In this day and age, diversity in the workplace is a business necessity. Diverse companies are outperforming non-diverse companies by 35% and are more likely to receive higher returns above their industry medians. In the UK, earnings before interest and tax rises 3.5% for every 10% increase of gender diversity. Even though diversity and inclusion are the strongest it’s ever been, we’re still experiencing ethnic minorities and women being underrepresented at senior levels.
Research has shown that a lack of diverse talent is only part of the problem in the tech industry. The lack of diversity can also stem from social and psychological barriers that occur across the technology pipeline. Along with a deficiency of access to education which obstructs the tech industry from diversification, it has also been found that environmental workplace problems, such as an unconscious bias and company culture are factors that can obstruct women and minorities from entering and progressing in the tech workplace.
So what steps can you take to improve diversity in your organisation? What can you implement into your business to ensure diversity and inclusion is addressed and embedded? Here are some ways on how to increase diversity within your company:
Communicate a diversity policy regularly
Making diversity an integral part of your business can help retain women and minorities. Therefore, you need to ensure to communicate your diversity policy clearly and regularly if you want to increase diversity within your business. Your diversity policy also reflects your organisations values when it comes to your workplace environment. It is a written agreement that you can provide your current employees and future employees with an anti-discriminatory practice that fosters equal opportunity. The best way to communicate your diversity policy to your employees is through action. The more you preach about the diversity policy and explain to your employees what it is and why you’re implementing the policy, the more they’ll take it seriously.
There are numerous ways that you can communicate your diversity policy: sending a press release to the local media, holding group meetings with your current employees, write content on your policy and publishing it in all employee and customer publications and hosting educational classes for the local community and your employees.
Educate and train
Employers should consider providing their employees with training sessions including exercises such as goal setting and perspective taking (considering perspectives of others). It is suggested that these exercises can help to improve diversity. Goal setting doesn’t just have to be career focused, but it can be adapted to employees, so they can set goals related to diversity in the workplace. This also gives all employees a chance to be heard by their employers. Providing training to employees can also help them identify their own personal biases and how these biases are affecting their decision making in the workplace.
Encourage minority groups – have a voice
To increase diversity within the workplace, you need all your employees to voice their opinion and contribute to the success of the business. One of the best ways you can ensure that everybody’s voices are heard is to encourage your employees to form resource groups. Resource groups can encourage minorities and women to feel more comfortable within the workplace which in result can help a business retain a diverse workforce. Several large organisations have resource groups for women, veterans, people of colour, LGBT and people who have a disability. Forming these groups can empower the small groups to brainstorm new ideas, products and services which can benefit the company and reassure employees that their ideas are assets.
Providing employees with a mentoring programme can help increase diversity in tech as it encourages all employees to progress their career in a leadership role. The six-month internships can offer underrepresented employees a mentor to help them undertake assignments and progress and identify their own personal objectives. After participating in workshops, employees become mentors for workers at a lower level where they can spread their knowledge and experience, they have accumulated over the past six months. Mentoring programmes can also engage both management in diversity and the retention of underrepresented employees. Regardless of gender and ethnicity, mentorships encourage mentors to sponsor employees to have key training which can lead to an increase of women and minorities in management and possibly senior positions.