How To Increase Diversity In Your Company
Assuming that women and men are almost equally distributed, in tech we have comparably very few women. But it doesn’t mean, that we should reduce the number of women to zero.
We only hire the best and we don’t want to create any positive discrimination.
Do you really think you hire only the best?
If you rely only on that, you will miss half the best and this is due to unconscious bias. Unconscious bias is deeply rooted in ourselves and draws a picture of women and how we think they should look and how they should behave. With unconscious bias, we associate women as soft, but not necessarily as competent. If they are competent, then they are not likable. I discuss unconscious bias deeper in a different story.
We also tend to evaluate women according to their behavior instead of their competencies and we ask them questions, which leads them to become defensive.
Write A Job Description With Empathy
With a well-written job description, that appears less competitive but more welcoming, you will not only attract more women but also men and people from the LGTB group, who are less competitive.
- Choose a selected amount of must-haves, and a selected amount of nice-to-haves. Make sure, that you write, that everyone can apply, even if they don’t fit 100%-ly. Otherwise, you will miss a unique personality who might have driven your company.
- Make sure to emphasize empathic wordings and soft skills first. Hard skills can be learned easily
- Include the equal opportunity statements.
I have covered these tips in a story about hiring diverse.
The question now is where to find the rare types of non-white male people? I’ve done some research on that and the following is the result of my experience:
Engage With Local Diverse Groups In Events, Meetups, And Hackathons For Diversity
A pretty effective way of getting some leads for interesting and very skilled people. People want to meet with like-minded people, which is why you will find plenty of them in one place. If you attend one of these meetups as a startup, I suggest creating a very approachable and informal appearance. People are there in their free time, which means you will have plenty of informal discussions.
And this is great! You don’t only get to know what skillset the people have, but also what kind of humans they are. If you found people to be suitable for your company, you can make a referral or speed hiring for them.
Search For Recruiters Who Are Specialized In Diverse Hiring And Get Access To Their Network
Especially working remotely, which has increased due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this is one of the best approaches. Recruiters who have this specialization already have built their network. I suggest not sign any contracts exclusively. If you find another recruiter, your pool of diversity in their network increases.
Why Is The Quality Better?
For once, the recruiters are interviewing you. They want to figure out who you and your company are, what products you create and services you offer, and what you are looking for in a candidate.
“We have a leadership position and we very much like to fill it with a woman, because all our other five lead positions have been filled with men already. Now we are kinda worried.”
A great recruiter also checks out your company culture and based on that information the recruiter will find a selection of candidates suitable for you.
For me, it was quite difficult to get female Indian engineers on board because the inbox gets flooded with so many male applicants and as a European, I had no idea about the Indian job market. I was quite happy about the help from two recruiters who contributed to the pool of female applicants. Unfortunately, the Indians LGBT community still has to grow, but it is not impossible to hire them too.
Diverse Employer Branding
In order to get people from underrepresented groups to apply in the first place, you have to communicate that you have a diverse-friendly working environment.
Think about what could be attractive to women, LGTB, people of color, with different religions and cultures, people with disabilities, etc.?
Did you know, that in Germany you have to pay a fee of 10% of your staff is not a member of the group of people with disabilities? It’s a fee that contributes to the group and their inclusion in society.
Parents for example need flex hours and flex work in general. Most of the parents who do the child-care are still women. Make it an equal opportunity for both.
Parents equally benefit from parental leave. Fathers are often discriminated against, too.
“Don’t you have a wife who takes care of the children?”
Create Events Targeting Underrepresented Groups Yourself
To attract people from underrepresented groups, you can create events yourself. There are many ideas:
One-Time Large Events
You can start an event that targets underrepresented groups for hire. This will strengthen your employer branding as you present yourself as a company open to diversity. Don’t be shy and don’t hide anything. There are fast-growing companies out there who have shared their numbers and have said: “And this is why we want to change it — With you!” If you take this strategy, people from underrepresented groups will see that you actually do what you are saying, meaning, you really tackle your problems.
This tip is something that has been implemented mostly remotely. You have the main stage and several booths that represent your teams and their projects. You have to have your employees helping you out. If you achieve to have your employees on board, it shows, that you have created a great environment and loyalty. People will see that.
If you like to do a regular event, try out a meetup. You will be able to get in touch with the attendees much better and have a deeper conversation with them. It doesn’t feel like speed dating and people who are still unsure can get used to your environment. This works remotely, too.
If you work in tech, try to get in touch with groups who create regular meetups themselves and offer them your space. If your employees are attending, this is even better. It creates a great community in your city and you will be known as a community-friendly employer where people start thinking about wanting to work with you.
Ultimately: Create Interest In Your Field — Start early and contribute!
If you think there are not enough women out there, it is not a problem. There is a solution for it. — Start early to get them interested!
As an employer, you can show people that you care about future generations when you start initiatives for young people. And this counts especially for underrepresented groups when they potentially want to start coding. You can pair up with schools, as well as coding schools, vocational schools, and universities.
Getting The Next Generation Interested In Tech
In my workshops for teenagers, I noticed that the split between boys and girls being interested in tech happens when they are between 10 and 12 years old. So it is recommended to pick them up before that. They don’t need to be taught how to program a full HTML page. They don’t need to know how bubble sort works. They just need to feel comfortable with thinking logically and more importantly, they need to be able to explore the tools they learn to know. There are plenty of playful programs that make people learn how to program. My favorite is Construct 3.
Why is it important to contribute?
Because, you have noticed that the number of people in underrepresented groups is quite low, especially when you work in a male-dominated or female-dominated environment. Here it is very important, that you and your company contribute to creating a better working environment within your field of work and not just within your company.
To Sum Up
There are plenty of possibilities to create a diverse environment without positive discrimination. A company just needs to tackle them. I have seen enough companies wanting to hire diverse, but even didn’t tackle the low-cost strategies and some of them are mentioned above as well. Do start hiring diverse early. There is a point of no return when diverse hiring will be even more difficult and therefore more costly.