How To Cultivate Diversity In Every Area Of A Tech Company
2021 is the year that tech companies must take actionable, results-driven steps to diversify their industry. The tech world is severely lagging in diversity and inclusion initiatives, with racial minorities still ranking as less than twenty percent of employees at major companies like Google. Deloitte determined that 2021 is the year the tech industry remedies this issue. With more companies, especially in tech, moving to remote work standards, hiring is no longer limited by geographic region.
With this in mind, Deloitte said this is a prime opportunity for growth in the tech industry because companies can hire from a broader range of candidates.
While many companies have made efforts to diversify the entirety of their staff, senior leadership roles, especially those in the C-Suite, are rarely given to minorities. To create a diverse, inclusive, and sustainable workplace, tech companies need to invest time and money in all aspects of the company to make room for a broader and more well-rounded workforce.
Since 2016, Dr. Richard Munassi has been a leader at the Tampa Bay Wave, a non-profit organization that assists entrepreneurs and is dedicated to building, launching, and growing tech businesses. His efforts have largely been focused on creating diverse and inclusive environments within the tech sphere, through programs like Tech Women Rising, and the TechDiversity Accelerator program.
These programs focus on the whole of the company and how diversity and inclusion efforts can be implemented each step of the way. Here are the top ways the tech industry can address diversity and inclusion in companies.
Acknowledge Underrepresentation and Focus Your Support
Statistically, minorities make up less of the population of workers in STEM industries. This lack of representation in industries as a whole means that those minorities who do pursue entrepreneurship in STEM need support and access. Make intentional investments, whether financially or with your time, in supporting companies and initiatives led by minority groups.
When Tampa Bay Wave started, the company’s efforts were focused on more broadly supporting start-up leaders. When they began to recognize the lack of diversity in the tech world, they opted to create a diversity-focused cohort for up-and-coming tech companies.
For Munassi’s group, this means focusing their accelerator program on early-stage startups in tech that are fifty-one percent or more owned and operated by a minority, woman, veteran, disabled person, LGBTQ+ person or persons, or any combination of the aforementioned identities.
Acknowledging underrepresentation is the first step toward growing diversity in the tech sphere because it highlights where companies lack inclusion.
Understand the Long Game of Diversity and Inclusion
If companies truly and sincerely want to diversify their workforces, they have to be in it for the long run. It is not a one-size-fits-all solution and requires dedication and time. This means that any company strategy, from its inception, should allow for ongoing diversity and inclusion efforts over an extended period and in all capacities of the company. To play the long game, companies need to understand how inclusion can be improved in interviewing, hiring, onboarding, training, and then maintaining the workforce.
These elements are all-inclusive. Tampa Bay Wave found that, in their cohorts, they needed to support each minority-led company with resources for the beginning, middle, and end of their journeys to entrepreneurship and into tech-world success.
The companies selected for each cohort work in a non-competitive, collaborative environment and are provided with resources such as one-on-one mentoring, pitch coaching, sales training, curated workshops, networking events, investment readiness workshops, media training, and exposure.
Know That Your Investment Will Yield Results
Like anything, cultivating a healthy, diverse, and inclusive workforce will take time, but efforts toward diversification will yield results. With this in mind, understand that each step of the way is a critical part of the process. Know, also, that tech companies who pursue diversity and inclusion are leading the way in being solutions-driven and making a difference in their industry.
If your company hasn’t progressed in diversity and inclusion efforts, know that the status of the industry in 2021 won’t leave room for excuses. Diversity should be a focus of every company in the industry, and it’s growing more important each day. This is the time to start, whether you’re a student in the STEM world, a tech entrepreneur, or a long-established company. Focus your efforts on increasing diversity, building an all-encompassing approach that sets more people up for success.