There’s a lot to be said about diversity (or lack there of) in the tech space. It’s one of the busiest buzz words industry wide, every company wants to “increase” representation, every company wants to find creative ways to attract diverse talent to their organization, it goes on and on…
But who’s talking about retention?
Who’s talking about how to prepare a male dominant industry to not just work with but be inclusive of women?
Who’s talking about how to prepare diverse talent what to expect and how to thrive in an environment where they may be “different”?
And for God’s sake, who’s explaining WHY diversity is so important?
Some companies are better than others when it comes to communicating reasons for wanting or needing to hire more diverse talent, some just tell their recruiters to move the needle for the organization and leave it at that. Some companies even go as far to establish metrics for hiring diverse talent.
Does this mean that organizations are being asked to look at diverse talent with a different lens than they would non diverse talent? Perhaps.
Does this mean they’re always going to hire the right person for the job? Maybe, maybe not.
At the end of the day, companies are trying to do whatever they can to inspire more women and diverse talent to join the workforce and ultimately, their teams.
This is wonderful and long overdue!
But what is the longterm strategy behind hiring a more diverse workforce? There’s gotta be way more to this!
I’m not just talking about how you find talent, I’m talking about how you keep talent.
How do you keep HR violations (i.e. racial and sexual harassment) to a minimum? How do you teach teams to be more inclusive? How do you prepare these teams to have difficult discussions with their peers and empower them or remind them that it’s okay to use their voice to speak up. Or how to teach different genders, races and ethicities to always treat each other with respect and act professionally?
There’s a number of required trainings that companies roll out each year for compliance purposes. For example: sexual harassment is one we’re all familiar with and now diversity and inclusion are part of it as well. But do those trainings actually prevent sexual harassment from happening in the workplace? Certainly not. Side note: I would actually love to see data on whether these trainings even lower the number of cases filed over the course of a year.
So do we expect a 1-2 hour per year inclusiveness training to be enough to teach entire organizations how to work together? If that’s the only plan anyone can come up with, we’re screwed. Talent will end up jumping from company to company, hoping to find a culture warm and welcoming enough that they can see longevity and call it home.
As a whole, the industry and every company in it has to make a constant effort for this to be a longterm commitment and make a true impact. It’s something that will take years, maybe decades to get it right. The only alternative is running around for the next 10+ years using buzz words that hold little value and warrant a disappointing return.