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Engineering diversity means building diverse and inclusive workplaces for your talent. By doing so, you also engineer greater productivity. In fact, a study found that employee innovation levels increase by 1.7x when employees feel included at work.
This article will discuss how building an inclusive internal culture, engineering diversity in leadership positions, and clear communication are essential for retaining underrepresented talent.
1. Build an inclusive culture around engineering diversity
Creating space in your workplace for diverse talent is essential for attracting underrepresented talent and retaining it. Our recent report on engaging developers at work found that work culture was the most important criteria when considering a dream employer for developers.
Here are a few ways to ensure inclusivity and diversity are part of your core company values.
- Inclusive team visuals. Whether promotional material or in-house presentations, making sure your company’s visuals are inclusive and diverse is essential for reminding underrepresented talent that they’re welcome and celebrated.
- Non-gendered vocabulary. Gender-inclusive language is a small change that can significantly improve employee experience and retention within your company.
For example, normalize sharing your pronouns to ensure that people of all genders feel comfortable being themselves at work. Replace “he/she” with “they” when referring to unknown individuals in writing, and don’t assume you know someone’s pronouns.
- Zero tolerance policies. There’s no place for discrimination in the workplace. Make sure all your talent feels safe in the workplace by combatting all inappropriate behavior.
2. Guide underrepresented talent into leadership roles
Connecting employees with mentors, implementing plans for change, and mapping opportunities for growth for underrepresented talent is paramount for increasing minority representation in senior and upper management.
Try the following:
- Connect underrepresented talent with mentors. Finding a mentor within a company can be difficult, and without one, it can be nearly impossible to ascend to a leadership role. Too little exposure to senior leaders and a lack of mentors and career support don’t provide opportunities for growth within an organization.
- Work towards long-term change. If you’re unsure where to start when aiming to provide opportunities to underrepresented talent, take a look at what large corporations have been promising over the past few years. Their commitments to change are a good starting point, but it’s important to remember that fulfilling these promises is substantially more important than making them.
- Set your goals and communicate your progress. Whether you hit or miss them, it’s vital that you show stakeholders that you’re committed to making the necessary changes. Even in times of crisis, there are ways to achieve diversity in engineering.
- Provide valuable opportunities. Checking in with underrepresented talent via employee reviews and feedback sessions is important for retaining a diverse and inclusive workforce. Ask minority employees what opportunities for growth they’d like to see and how you can be doing better to create those opportunities.
Also considering reading: How to Reduce Bias At Every Stage of Your Technical Hiring
3. Stand for something
The past few years have highlighted the injustice faced by many within our society. With silence not an option, companies scrambled to release statements regarding engineering diversity in the workplace and the wider world. At times, it felt disingenuous – like organizations were jumping on a new “trend.”
The same feelings arose during Pride Month 2021 when companies spoke out in support of LGBTQ+ rights. Consumers quickly pointed out that while these companies flew the Pride flag in June, they were funding anti-LGBTQ+ organizations and politicians year-round.
If things aren’t adding up, people will notice. It’s not good enough to speak up only when others around you are – your underrepresented talent wants and needs to see you lead the charge.
These opinions directly affect underrepresented talents’ desire to join and remain at your organization.
4. Hold stay conversations to nurture diversity in engineering teams
Finding tech talent is one thing; keeping it is another. This is no different for underrepresented talent – stay conversations are a great way to ensure employees feel valued in their roles. It’s an opportunity to connect one-on-one and discuss future steps – be that remote work options or growth paths.
These 1:1 meetings make space to update employees on company news and developments and offer them the opportunity to discuss their goals and aspirations for their work lives. Actively note what your employee is sharing with you, and ask questions to ensure they know they’re being heard.
Stay conversations are essential for building employee confidence, productivity, and engagement. You want to express that you understand that your talent has many options to choose from but want them to continue working with your software engineering team.
You might also like: Four Ways To Improve DE&I In Your Tech Teams
Talent growth is your growth in software engineering teams
An inclusive workspace, growth opportunities, and open communication are key for retaining underrepresented talent. Making actionable plans to champion diversity in engineering amongst your workforce is highly valuable to the company.
Most importantly, listen to your underrepresented talent when they share their thoughts, goals, and aspirations – and follow through with what you say together. Their growth is your growth. Championing diversity in engineering is a win for your software engineering team and an exemplary contribution toward future tech teams to come.
Ready to start building diverse engineering teams by mitigating bias your recruitment processes? Then check out how Codilty’s skills-based hiring platform can help.