent pool if they are to become more diverse. In this article on “How to Source Diverse Talent,” the columnist explains that tech companies are known for searching for candidates from the same institutions and the same connections time and time again.
Yes, this provides a familiar reliability.
No, this does nothing to bring new viewpoints, creativity, or solutions to your terch teams.
The article goes on to recommend three key ways to bring more diverse candidates into your talent pipeline:
● Expand your direct applicant pipeline.
● Make your process more transparent.
● Broaden your pipeline.
2. Retain Your Talent
Creating an inclusive culture that honors and empowers all your employees is how you will retain your talent. This applies just as equally to those onboarding on day one to those leading departments on year 10. Building or improving a DEI program is critical for retention success — but it isn’t easy.
The True Colors methodology is the foundation from which you can build a DEI program with lasting outcomes and benefits. It is a simplified approach to understanding the broader lens of diversity and can be customized for tech companies.
A necessary first step for DEI training is our Personal Success Workshop. The shared experience during this engaging workshop improves communication, builds a sense of belonging and inclusion, and helps your team members become less defensive. Collectively, these outcomes break down barriers to the challenging conversations tech companies need to be having if they want to retain diverse talent.
3. Create Mentorship Programs
When you broaden your talent pipeline, you may need to rethink your onboarding and training methods. Since candidates will no longer all come from similar backgrounds and experiences, entry level workers in particular may need more training than your previous candidates.
This isn’t about creating more work for your team. It’s simply putting more effort in when onboarding so that less effort, and potentially brilliant results, can take place later on. As this rocko article frames it, “It’s about considering how your key people’s roles might have to evolve to allow them to mentor and coach new additions to the team so you can hire people with less experience but huge potential.”
4. Train Your Leadership in DEI
When you improve your DEI initiatives, you foster an environment of inclusion that empowers more thoughtful leaders and leverages the overall effectiveness of diverse teams.
Deloitte has identified six signature traits of inclusive leadership that need to be intentionally developed in tech companies:
● Cognizance of bias
● Cultural intelligence
Training those in an official leadership capacity is a great place to start. Worth mentioning though, is a simple fact we sometimes forget: Everyone is a leader. Everyone leads someone else in some way or another on your team. So don’t stop at incorporating those six signature traits into your trainings specifically developed for your leadership team. Make sure everyone in your tech company can develop these same traits.
Innovation is Critical for Tech Companies to Succeed
Real business success and innovation unfolds when tech companies are diverse and employees are confident their differences are valued as an asset, not punished as a liability. Valuing differences paves the way to removing bias in the workplace, embracing diverse styles and voices, and giving more people decision-making power — and these positive changes happen because of effective DEI measures you can implement.