As some of us know first “coders” were actually women back in the 1940´s. Few decades after the war programming was still seen as women’s work, but slowly it started to change towards more “geeky male-dominated world”. Over the past years the discussion has grown more and more around the topic, why there is so little diversity in tech?
First the discussion was maybe more about the gender issue, why there aren’t more women in the tech? Discussion has expanded and nowadays we don’t talk anymore just about the gender. Diversity is so much more.
Heidi Pech, Futurice:
Diversity – being invited to the party
Inclusion – being invited to dance
There would not have been a better way to start Future Female’s 10th anniversary year than talk about Diversity and Inclusion in Tech. It is however one of Future Female’s main missions – to bring more diversity in tech. On 15th of August we were honoured to hear interesting talks from companies and people who already work with this matter and try to build a better and more diverse future!
The event was held in the premises of New Things Company, co-hosted by recruiting company Talented. Laura Toropainen from NTC warmly welcomed us to their beautiful and laid back office. Teemu Tiilikainen from Talented opened the evening talking about Workplace Diversity Through Recruitment. It was really interesting to hear views from recruiting company about the topic and it gave us all something to think about.
Most of the companies are looking for employees who fit in the work culture “culture-fit”, but that often means that people are quite the same – they laugh at the same jokes and they have maybe a similar background. For companies it is natural to hire culture-fit employees, because if the team’s dynamic is smooth, companies have happier employees. But as studies has shown more diverse teams create better outcomes. Diversity comes ofcourse with challenges and maybe with conflicts, but if they are managed properly the results can be something better than with homogenous teams. Great minds think alike but diverse minds can create something new and better.
Teemu listed few things that companies should remember to attract more diverse candidates:
- Go though your company’s job postings, make them attract more diverse candidates. Example there are tools like Gender decoder for checking your job posts.
- Mention your company’s policies. Studies has shown that companies who offer flexibility has more diversity.
- You can use different kind of applicant tracking systems (ATS) for recruiting process, so that it anonymises applicants profile and cv. It minimises the possibility for example gender bias.
- Studies have also shown that if company uses personality assessments in recruiting, they usually have more diverse workforce.
- When using referrals for hiring, you usually end up hiring like-minded people from homogenous networks.
When there is diversity – there have to be inclusiveness also.
Evening’s next speaker was Katja Toropainen from Inklusiiv with topic “Why we have diversity and inclusion deficit in technology and what to do about it”.
Katja Toropainen used to be Slush’s Chief Program Curator and she has really seen different tech companies from all over the world. And even we think that in Finland we have equality and diversity, example only 19% of tech employees are women. Katja decided that there needs to be a platform for discussion and place where to find information about diversity and inclusivity. Inklusiiv is sharing information for companies which they can utilise in to their different functions.
So how to bring more inclusivity in to a work environment?
Overall the change happens in three levels society (government policies and infrastructure), corporations (inclusive environment) and personal mindset (address an unconscious bias at individual level). But what we learned was that the best way to start doing the change is to start doing it now, with your own mindset.
Here are Beginner’s Top 3
- Start the conversation and learn about your own biases.
- Move for culture-fit to culture-add in your recruiting.
- Pay attention to inclusive brand, visuals and communication.
Go and visit inklusiiv.org for more information.
Last but not least we heard efforts that Futurice is doing with their employees. They have over 42 different nationalities working in their offices so they have worked with diversity and inclusion for a while now. They want their every employee has inclusive working culture. Heidi Pech from Futurice HR introduced their diversity and inclusion on-boarding for new employees and we had a little exercise in the end.
Diversity and Inclusion on-boarding program in Futurice involves and commits their new employees to their values and mission for creating inclusive working culture step-by-step. Here is a little summarising checklist from the on-boarding. Everybody can take these notes to their everyday life, and maybe even to their companies and start a discussion.
What can I do to create a more inclusive environment?
- Be curious about people around you.
- Be who you are. Different is the new normal!
- We don’t want you to blend in. We want you to stand out!
- Let’s celebrate our uniqueness!
- We love empathy.
- Assume good intentions.
- Use a language that everyone around you understands.
Futurice is not saying that they are perfect but they are on the right track. Everybody can be the change.
Thank you for all the speakers and New Things Company and Talented for making this possible. Let’s keep up this good conversation and let’s challenge ourselves and our companies!
You can watch the whole event from YouTube