What tech companies are doing to boost diversity (and what you can do at your organization)

If you’re a tech business owner or recruiter and looking to increase diversity, there are many steps you can (and should) take. Diversity, of course, remains a major issue at tech companies, and it’s crucial that you hire the best workers from a plethora of backgrounds.

It’s beneficial for a number of reasons. “Promoting workplace diversity has many bottom-line benefits. But you need to approach the hiring process holistically — retaining employees can be more difficult than recruitment,” according to The Wall Street Journal.

First, look at the research at some of the world’s biggest companies, and it becomes obvious just how big the issue is in the industry, according to CNBC. At Apple, for example, “underrepresented minorities employed at the company grew from just 19 percent in 2014 to 23 percent in 2017.” Meanwhile, “the tech giant claims that 50 percent of its new hires in the United States this year were from historically underrepresented groups in tech, the results mirror the industry at large.” At Google the numbers are just as alarming. “Google’s overall workforce was 56 percent white, 35 percent Asian, 4 percent Hispanic, 2 percent black and less than 1 percent American Indian or Alaskan Native, and Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander,” according to CNBC.

But what are companies doing to tackle this issue and what can you do at your organization? Take Pinterest as a great example. The social media giant led the effort by publishing its diversity and hiring stats in 2015. Plus, as CNBC notes: “According to Candice Morgan, Pinterest’s head of inclusion and diversity, CEO Ben Silbermann and co-founder and chief operating officer Evan Sharp have set aggressive diversity goals.” This is something you and your company’s leadership should do as well. Don’t just talk the talk, but also effectively brainstorm and set goals that can powerfully impact the way you recruit and hire diverse candidates.

Beyond that, Pinterest did even more to put its plans into effect. “The company introduced its Rooney Rule-type requirement [referencing former Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney] for all senior roles, meaning at least one woman and one ethnically underrepresented candidate in the interview slate onsite. Pinterest also created the office of the Head of Diversity,” according to CNBC.

Consider implementing a Rooney Rule at your company: When you make key hires, ensure that you’re doing your due diligence to ensure the candidate pool is as diverse as possible. As a result, you’ll have a stronger pipeline of candidates to choose from, meaning your company will thrive as a result.

Additionally, it’s also time to hire a chief diversity officer at your organization in order to successfully prioritize D&I efforts (if you don’t already have one in place). Uber, for example, made waves when it hired its own Chief Diversity Officer Bo Young Lee in 2018, according to TechCrunch.

But what else can you do? The Wall Street Journal reports that you first need to brainstorm. “Develop a hiring strategy to make your workforce resemble the community you operate in,” according to the publication. For example, do the workers “match the demographic that you serve or want to serve?” If not, it’s imperative that you develop a plan with key stakeholders at your organization. Your diverse employees should also be included in the planning of your hiring strategy, to ensure the approaches and goals are realistic and inclusive in a way that feels authentic to candidates.

In sum, by following the example set by Pinterest, better understanding how big tech companies like Apple and Google are struggling, and implementing tactics at your own company immediately, you’ll hire more diverse candidates that ultimately boost your business’ bottom line.