Diversity is one of the keys to a successful engineering team. Diversity is important because businesses that have a range of talent are proven to be more creative and productive. A diverse workforce will give your organization a much better chance of attracting and retaining top talent. Companies with an inclusive culture also tend to be more profitable. Here are some tips that will help you improve diversity in your organization.
Begin at the Top
Diversity and inclusion matter at every level, but it is most important at the executive level. Company leaders establish expectations and create policies and processes. If all leaders think the same way, these policies and processes are likely to contain biases that negatively affect marginalized groups. When there are people from a range of experiences and backgrounds in leadership roles, you also send a clear message that you value inclusion.
Identify Your Biases
No matter how inclusive you think you are, everyone has biases they likely don’t even realize they have. Most leaders believe in equality and want a diverse team, but unconscious biases often become an unforeseen obstacle. For example you may set a goal to hire more diverse employees but have interview questions or job descriptions that scare off marginalized groups. As a company, you need to actively look for biases that you might have and take steps to eliminate them.
Think about How You Define Diversity
Most of us use our eyes to define diversity. We compare how people look. But diversity is more than just gender and ethnicity. A diverse team doesn’t appear different, they have different experiences and thought processes. It’s important to have a team who will approach problems from unique angles and come up with creative solutions. Diversity is also about hiring people who have distinct skill sets. If there is overlap in the skills that your team members have, you are optimizing talent.
Make It Clear You Promote Inclusivity
Make an official equal opportunity policy and be transparent enough that anyone looking into your organization will know where you stand. Then take steps to be sure the policy is enforced. Minorities often experience discrimination, so they are more likely to apply for a position if they know that the organization values diversity. Make diversity part of the company’s culture. You want inclusion to be a part of your overall reputation as a company.
If you want a team that brings together professionals with distinct skills, experiences, and thinking patterns, you need a hiring process and company practices that promote diversity. With increased diversity, you will attract better talent, create a stronger company culture, and likely increase revenue.
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