Recently, we talked about some of the day-to-day events in a company culture that’s headed in a bad direction. Now, it’s time to examine some of the positive day-to-day practices that send a company’s culture in the right direction.
I once talked about why your selection process gives advantages to some applicants based on ethnicity and gender. That post assumes that readers want to have a diverse workplace, but today I’d like to take a step back and look at why it’s important so that you have more ammo to talk about this with your managers, clients, and colleagues.
Dear Corporate Marketing People,
I get it. The Pride parade has a massive audience. Getting your name in front of that many people can boost your customer base and your recruiting efforts. Sponsor away.
But please do not cannibalize your company’s Diversity and Inclusion budget to do it, Because what you are doing is not allyship to the queer community.
Bertrand’s Health Insurance has a problem. Their software system is hard to maintain.
The systems still rely on tools that had their heyday in 1990. The SOAP API doesn’t always return valid XML. The search calls take twenty seconds to return.
Bertrand’s CTO and CIO decide that it’s time to rewrite the system from the ground up.
And you’re going to lead the team that will do it. Congratulations!
Congratulations! Your startup is taking off, or it’s time to accelerate the pace of your internal project or consulting work. It’s time to hire more people to join your team. You have chosen promising candidates, and they have accepted your offers. Now all you have to do is wait until their start dates…right?
Not necessarily. If you want to get your new team members up to speed as quickly as possible, you need a system for orienting those new team members to all the important context they need to do the best possible job for you.
You just got an offer from that amahhhhhzing company with the $70M venture round and the [insert tech buzzword here].
Maybe the business is super-secretive, or maybe all their glassdoor reviews rave about how fun it is to work there. Beer! And Starcraft!
You show up on your first day, eager to meet all the badass women in leadership.
All zero of them.
I made an app that fits a linear regression model to salary data, then reports on how heavily the model weights each of five pieces of employee information to predict salaries.
Does hiring women or people of color affect a tech company’s bottom line?
But so what?
Numbers like these are uplifting, but they don’t convince companies to change.
So why not?
Let’s talk about two reasons:
- We don’t definitively know why diverse leadership improves a company’s financial performance. So we can’t draw a causal link that captures leadership’s attention.
- Metrics for overall company financial performance don’t motivate lower level managers and directors. Those lower-level positions, more than the C-Suite, influence the office practices that affect company diversity numbers. But those positions don’t get individual rewards when the whole company does well.
Let’s talk about both of these.
Then we’ll talk about a more focused metric that you can use to argue for, and measure the effectiveness of, inclusion-related efforts at your company.
Bonus: our new metric will help office leadership focus on retention of women and people of color, rather than only lamenting the pipeline problem.
Look around your office.
If you’re in tech, I suspect I can predict what you see: lots of white faces.
We’ve known tech to be a sea of white faces for a long time. Big companies respond by sponsoring code education programs and hiring (usually white) Directors of Diversity. But the numbers aren’t changing: tech remains 95-98% white, just like it was before the Directors of Diversity got hired.