Talent Assessment > 6 Rules of a Diverse Workplace
“Diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance.” – Verna Myers
In 2021, hiring employees for the symbolic “ticking of a diverse box” will not suffice anymore.
You will be judged harshly, and by millennials no less. A Deloitte study shows that 76% of millennials are empowered when they believe their organization fosters an inclusive culture.
Covid-19 has revealed the dark underbelly of the tech industry, sparking uncomfortable conversations around tech hiring. The light being shined upon prevalent biases in the tech industry and the lack of diversity in the workplace is more focused than ever before.
An organization looking to foster a diverse and inclusive workplace with intent knows that diversity hiring is only one-half of the equation. The other, more important half lies in ensuring these employees feel included, and equally contribute to the value of that organization. Companies are slowly realizing that an inclusive workplace has numerous tangible benefits.
With that out of the way, it’s easier said than done. Having rules and policies in place, and encouraging learning sessions that cater to the diverse community, can only do so much. D&I tends to remain a distant illusion until the people in your organization can bring it to life.
What does being diverse and inclusive mean?
The first thing that pops into your mind when you hear the word diversity is either gender-based discrimination or racism. But that’s not it. To be truly diverse at your workplace, you need to hire people from all walks of life irrespective of who they are or where they’re from. They bring varied talent, skills and perspectives to the table that will supremely benefit your organization. To put simply, diversity cannot be forced. You have to make changes from within the company, attune your company culture and align your hiring similarly. The minute you start hiring employees, for their skills and performance and in a non-discriminatory manner, diversity follows.
Inclusion, on the other hand, is trickier. Thinking that inclusion is just smiles and friendliness all around is a rookie mistake. The key to an inclusive environment is a meaningful and well-thought-out culture. Small gestures like observing diverse traditions, and holidays from other cultures, being sensitive to your colleagues’ cultural or religious practices and gender preferences go a long way in making an employee feel like they belong.
Recommended video: Beyond Binary: Normalizing Gender Inclusivity At The Workplace
When diversity hiring goes wrong
If we want a future where technology is inclusive and built with everyone in mind, we need a workforce that is inclusive, diverse, and representative of the market that a tech company hopes to reach. With almost every company hopping on the train to diversity, it’s bound to be derailed. The bigger picture will be lost in translation and diversity hiring becomes another trend that you are already tired of.
Ask yourselves. What is it that you’re doing wrong?
- Going through the motions of diversity hiring on autopilot and changing a few policies at the surface level.
- Forgetting that diversity and inclusion are part of the same package. If you do not foster an inclusive culture at the workplace, there is no point in hiring people from diverse backgrounds.
- Paying lesser remuneration for a woman or a person of color or a person from any minority group.
- Trying to foster D&I initiatives just because everyone else is doing it.
How can you manage diversity at the workplace?
For years, there have been talks about improving the D&I representation in the corporate world. There will be some noise made around this topic, some companies undertake diversity hiring to fill their quotas and then it all dies down. “Mischief managed”, if you know what I mean.
But COVID-19 made it difficult to steer the discussion away from diversity and inclusion in a workplace. Our recent developer recruitment survey showed that most of the respondents prioritized diversity in tech hiring, despite COVID constraints. And that’s saying a lot.
Recommended read: State of Developer Recruitment 2020
At HackerEarth, it’s back to the basics for us. We put great emphasis on communicating with each other and being open-minded. We approach with respect and shun anyone who doesn’t. We believe that everyone smiles in the same language.
Steps to build a diverse workplace
We have carefully curated an inclusive work culture following some rules of the thumb. Read on.
- Challenge stereotypes right from the beginning – Instead of chasing quotas and hiring people for the sake of it, hire them for their skills. Take away the personal factor from the process, and you’re one step closer to diversity. First impressions of candidates are often clouded by unconscious biases. Objective assessments and interview tools, like HackerEarth’s FaceCode can help keep the process blind for the initial stages (by hiding all personal information) and give a fair chance for everyone to succeed. A healthy mix of tools and human expertise does wonders to your workplace.
- Always encourage your employees to talk it out – The most important tenet while handling a diverse workforce is letting them be themselves. If that is being hindered in any way, employees should feel comfortable and safe in voicing their concerns to their managers – especially about their treatment in the company due to their gender, ethnicity, sexuality, age, or other factors. Managers should consciously try to use inclusive language, and facilitate multiple channels of communication where people can give feedback. Make it a point to address the feedback and take action.
- Recognize bias at the workplace – An employee from a different culture, ethnicity, age group or gender, does not always have equal opportunities for participation. If they have something to say, it will be heard only if you are willing to listen. Companies need to provide unconscious bias training for employees, and leadership programs for managers alike to keep their biases in check.
- Have an air-tight D&I policy – As a company, make your stand very clear on this. Have a zero-tolerance policy in place, where insensitive jokes and comments are not taken lightly. Ensure you have a grievance policy to action when non-inclusive behavior is reported.
- Observe holidays from all cultures – This might seem like a small thing to do but it’s an important one, nonetheless. As an empathetic manager, you can ask your employees to take a day off on their holiday, if they need to. Understand your employees’ needs and be respectful when scheduling meetings on such days.
- Reward employees on controllable criteria – Hold all your employees accountable for their work, against a standard scoring system. Performance evaluation of employees should focus solely on their performance and nothing else. Leverage quantifiable analytics and reward your employees accordingly. Do not let irrelevant factors like race, ethnicity, pedigree, and similar diversity factors influence your decisions.
When you are in a position to influence hiring decisions and bring about change, then you should go ahead and do it. Make room at that table. Embrace diversity.
An equitable, honest and pleasant workplace is the dream. Seize the moment to make this “too good to be true” dream actually come true.
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