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When it comes to building an engineering team that’s innovative, productive and creates revolutionary products, it’s important to factor in diversity and inclusion.

In a survey conducted by Atlassian on the “State of Diversity and Inclusion in US Tech”, 80 percent of respondents stated that they think diversity and inclusion is important. However, “despite massive amounts of attention and discussion about diversity and inclusion, most of the tech industry is not making significant progress toward building balanced teams”.

It’s not uncommon for the tech industry to suffer from skills shortages, alongside a big skills gap that spans from entry-level positions, all the way up to senior developer positions. Seeking out diverse candidates from a global talent pool helps you procure the best engineers from around the world. According to McKinsey, 40 percent of companies in the United States face significant skill shortages.

Diversity in tech helps to increase employee engagement; data compiled by Gallup shows that improved employee engagement throughout the company produces 10 percent higher customer metrics, a 17 percent increase in productivity, and a 21 percent increase in profitability.

When creating your own high performing and diverse engineering team, there are a few best practices to incorporate into your processes. To help you create the best team possible, here are some best practices that you can use to evaluate your own teams.

Get Clear on Underrepresented Groups

Amanda Townsend, Director of People & Culture at Fivetran says, “defining underrepresented groups is the number one step of a sourcing strategy because a lot of companies are misaligned with what they consider underrepresented groups to be.” Furthermore, Amanda says that it’s essential for leaders to be on-board with the company’s definition of underrepresented groups.

When evaluating your recruitment process and who you want to hire and from where, it’s important to align on what underrepresented groups mean. If your talent acquisition is solely relying on referrals, it can be difficult to recruit diverse hires. One way to tackle this is to offer a rewards program to employees that refer diverse candidates from underrepresented groups. But, the key to implementing diverse hiring processes into your company is to source from a diverse candidate pool.

Be Intentional With Your Diverse Hires

As a company that wants to create a progressive company culture that welcomes candidates from all backgrounds, genders and ethnicities, it’s important to have that aligned throughout the entire company. Preeti Kaur, VP of Engineering at Carta says “As a woman of color in the tech industry, I often find myself leading the charge in a company about that.” Preeti also states that it shouldn’t just be her leading the charge, it should be employees within the company that have influence and reach to get processes amended so that underrepresented groups are sought out and recruited intentionally.

Diversity in hiring should be ingrained into the company as part of the culture and processes to put diversity into the forefront of the hiring process.

Hire Based on Skill

The tech industry thrives on the skills of developers that have learned their trade through studying and experience. Candidates can often face biases based on ethnicity, gender and other factors such as location in the world.

In the early stages of the recruitment process, your company can take the right steps to make candidates anonymous, basing their applications solely on their skills and ability to code. Codility allows companies to measure a candidate’s performance based on tailored coding assessments and coding challenges. This helps to recruit candidates without forming any prejudgments that are based on other factors.

Preeti says that at Carta, they have a committee that comes together to provide solutions on how to remove any bias at the start of the recruitment process. It’s also important to note that keeping your candidates engaged should be a top priority as it makes the candidate experience a lot more immersive and efficient. Spend some time with your teams to ensure that they know how to communicate correctly with candidates that have different accents and live in different locations so that the prospective employees can feel secure during the interview process.

Making the Candidate Feel Safe

Candidates that are located outside of English speaking countries most likely don’t speak English as a first language, so it’s important to create an environment that deploys patience and empathy as it helps to build trust with your candidate.

Candidates from underrepresented groups are also unlikely to be good negotiators when it comes to obtaining and securing an offer from your company. Creating a process that is intentional about making minority groups feel more comfortable can improve the diversity and quality of your hires.

Conclusion

The key factor to note when creating your own high performing and diverse engineering team is to leave bias at the door. All of your efforts should be geared towards being intentional about who you’re hiring and where you’re hiring from. Sourcing from a worldwide candidate pool may present its own challenges but the benefits ensure that you’ll get top tech talent with a wide array of skills. Remember that your company needs to include diversity and inclusion hiring processes that span across the entire company, and decision-makers must be aligned with these processes and policies.

For more best practices on ways to build a high performing and diverse engineering team, watch the, “Recruiting and Engaging Developers at Work” webinar featuring leaders from Carta, Fivetran and ITCraftship.

Sally Lee, Senior Lifecycle Marketing Manager at Codility.

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