Creating A Diverse Workplace: 12 Strategies To Ensure Broader Hiring Practices



Expert Panel, Forbes Technology Council

Successful CIOs, CTOs & executives from Forbes Technology Council offer firsthand insights on tech & business.

Diversity is a key part of the modern workplace. Without diversity, teams’ perspectives and creativity can be very limited, which impacts the environment, production, and even product quality. Diverse thoughts and backgrounds can create more well-rounded workspaces, as well as help products and services reach a wider customer base.

So, how can tech teams ensure diversity in order to create a better working atmosphere and end product? We asked members from Forbes Technology Council to share their best fix for encouraging broader hiring, along with how it can be most effectively implemented. Here is what they advise:

1. Remove Gender, Race And Ethnicity From Resumes

We make a conscious effort to remove candidates’ gender, race and ethnicity from resumes in the early screening process. We also have a policy that we will transfer sponsorship of a candidate’s H1-B visa if needed. In meetings, we explicitly request that all participants speak and are heard. We allow working parents time to take care of family obligations and support working from home. – Richard Petersen, JetStream Software

2. Be Open To Different Life Paths

Be open to taking the less-traveled path. There are many talented developers in rural communities who graduated from coding bootcamps. Similarly, vets or women rejoining the workforce often find a boot camp is a better fit in terms of time and cost and they are willing to work very hard to achieve career success. They will measurably increase the nimbleness, creativity and dedication of your team. – Michael Choi, Coding Dojo

3. Make It A Priority

Diversity is a core value at our company. We are a women- and minority-owned business with 45 employees that represent 12 countries. The easiest way to bring diversity is to make it a priority from the start. Reflect the priority by reviewing the language of the job postings, eliminate college degree requirements and encourage inclusion with minority empowerment in decision making. – Veronica Buitron, TangoCode

4. Encourage Referrals

While HR teams can be given specific direction regarding diversity goals, often a shift toward diversity within the office can be self-perpetuating once the foundations are set. A large percentage of new employees are referred by current employees, and encouraging this behavior with the right incentives can help a proper diverse workplace blossom. – Ryan Collins, Senior Flexonics

5. Talk About Biases

I believe that to innovate and win in ever more competitive markets, you need both great ideas and the ability to execute, and the best ideas and most creative and effective teams have proven to be diverse. To encourage diversity, it’s important to be aware of and talk about our own biases to ensure that the team looks for ways to expand their thinking and their hiring. – Mike Fong, Privoro

6. Partner With Local Universities

Diversity can be achieved from multiple aspects including cultural, gender, socio-economic, experience and technical skills. One of the best ways to achieve diversity with technology teams is to ensure outreach is happening in more than one venue and method. Partnerships with local universities and STEM schools can help bring in new and different ideas. – Michael Britton,Alliance Data

7. Hire From Across Different Backgrounds

Hire people with different cultural backgrounds and give them the same chances to grow with the team. Make sure to follow an agile team structure and encourage inter-team cooperation. – Carsten Giese, Nexthink

8. Cast A Wide Net

I seek out employees with a diverse set of academic, work and life experiences. We cast a wide net leveraging inbound, outbound and recruiting activity to source candidates. We evaluate these candidates through the lens of diverse stakeholders and implement a common process to limit bias. And, as we’ve built a diverse team, those efforts have become self-sustaining and reinforcing. – Jeff Wilkins, Motili

9. Include Technical And Non-Technical In The Leadership

We try to keep a balanced management team in the company and have both technologists and non-technical personnel leading the company and respective strategic decisions. A good example would be the company founders: One is highly technical and the other isn’t. – Adam Efrima, Blox

10. Hire Diversely Then Invest In Training

Greater diversity brings a broader set of perspectives and when people interact in a positive and constructive way within an environment like that, it typically results in a better experience for customers. That’s why the best tech firms don’t just seek to hire diverse teams but invest in the training programs that will allow those teams to grow and prosper. – Sid Yenamandra, Entreda

11. Boost Exposure

The implementation of diversity starts with exposure. If our educational system isn’t exposing people of diversity to technology, they will never come forth. The solution to this is to allow more diverse demographics the exposure to technology and the education of it. This starts with reforming our educational system. Without that there is no scalable solution. – Daniel Nyaggah, RASTACLAT

12. Search At STEM Commuter Campuses

Look at STEM commuter campuses with kids whose parents are not college grads. Sign them up as interns and give them a chance to try real tech work, not busy work. Look for the ones with tenacity and work ethic; they are anxious to prove themselves. – Steve Roemerman, Lone Star Analysis

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