Unconscious bias training won’t fix your diversity problems but it’s a start

If you want to build a better workplace and create a more inclusive tech culture, then you must do more than just one-off unconscious bias training. It’s critical that you are open to change and continuously improving as an organisation.

Diversity is not something that can be achieved with one training session or even one initiative; it’s a process that requires continuous focus to achieve sustainable outcomes.

The best way to foster diversity and inclusion is to take it out of the “diversity” box and make it a part of everyday business processes.

In order to do this, you will need to:

  • Make it a part of your hiring process: Think about how you can incorporate questions about valuing diversity into your job description and interviews so that candidates know before they apply whether or not they’ll be welcome in your organisation and will be measured on alignment. Using Inclusive Tech Tests is a great way to reduce bias in your hiring process. Our free Inclusive Tech Tests Playbook will help you create yours.
  • Make it part of your performance review process: Giving feedback on performance regularly enables leaders to both formally recognise positive behaviour in employees as well as provide constructive feedback where necessary so that everyone has an equal chance at success within their team/department/organisation overall regardless of their difference.
  • Fix the broken rung: The lack of advancement opportunities for underrepresented groups is known as the “broken rung”. This is the main barrier to advancement for women in tech specifically. Identifying the gaps that hinder the advancement of diverse talent is crucial and you should conduct comprehensive assessments to understand the barriers faced by them. These barriers may include biases in performance evaluations, lack of access to developmental opportunities, or limited mentorship and sponsorship. By delving deep into these challenges, organisations can begin to formulate targeted strategies to address them.
  • Gather feedback from everyone: It’s important to understand the sentiments and opinions of all employees, especially those who may be sceptical or critical of the company’s initiatives. Getting an 85% employee satisfaction score is not a signal that all is A-OK. Look into what is generating the 15% gap. Take advantage of forums, surveys, and feedback mechanisms to gather and analyse data on what’s working and what’s not and keep evolving your initiatives based on the feedback received. Look beyond the headlines. Where are differences in sentiment and experience occurring between genders and sub-groups? Get the right measurement and ask the right questions, tools like CultureAmp can help you.

Fostering a healthy, inclusive culture will benefit not just employees but also every aspect of your business.

Diversity in the workplace has been shown to result in increased productivity, innovation, and better customer service.

It makes sense from an ethical standpoint: if you want your organisation to be seen as a good employer (and who doesn’t?), then fostering a diverse environment should be prioritised.

But it also makes sense from a commercial standpoint. Women are not a minority, they represent 51% of the population and probably a big chunk of your customer base. By including women’s perspectives in your tech teams and product development you amplify your chances to meet your customers ‘ expectations and needs.

So, where to from here?

But to our main point, to create an inclusive environment where everyone feels safe sharing their ideas, thoughts and experiences – one in which everyone feels valued and respected, regardless of their identity or background – a one-off unconscious bias training won’t cut it.

You are looking at an ongoing process where all layers of your teams are involved and the feedback of all employees, no matter how confronting, is considered. It’s lasting structural change, baked into the DNA of your organisation’s MO.

The good thing is, you don’t have to come up with all this alone. The Project F Accreditation program provides you with the tools and guidance you need to make this work happen, do it well and see the results you seek.

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Further reading

How to build a genuinely diverse and inclusive tech workforce without underestimating women’s abilities and potential.
By prioritizing Diversity and Inclusion, startups can tap into a multitude of benefits that will propel their success. Let’s explore.
Uncover the differences between traditional and progressive HR and how the latter is essential to build diversity and inclusion in the tech industry, especially on the verge of the fifth revolution.