Yesterday we hosted our webinar “How Tech Companies Can Create the Culture Shift in a Crisis”. We were overwhelmed by the number of HR professionals joining us and by the volume of comments and stories. We’d like to share our top learnings from that webinar so you can learn from it too. You can also watch the recording here. We started by discussing the current trends impacting Tech organisations.
First, we discussed how COVID19 exacerbates existing iInequalities in Tech:
Working mothers are most impacted by remote-work
“78% working mothers found it challenging to manage childcare and paid work during lockdown”
Women and people of color are disproportionately impacted by COVID19 layoffs & furlough
“The unemployment rate for women grew by 0.9%, versus 0.7% for men in the US since COVID19”
Isolated workforce is not heard equally
People in position of power in Tech tend to be white men and in isolation, people tend to connect with people who are like them. This means that minorities are not heard equally.
The Tech workforce is becoming dangerously homogeneous
“Google’s workforce is 69% male and just 2% African American. Just 20% of technical jobs are held by women”
We then discussed how remote-work lowers employee engagement:
Remote-work leads to lower employee productivity
“33% employees say that working remotely has somewhat impacted their day-to-day performance”
Remote-workers are also lonelier, more stressed and less engaged employees
“68% employees who felt lonely at work said it increased their stress levels. Employees experiencing loneliness are less engaged, more likely to take time off and less likely to make ‘discretionary effort’”
Overall we see lower employee engagement during remote-work
“41% of remote workers reported high levels of stress compared to only 25% of office workers”
We talked about how #Blacklivesmatter highlights racism in Tech:
#Blacklivesmatter highlights existing racism in Tech
“At large Tech companies, such as Apple, Google and Facebook, black and Latino employees combined represent only 3-5% of employees”
Tech perpetrates white man’s vision and racism
Frequent news articles highlight racist Tech
“Google autocomplete still makes racist suggestions”
We discussed how #Blacklivesmatter leads to boycott of certain Tech
Consumers boycott racist Technology
“60% of Americans would boycott based on response to George Floyd protests”
Organisations call for boycott of racist tech
“The NAACP and the Anti-Defamation League is urging advertisers to pull spending on Facebook ads for July, emphasizing the platform’s repeated failure to curb hateful and false content”
Tech companies must make anti-racism statements
“Twitter divided as Boycott Sainsbury’s trends in UK”
Some steps that Tech companies can take immediately to create the cultural shift in this crisis incluse:
1. Understand that diversity is not a feeling it’s a behaviour in action
Organization diversity is the function of creating and sustaining a culture of inclusion.
Focus on behavioural diversity and inclusion to improve the culture of an organisation; it also helps employees stay employed by sharing with them how to follow the organisational competencies designed by the organisation.
2. Get accountability within Top Leadership
Top management support is the first requirement in creating a shared vision for a systemic change; positive and lasting behavioural change is the primary requirement for a cultural change approach.
Change agents must determine how new behaviours will become a strategic advantage for the success of the organisation
For too many years, diversity and inclusion have been regarded as separate concerns. The reality is that it takes the top leadership of an organisation to bridge the diversity gap. It is the vision and commitment of the top leadership team that allows employees to be emerged in a behavioural process of culture change within the workforce and then makes them responsible for creating a culture of inclusion.
3. Use a Logic Model as The Tool
It keeps participants moving in the same direction by providing common language, points of reference.
Why develop a logic model? A logic model can be used for strategic planning; the process forces you to identify your vision.
Effective Communication: Logic models enable you to get a snapshot of the intended outcomes to founders, staff, policy makers, the media or other colleagues.
Evaluation Planning: A logic model provides the basic framework for an evaluation;
Continuous learning and improvement: it provides a point of reference where progress towards the achievement of outcomes can be measured on an ongoing basis.
4. Create diversity and inclusion goals
Diversity standards, policy, funding and evaluation process
Diverse workforce in leadership roles
Leadership professional development for a diverse workforce
Internal leadership support
Diverse supplier/vendor component
Leadership accountability on diversity and inclusion
5. Invest in professional development at all employee levels
Every employee is required to participate in the process. It is also important to highlight that professional development is only one component of a larger set of systemic changes.
Through intentional professional development, employees at each level learns about the systematic process of diversity and inclusion, the responsibility to make it work and how to practice and include in every facet of their everyday work.
They now conceptualise why diversity and inclusion are part of what they do every time they come in contact with internal or external customers. The emphasis is not on a feeling of diversity but on a behavioural approach to staying employed and meeting the organisational bottomline;
6. Appoint a D&I Professional
The D&I professional must have full support of the CEO, be part of the leadership team and empowered to influence policy; their title must reflect that commitment to D&I. Their duties will include:
Keep up on current equal opportunity and affirmative action regulations
Be versatile employee functioning with HR, Administration and Management
Mitigate diversity-based disputes and accusations of discrimination
Create and promote diversity oriented events, minority and protected class inclusion programs, cross-cultural workshops
Create material promoting inclusiveness
Ensure compliance with government regulations
To summarise what we covered during the webinar, we concluded with some statistics: in 2018, 14% of the UK was from a minority, London had 40% of its population from BAME background. Ethnic minorities are projected to make up 20% of UK population by 2051. One would believe that disparities in Tech would diminish but minorities still lag behind. As long as Tech companies continue to think of diversity as a feeling/program, minorities will never have a fair opportunity. Tech companies must take action now to create the culture shift in this crisis.
At Inspired Human, we believe that Tech organisations should achieve 50% of workforce representation from minorities. This is why we offer a diversity consultancy to help Tech organisations in their diversity journey. Book yours today: https://www.inspired-human.com/free-diversity-consultancy.