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Building diversity in the workplace in the high-tech era

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Building diversity in the workplace in the high-tech era

​As the world becomes increasingly globalised and the talent pool expands geographically, business leaders in Asia are becoming more aware of the growing importance of inclusiveness.

They are seeing a rise in demand among young talent for workplaces that exemplify diversity and inclusion, and also witnessing their competitors increasingly incorporating new, progressive practices in hiring.

Creating an environment that is truly diverse and inclusive is not an easy feat. It requires dedicated time and investment from both employers and employees.

If done right however, the benefits of having a diverse and inclusive work culture and talent pool are immeasurable.

Not only will organisations be able to enjoy higher staff retention and engagement, they’ll also start to reap the benefits of creativity and the plurality of ideas that naturally come with having a diverse team.

As more organisations in Asia look to meaningfully build diversity in the workplace, here are four key areas for leadership teams to consider when developing a robust diversity and inclusive programme.

Create a culture that supports diversity:

Create a safe environment – Creating a space that encourages frank conversations without risks is critical.

Taking an active and conscious step to hiring for diversity can ensure that your company is truly diverse and inclusive in its work culture and practices.

Open support channels – Inherent or unconscious biases cannot be ignored. Organisations need to open conversations to explore these areas in order to create a truly diverse workplace.

These can be addressed in many ways, and companies can explore the best approach for them.

Develop an all-rounded approach to hiring:

Look beyond standard qualifications – think about the company you want to build, not just the roles you want to fill.

Hiring teams often get too caught up in trying to fill the short-term functional needs of the company that they forget about how each candidate adds to the overall diversity of approaches and experiences that will help steer the organisation towards growth and challenges.

Remember, skills can be more easily taught than aptitude and passion.

Establishing clear diversity goals – this is especially important for industries that are typically dominated by a particular gender, for example, the technology industry which tends to be male-skewed.

Taking an active and conscious step to hiring for diversity can ensure that your company is truly diverse and inclusive in its work culture and practices.

It may take some time to hire for certain positions in your company, but never lose sight of the goals you’ve set for diversity.

This will ensure that the talent you’re hiring will be successful in the organisation from a cultural perspective.

Build greater ownership among employees:

“Taking an active and conscious step to hiring for diversity can ensure that your company is truly diverse and inclusive in its work culture and practices.

Empower employees to take ownership in championing their own causes – this includes providing the necessary resources, such as budgets and dedicated time, to run initiatives and programmes within or outside the company.

Empowering staff to lead or start an internal cause-related initiative provides opportunities for them to meet with other like-minded professionals in the community, ultimately expanding perspectives and viewpoints.

Encouraging leaders within the company to also take ownership and lead by example – this is especially valuable for industries that are typically skewed by demographic.

An example would be for tech organisations to encourage female leaders to get involved in prominent women leadership forums to inspire other young female professionals looking to join the industry.

Engage the community actively:

Get involved in community events and common interest groups – sponsoring or actively participating in select community events, initiatives and networks that champion a meaningful cause or interest can help attract progressive talent, as well as build engagement with existing staff.

Proactively support the growth and development of minority communities – provide tangible support in the form of mentorship and coaching from successful peers to guide others who have similar aspirations.

This enables employees to look beyond themselves and their organisation to explore the role they can play in helping others.

To evaluate if you’re moving in a positive direction on your diversity and inclusion journey, make sure to conduct frequent check-backs and reviews of your goals.

Obtaining regular feedback from everyone in your organisation is critical as it provides a complete picture of how you are tracking.

These measures allow you to rally the support you need, or pivot and explore new approaches if goals are challenging to meet.

Having a diverse workforce also means being willing to take on challenging conversations that might be hard to broach on a day-to-day basis.

Empowering employees to openly share their diverse viewpoints respectfully helps to develop awareness and a sense of inclusion.

Together with the measures outlined earlier, this will ultimately lead to increased understanding and tolerance at the workplace, as well as improved cooperation and collaboration among teams.

This article was originally published on March .11, 2019, for hrmasia

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