Diversity within a company is beneficial for the business as a whole, offering a range of ideas, skills and experience that can lead to progress and expansion. With technology being such a huge part of modern business, improving diversity in IT can help to lead to innovation and avoid ideas becoming stagnant or one dimensional.
With this in mind, companies need to actively encourage diversity in IT, allowing for more women and different ethnic backgrounds to enter the sector and so reap the rewards for doing so. This isn't always as simple as hiring a more diverse workforce, as you need to have a thorough understanding of why a company may not already be diverse and what issues could get in the way of broadening your employee base.
To allow you to do this, there are some steps to take that can ultimately lead to a boost in the diversity levels of your IT department.
Measure diversity data
As with any other business goal, diversity has trackable data that can allow you to see what areas need to be improved and to assess the best way to achieve this. Before setting out to improve IT diversity, you need to look at how to report on it so you are better able to track progress.
Fast Company highlights the importance of using practices that are research-based so as to implement diversity-boosting strategies. Continuous tracking also allows you to then measure progress and amend goals as and when the need arises.
Having this data to back up plans to improve IT diversity will also ensure adequate support from stakeholders and provide insight on what isn't working and why.
Consider name-blind recruitment
One way to ensure that your recruitment processes are as fair and unbiased as possible is to consider name-blind methods. The process has names removed from applications to allow hiring managers to focus on the skills and experience alone.
The Financial Times reports that the CBI business lobby group has made calls for blind recruitment to become more commonplace in a bid not only to improve diversity but improve confidence among applicants that their CV will be fairly considered. Methods like this can encourage under-represented groups in the IT sector to apply for jobs, which can, in turn, boost the diversity of your workforce.
Assess company culture
A big part of attracting and retaining talent in IT is the culture of a company. If this doesn't encourage diversity and is too weighted in one direction, it can put off potential employees and make them harder to keep if they are hired.
Assessing the company culture by asking for employees’ views on a regular basis and seeking ideas on how it can be improved can help to create a business that is inclusive. In a sector like IT, which is still primarily dominated by men, this can help with the hiring process and staff retention.
Focus on retention
Hiring a more diverse IT workforce is just the start, as keeping it is often the biggest challenge for companies. The main factor that can affect the level of diversity among your employees is failing to look at what is going to affect different groups from staying with the business.
Collecting adequate data on diversity within an organization can help you to see which areas suffer from poor staff retention, suggests Randstad. This can ensure that you are addressing the real issues as to why retention among certain groups is low, rather than making assumptions of what the issues could be.
Once you have this information, you are better able to create a strategy that meets the needs of your company and employees in order to drive retention and maintain current levels of diversity, if not improve them.