Research has shown that a strong commitment to supporting diversity and inclusion is one of the major deciding factors for candidates when applying for jobs.
As well as fostering a genuinely inclusive workplace, it’s also important for employers to actively demonstrate a commitment to diversity and inclusion. Communicating to employees, clients, competitors, and potential candidates the steps the organisation is taking to encourage equality and inclusivity is a proactive way to contribute to making the tech industry more diverse and less exclusive, as it has been for so long.
We’ve explored ten ways employers can demonstrate their commitment to diversity and inclusion in tech.
Being open and honest about the gender pay gap in your organisation will inspire trust and respect from employees because it demonstrates a genuine concern for pay equality as well as a commitment to face the problem head on. Proactive steps such as conducting a pay gap analysis report, equalising performance-related pay reviews, and posting salaries on job postings are all ways to show a commitment to diversity and inclusion from a gender pay perspective.
Unconscious bias is a real threat to making progress in increasing diversity and inclusion in the tech industry. If unconscious bias hasn’t been explored and identified in your company, diverse hiring practices will be more of a challenge. Ways to prevent unconscious bias from damaging diversity and inclusion efforts in your company include introducing variety to interviewing styles to move away from the ‘one size fits all’ model and towards giving everyone a fair chance to succeed, removing gendered and coded language from job ads, making data-based decisions, and advertising roles through different channels such as D&I focused job boards.
When employees feel supported at work it leads to higher performance and overall better engagement and staff retention. Inclusion plays a huge role in ensuring employees feel not only supported at work but recognised and valued for their individuality. Adopting a flexible approach to holidays and enabling employees to have days off to observe and celebrate religious holidays and events will demonstrate inclusion as a core company value.
One of the best ways to gauge how inclusive your organisation is perceived to be is to open discussion and encourage employees to feedback on their thoughts and opinions. This is an opportunity in itself to nurture inclusion because when inviting feedback employers can demonstrate that they value everyone’s opinions equally by giving everyone a chance to feedback in a way they feel most comfortable. For example, some people may prefer a round-robin style meeting to feedback to leadership through conversation, whilst others may prefer an anonymous survey or feedback form. It’s important that feedback is encouraged from employees frequently, not only because it demonstrates genuine care and regard of employee’s opinions, but also because to fix a problem, employers need to be aware of its existence in the first instance.
Building a multi-generational workforce is an important part of achieving diversity and inclusion. In the tech industry, millennials have been found to be more likely to receive promotions, this is likely due to millennials being a majority in the workforce, however, it’s sometimes the result of (whether conscious or not) ageism. People from different generations will have varying world views, ways of working, core values, and experience – all of which make for a more diverse workplace.
It goes without saying that there is no place for discrimination of any kind in any workplace. However, the reality is that discrimination does and is happening in many workplaces in tech. It’s important that employers are seen to be approachable when it comes to anti-discrimination in their workplace so that employees experiencing discrimination feel confident to address it with their manager and ultimately feel safe and supported at work. A way to demonstrate this commitment and approachability to employees is to install strong anti-discrimination policies, ensuring they are accessible to everyone in terms of both where they are stored as well as how employees received the information. For example, creating a braille version as well as an audio recording.
One of the most effective ways an organisation can nurture a commitment to inclusion is to celebrate difference and invite employees to take part. Here are some of the ways employers can celebrate difference in the workplace:
Gender-inclusive language is an important part of demonstrating diversity and inclusion as a company value, and encouraging employees and leadership to share their personal pronouns is a way to create an inclusive working environment. Ways to introduce this could be to include your personal pronouns on business cards, social media handles, or on emails signatures. Whilst acknowledging personal pronouns may appear a small effort, the impact it can have on diversity and inclusion efforts is huge as it shows respect for the identity of individuals.
Ableism can often fall under the radar of employers and halts inclusion efforts as a result. Ableism is a form of discrimination that assumes that able-bodied people are superior to disabled people. Ableism presents itself it various ways, from failure to provide adequate wheelchair access, use of ableist language in company policies and literature, the assumption that disabled people lack any bodily autonomy, the assumption that disability is always visible, building inaccessible services and products, and failure to comply with the Equality Act 2010.
Holding each other and leadership accountable for implementing, seeing through, and continuously striving to improve diversity and inclusion efforts is powerful because it prevents diversity and inclusion from being merely a check-boxing exercise. Upholding inclusion as a core value in itself breeds inclusivity because of collective responsibility.
Read more about some of the most critical diversity issues in tech that need to be addressed in the workplace here.