Diversity is an increasingly important consideration for employers in all sectors. Businesses large and small now seek to recruit candidates of different genders, ethnicities, ages and backgrounds in an effort to create a more inclusive and balanced workforce.
A number of tech teams have missed out on diversity, which has resulted in fewer creative minds and perspectives contributing to the industry’s advancement. However, more technology companies are fighting for equality on their teams.
So what processes work? Below, nine members of Forbes Technology Council share their recommendations for improving your hiring strategies and seeking a broader pool of candidates. Here’s what they advise:
1. Review Your Hiring Practices Regularly
Engage directly with your existing tech team by establishing values and criteria that include diversity. In the continuous process of hiring, our business team and peer networks, along with our internal team, review of objectives for intentional expansion monthly. – Dean Sutton, Northstar Venture Technologies Inc.
2. Include A Diverse Panel Of Team Members In The Hiring Process
Encouraging growth in diversity starts with the team you have. Qualified candidates from non-traditional backgrounds will assess your team during the interview process. It’s essential that they get the impression they will be able to participate as first-class members of your team. That won’t happen unless you make inclusion and diversity part of your culture. – Paul Keister, Horoscope.com, Inc.
3. Set Expectations For Your Recruiters
Demand that recruiters make an extra effort to include diversity in candidate pools. If they present a group of homogenous candidates, refuse to start interviewing until it’s fixed. – Sean Glass, Advantia Health
4. Celebrate Each Team Member’s Uniqueness And Strengths
We believe there is a direct link between a diverse employee base and innovation. Our team, built from a wide variety of backgrounds, comes together and creates great things. It’s important to celebrate individual strengths and the aspects that make each one of us unique. – Suresh Vasudevan, Sysdig
5. Educate The Next Generation To Encourage Interest In Tech Careers
The key to broader hiring that encourages diversity of perspectives begins well before a company starts a search. As with most fields in the sciences, there is an image problem in tech — one that needs to be addressed at the primary education level onward. Companies need to invest time in educating younger generations about their field while also actively making it an attractive career option. – Eranga Devasurendra, Twin City Clarage
6. Give Everyone In The Company A Voice
Diversity in any team starts from the top — it’s the diversity within the founding team and leadership team. Become a listener and give everyone a chance to speak up. Encourage the mentality of being allowed to be wrong and allowed to fail. Weave open communication, trust and doer mentality into your company culture. – Masha Sharma, RealAtom
7. Purposely Seek People Who Disagree With You
Creativity is about the diversity of voices and opinion. It takes a lot of guts to surround myself with people who do not agree with me, challenge me and often upset me, because they are not focused on saying “yes” to me and making my life easy. Instead, they really believe in their own vision. Dissonance is the mother of creativity. – Gabriel Fairman, Bureau Works
8. Look Beyond Skills
One of the first steps to improving team diversity when hiring is to open up the pool of candidates that you will consider for various roles. We typically know the skill set needed for a role, but we pigeon-hole ourselves in hiring for an exact match on skill set only. We should be looking for more variables, such as accountability, energy and personal goals that align with the overall company goals. – Al Torres, SummitSync
9. Set The Example For Your Team
Model behaviors and the cultural understanding that diversity is of value to the organization and to the individual. The fix must start with crafting a set of organizational values that help influence a culture that supports it. To reinforce the prominence of this subject, a cross-organizational team should be created to help define measures of diversity. – Michael Dawisha, Michigan State University
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