Why ‘Cultural Fit’ Hiring May Not Be Right for Tech Industry DEI

Despite its focus on innovation and the future, when it comes to inclusion, the tech sector lags behind.

We are reminded every day about the importance of inclusion. However, often, companies’ actions to support this are temporary and may lack long-term sound and practical commitment.

But as we’ll come to explore, the tech sector, in particular, can benefit from implementing inclusion initiatives throughout the year. The main reason – not only social responsibility, but also a source of disruption in a sector that needs it the most.

To the year Let’s go back to 2007 and Fog Creek Software CEO Anil Dash’s famous essay, “The old boys’ club is for losers.” In it, Dash writes that by not seeking out new voices, Big Tech “might succeed in defending the male-only nature of the treehouse, but ultimately hurt itself into irrelevance.”

Dash’s words still ring true today as the “brogrammer” culture in Big Tech is now widespread. Many companies are stuck in their market dominance, and the satisfaction sector fails to innovate and grow outside of itself. This has produced a sector that cannot represent the needs and interests of an incredibly diverse world, post-pandemic, when people are looking for meaning.

Given the sector’s demographic weaknesses, this divide is not surprising. And that’s exactly what we need to reverse to disrupt the sector with bigger and better ideas. which depend on people’s lives. For that, we need better ways to drive inclusion.

Here are four simple but impactful tactics that companies should prioritize to make inclusion a priority in their business.

1. Redefine how your company thinks

Your company’s commitment to inclusion is something that needs to be reaffirmed daily. Not by putting a sign on your reception wall, but by reshaping your company when it comes to your culture, hiring and policies.

Oftentimes, companies look to hire based on “cultural fit.” This is an important but not the only aspect to consider, as strict adherence to it can introduce unconscious bias and result in a more homogenous group than before.

To really turn up the dial in your company, you need to think about educating your culture drivers. We created a six-week program to take our executive team and GMS on an exploratory journey when it comes to DE&I. This means education around discrimination, privilege, systemic inequality, partnerships, microaggressions and more.

Starting this restructuring process from the top down can ensure that the rest of your team has the resources and partners they need to make the change. Often companies try to “tack on” inclusion during “lunch and learns.” Real change requires proper investment.

The next step should be how you employ this “lens of inclusion”, so that it becomes an integral part of working in your company from the beginning of the process; It’s not an option that employees can afford if they have the time. Committing to this lesson upfront will serve your inclusion efforts more effectively than trying to retrain later.

2. Build a partnership ecosystem

If you’re serious about building an inclusive work culture, you need to be serious about partnerships. This is because everyone can be a partner and everyone needs a partner.

To build support systems for nurturing talent, you need to make sure you have the platforms and resources to make sure your employees are seen and heard. Visibility is invaluable in helping employees feel included and voice their thoughts and ideas.

Employee resource groups are the voice of your workforce, empowering communities but can also have direct contact with the business and management team. Clubs, events, and activities are equally important for educating your workforce and in some cases helping to address biases and encourage teamwork.

Inclusion portals are another useful way for people to educate themselves. Not everyone feels comfortable asking difficult questions in front of a crowded room. Such resources can give them the privacy and autonomy to develop their own understanding.

3. Create a policy change

Companies need to look at their policies if they want to build an inclusive culture. Spain recently became the first country in Europe to provide women with periods of time off. Equality Minister Irene Montero said the move meant Spain was “the first country in Europe to talk about menstrual health as a standard of health”.

Regardless of the country’s legislature, companies must take up the mantle while looking at their own culture and developing policies that support and promote inclusion for diverse demographics.

Your senior management team should engage with employee resource groups whenever possible to identify and implement policies for everyone, including abortion, pregnant, LGBTQ+ and neurodiverse employees. For example, we established a specialized treatment policy that provides funding for a variety of treatments that are not covered by public health systems or medical insurance, such as gender surgery, abortion and fertility treatments.

The technology sector prides itself on embracing creative thinking. Now, it must apply this to policies that promote inclusion and empowerment by removing stigma.

4. Hold yourself and your team accountable

Any truly inclusive culture requires full transparency and accountability for commitments and change.

We encourage anonymous employee surveys to help meet inclusion goals and suggest improvements.

Anonymous employee surveys can also give you the demographics of your organization to show what kind of work is being done to develop new processes and practices where everyone feels seen and brings their whole selves to work.

Being realistic about inclusion is hard. That’s why we’ve developed a three- to five-year inclusion strategy that includes representation goals. We remind ourselves every day that it increases, not decreases.

Building an inclusive culture is not something that happens overnight. But by taking the steps above, you can start to welcome more voices and ideas into your company—ones that your employees, businesses, and the tech industry appreciate.

Lotus Smiths is Head of Diversity, Inclusion and Culture at Glovo, a multi-category delivery app. She wants to create a healthier, more equitable work environment where everyone can fulfill their potential.

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