5 strategies for building a more diverse and inclusive tech workplace

Front view of diverse business people looking at camera while working together at conference room in a modern office

The tech sector has always been incredibly fast paced, with the pandemic creating even more demand for new products and services—and the professionals that can work with these.

But with available tech talent still lacking in its diversity, we need to bring these underrepresented groups into the influx of tech roles we’re seeing crop up.

We’ve already made some impressive progress in places. However, with research from Ten Spot revealing that an alarming 70% of people report having experienced discrimination or abuse at work, we still have work to do to make our workplaces safe and welcoming for people from diverse backgrounds—and here are five ways you can do this.

  1. Be transparent with data reporting

Data is a powerful tool to help people acknowledge and understand a problem—and when used correctly, it can drive important decision-making in a range of areas, like diversity.

Although it can be a sensitive topic, it’s important that you’re transparent with reporting your diversity findings. For example, Google’s 2021 Diversity Annual Report revealed that the number of females hires they made globally in 2021 (33.7%) was almost half of that of male hires (66.3%). By honestly communicating these figures, they—and others—can hold them accountable for making a change. Plus, they’ll have something to refer to in future to see how effective these changes have been. So, be honest with your data and let it encourage you to do better.

  1. Welcome constructive criticism

Diversity has so many different rungs to it, so realistically, none of us are ever going to do anything perfectly—but we can try! Continuing to challenge ourselves and welcome a diversity of thought can make a huge change to the process, and accepting constructive criticism is critical to how well your strategy improves.

Society changes so quickly and working with feedback from people immersed within it ensures you stay up to date with these changing demographics, as well as allowing you to think about diversity on a deeper level, for example, thinking about the intersectionality of a demographic.

To get the best feedback, you need to go straight to the source and ask the people who live and breathe as part of the societal group you’re trying to improve the diversity of. In doing this, you’ll receive the most relevant and in-depth information that you can then use to make the most impactful changes.

  1. Diversify your talent pool during recruitment

The whole point of the hiring process is to find top talent, but when your talent pool is restricted, you also limit the people you will reach with your job ads, or who will apply. And with research from Gartner revealing that workplace performance improves by 12% in a diverse company culture, it’s clear we shouldn’t be omitting anyone from our search.

When you have a team of people that have had varied life experiences, and can offer diversity of thoughts and strengths, your ideation pool will also become larger and your chances of coming up with successful solutions will be much higher. Not only that, but it can improve your workplace inclusivity as your employees will be more exposed to different races, religions, values, and beliefs.

Taking the time to work on diversifying your talent pool and essentially, your workforce, can support your long-term ED&I strategy, as prospective employees will see the representation you have built within your company—making them more likely to want to join. You need to, however, ensure that diverse talent appears in every level and area of the business, because as humans, we always look out for people that look like us—and when we don’t see this, it can mean we don’t apply. To tackle this, it can help to build a diverse panel for interviews to remove any unconscious bias and ensure that the right people land the right positions.

  1. Celebrate cultural differences internally and externally

The only way we can build an inclusive workplace is if we work to understand each other’s differences and cultures—and ultimately, respect them. Because after all, the more we learn about each other, the more accepting we can be of one another.

For most U.K businesses, the Christmas period is a given for celebration, but what about all the other celebrations that happen throughout the year for different religions? Festivals like Eid, Diwali, and Chanukah are highlights on other religious calendars and educating your employees on this can be a way of opening their eyes to different cultures and will also help the religious groups that celebrate these events to feel less separated from their colleagues—particularly if they know others understand the premise behind these.

But remember—your diversification efforts don’t just need to be done internally, but rather celebrating your teams’ differences externally can also help. When people from these societal groups see you representing them on a wider scale, they’re sure to feel valued and understood. So, consider holding some social events or fundraisers to raise team spirit and help attract more diverse talent in the future.

  1. Provide inclusion training

One of the simplest, but most effective ways of creating an accepting workforce is to provide your employees with inclusion training to teach them about the groups of people they might meet in the workplace, and how they should treat them. By ensuring everybody undertakes this training, you can be sure your employees know what is, and what’s not acceptable.

At some point, we’ll all fall victim to unconscious biases about people, and diverse groups can often bear the brunt of this. So, it’s important that your staff also understand how to identify harassment, bullying, and discrimination in the workplace—and these courses can help develop their knowledge of this.

Ensuring you have a diverse workplace can open your business up to a range of fresh ideas and perspectives. And can make for a happier, more productive and inclusive place for everybody.

About the author

Caroline Fox is the Global EDI Leader at cloud talent solution firm, Tenth Revolution Group. Inspired by advances made to address ED&I with real action over recent years, Caroline is passionate about encouraging everybody to drive their diversity efforts forward.