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  • matthewharland0

Diversity in the Public Sector: Being more diverse in the workplace

The tech industry worldwide has historically struggled with issues surrounding diversity. Since 2015, the number of women in tech has remained unchanged - sitting at 28 percent of the total ICT workforce.

As an employer, there are a range of actionable ways to encourage diversity in your own tech business:

1. Reduce unconscious bias

There are several ways you can reduce unconscious bias in the hiring process:

Have more than one person conduct interviews - It helps to have a range of people helping you to conduct interviews. Unconscious bias is natural, but getting a range of viewpoints on a particular candidate helps to dilute that.

Introduce tests. One way to both reduce bias and really get a feel for how someone is going to perform in their role is to send out a sample test of a procedure or process that occurs in your company. You can then directly compare candidates based on their performance in this.

Review your job adverts. It's important that there's no unconscious bias in any of your job adverts. Checking them for any accidental allusions to certain genders or groups will help with this. For instance, research from the University of Sussex found that words like "competitive" and "determined" attract more male applicants, while "interpersonal" and "support" encourage more females to apply.

If you ensure there's no unconscious bias in your hiring process, you'll increase your pool of potential applicants, meaning you'll have more options and are much more likely to get the quality staff that you need for the job.

2. Consider your organisation’s culture

You might say you're committed to diversity, but is that reflected in your company culture? Ensure you're creating an encouraging, inclusive atmosphere that's built on mutual respect and equality. For instance, have you thought about whether you've got sufficient flexible working policies in place? These arrangements allow those with childcare or other commitments to continue working, and by not promoting them, you might unwittingly be discouraging certain groups to apply. Flexible working policies can include:

  • Flexible hours

  • Work from home arrangements

  • Childcare support

It's also important to have sufficient anti-harassment procedures in place. If certain people are being made to feel uncomfortable at work, you need to show that you deal with these issues professionally and swiftly, otherwise they'll happen again.

Get everyone involved in your diversity efforts. This will help to show the importance of representation to everyone in your company and ensure they're all on board.

3. Encourage diversity early

One of the best ways to encourage diversity in tech is by partnering with schools. Try sponsoring efforts to get more girls and minorities interested in STEM subjects, as these are often required for tech jobs but tend to be dominated by males. Including internships or other training programmes as part of your school partnerships is also a good idea.

4. Diversify your teams

You should aim to get a variety of perspectives on each member of your team instead of having a very uniform, echo-chamber of similar opinions and perspectives – the best way to do that is to assemble some diversity in people you hire/work with!

A heterogenous hiring team can help to counteract the biases of a homogenous one. Include multiple people from different backgrounds (at least three) at each step of the screening and interview process to independently assess candidates.

If you have a team who have the same collective strengths, you are going to end up with a team that also shares similar weaknesses.

We all have blind spots and that is okay! Having differences of opinions in an interview panel will afford you the perspective to hire people with DIFFERENT experiences who are able to combat weaknesses instead of hiring to limit others to YOUR strengths.

5. Provide opportunities for growth

To truly champion diversity in your teams, you must also provide the opportunity to grow within your team. You can provide your own opportunities with people working for you!

Providing opportunities and having diversity in your team likely means that the same people are not always on the same project and different people get to experience in other areas, as well as have a say in the growth of your team and organisation.

Allow diverse members of your team to participate in areas they may not have experience in (Hiring, leadership etc...) Not only does it provide variety from day to day, but it also provides a foundation for future growth. As a developing professional who may one day hope to manage a team of his or her own, that early exposure to the hiring process is a great building block. To truly be inclusive, you must include!

Being more diverse isn’t only the right thing to do, it is immensely beneficial. Diversity helps you avoid hiring based on shared biases and helps you assess candidates in a more thorough manner.

As an added benefit, your team will end up with a more well-rounded view of the organisation and have a better experience overall, a true win for everyone.

If you're looking to boost diversity within your organisation, the team at Talent Consulting can help. Contact us today for more information or check out our careers page here:

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