In recent years, we’ve seen a pronounced shift in the conversation around diversity and inclusion in the business world. An ever-growing number of organizations, from budding startups to Fortune 500 giants and beyond, are making diversity and inclusion a priority, investing in more initiatives and viewing diversity as a driving force behind long-term growth and success. While it’s important to acknowledge and commend the positive changes happening across tech globally, it’s not the time to rest on our laurels just yet—there’s still a lot of work to be done in the way of achieving real gender equality and put an end to corporate bias in its various forms.
Diversity in Tech Today
While the tech sector is taking steps towards creating a more inclusive business landscape, it seems to be lagging behind other industries when it comes to really promoting diversity and inclusion internally. STEM industries certainly are notorious for employing primarily white males and evoking a kind of “boys’ club” mentality, which deters other genders and ethnicities hoping to forge a career there. Take Google’s employee numbers, for example; just 2% of Google’s 100,000 employees are African American, and only 20% of its technical roles are held by women. Other tech titans like Salesforce and Microsoft have made a clear effort to narrow the pay gap recently, but this needs to become the norm rather than the glowing exception.
Dig down to the root of the problem, and you’ll find that a lack of awareness surrounding diversity and inclusion policies stands as a major contributor. Tackling the issue head-on makes sense from a strategic perspective too; a more inclusive workplace means your employees feel happier and more empowered to innovate, grow, and help you outperform your competitors.
Every one of your employees is a potential ambassador for your brand. A workforce that feels heard, respected, and connected is one that feels positive about its employer, and that kind of currency will take you far when it comes to attracting the kind of high-caliber talent you want to drive your business forward.
The Modern Tech Professional
Right now, the tech job market is a skilled candidate’s dream. Organizations across the US and the rest of the world are clamoring to hire—and more importantly, retain—the very best talent in their respective ecosystems. Gone are the days where a higher salary would be enough to nudge a potential hire in your direction; to the majority, the most attractive job offer is less about money and benefits, and more about company culture, professional development, and the core values upheld by the organization they’re considering.
Businesses looking to stay relevant and attract top-tier professionals can’t get away with simply paying lip service to diversity policies. The modern professional expects and demands transparency from current and potential employers, and this is particularly true of millennials; a recent report from Baker McKenzie revealed that a whopping 80% of millennial respondents wouldn’t even apply for a role if they felt the company in question had a gender pay gap. This only bolsters the already long-overdue message that businesses need to focus on equality and be transparent about where they stand on diversity and inclusion, especially when looking for fresh talent in an industry as fiercely competitive as tech.
If your business is operating on a global scale, diversity and inclusion become an even more integral part of sustained growth an international success. No matter what niche you specialize in, richness of cultures and genders in your workforce leaves you better equipped to work across different parts of the world, with an authentic understanding of the people—and markets—you work with.
Your Diversity Statement and Internal Marketing
More businesses are sitting up and taking stock of what they’re really doing to fly the flag for diversity and inclusion in the wider community, but employee-facing strategies are often left on the backburner. Actually creating a diversity policy for your organization is only the beginning of the journey; the real work comes with promoting and supporting that strategy internally with the same marketing zeal that goes into your customer-facing efforts.
We need to change our perception of internal marketing from something of an afterthought to a key consideration baked into the core of an organization’s infrastructure. Your efforts in communicating company values to your workforce clearly and enthusiastically has an impact not only on employee satisfaction and morale but supports the delivery of exceptional customer service too.
According to a recent survey of the ServiceNow community, almost a third (29%) of professionals said they weren’t even sure whether or not their company had a diversity statement, while 8% said their employer simply didn’t have one.
The fact that a significant number of employees experience a bit of a blind spot when it comes to their employer’s diversity statement indicates a lack of internal marketing to support it. It could be as simple as raising awareness through a company newsletter, organizing events to support diversity initiatives, or providing training to educate your people on the ins and outs of your organization’s values and protocols.
Effective internal marketing is critical to rolling out a successful diversity and inclusion policy—one that has the power to effect real change and contribute to the fight for equality in a positive, pro-active way while attracting more-diverse talent to enrich your workforce like never before.