It’s not enough to simply say you want your organization to be more diverse. Here are tangible ways you can make it happen.
In recent years, many companies have been emphasizing their dedication to diversity. But what does that really mean? If we look at Silicon Valley, whose diversity numbers continue to be shaky, saying doesn’t necessarily mean doing.
In fact, a recent LinkedIn study found that, despite the heightened press, a majority of tech leaders don’t know what they are actually doing to make their organizations more diverse. And unless real action is taken, 2017 won’t bring about any seismic changes.
For most companies, creating a more diverse and inclusive landscape involves doing away with common myths. As organizations begin think about the next year’s goals, here are some ways to help bring about a more diverse workspace.
STEP 1: ACKNOWLEDGE THAT THERE IS NOT A PIPELINE PROBLEM
Executives trying to make excuses for their poor diversity showings often point to what’s called the “pipeline problem.” The issue, as they see it, is that for technical roles, there simply aren’t enough qualified diverse candidates. The problem with this argument is it’s simply not true. Numerous studiesshow that there is an abundance of women and non-white people with applicable skills.
So if a company is trying to make an honest and concerted effort to create a more diverse workforce, they must first acknowledge that the issue isn’t a lack of candidates. And if they are only seeing a certain type of candidate, then they should begin to source talent from new places.
STEP 2: BE MINDFUL OF YOUR TALENT SOURCING
It’s not enough to simply say you have an open mind: Employers must actively look for talent in new places. Companies often rely on word of mouth or referrals by current employees. This creates a circle of like-minded people with often similar backgrounds. Instead, employers can approach new sources—different universities, for instance—to find candidates outside of their networks.
Companies like Github have been working to create partnerships with programs and universities that train technology talent from underrepresented backgrounds. While it’s easy to look within your network and find people who fit the description, this perpetuates a homogeneous work culture.
STEP 3: TRY (AS BEST YOU CAN) TO AVOID BIAS
Perhaps the most important way to make your company more diverse is to force yourself to think outside the box. As explained in the last step, instead of just choosing the top five applications from Ivy League alums, make sure you are bringing a concert of voices to the table. Pinterest’s chief diversity officer, Candice Morgan, told Fast Company at our Innovation Festival that the company interviews at least one woman and one person from an underrepresented background for all leadership roles.
And it helps to remove as much bias in decision making as possible. Recruiters can do their job blindly so that only qualifications can be seen.
But avoiding bias goes beyond just hiring. It’s making sure that people within a company are aware of how they present themselves to each other. To help with this, companies can bring in trained counselors to lead bias training exercises. Morgan added that she implemented this at Pinterest, too.
Continue onto Fast Company to read the complete article.