Jan 25, 2021
In 2020, 2.3% of global venture capital flowed to female-led startups, despite women making up over 40% of startup founders. Women only make up 28% of the Australian ICT workforce.Indigenous people make up 7% of Australia’s population but only 0.1% of the Australian professional workforce. The above are examples of compelling statistics which have galvanised both Australian and global companies to challenge the status quo and set goals specifically regarding workforce diversity. Hiring and employee metrics hold people and businesses accountable to such goals and allow us to track changes over time.
In 2020, 2.3% of global venture capital flowed to female-led startups, despite women making up over 40% of startup founders.
Women only make up 28% of the Australian ICT workforce.
Indigenous people make up 7% of Australia’s population but only 0.1% of the Australian professional workforce.
The above are examples of compelling statistics which have galvanised both Australian and global companies to challenge the status quo and set goals specifically regarding workforce diversity. Hiring and employee metrics hold people and businesses accountable to such goals and allow us to track changes over time.
However, numbers and targets alone cannot build a diverse team that will truly add value to your company’s bottom line.
Diversity without inclusivity can quickly become a box-ticking exercise. While diversity means you’re bringing people with different backgrounds to the table, inclusivity takes it a step further by actively inviting them to speak at the table. Only by encouraging and supporting people of different backgrounds to lead can a company really see real return on investment (‘ROI’) from diversity.
The size of the ROI prize? McKinsey has consistently found that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 25% more likely to have above average profitability, compared to companies in the bottom quartile. When measuring for ethnic diversity, that difference widens even further to 36%.
At Lucida we believe you can establish a structured process, broken down into actionable steps, to facilitate a culture of diversity inclusion. To get you started, here are some options you can implement to bring genuine diversity to your workplace and nurture a culture of acceptance and innovation.
Rather than jumping straight to hitting your hiring KPIs for the year, take a step back to assess where your company currently stands from a diversity viewpoint, your diversity goals and why diversity is important to your company.
Are you hiring diversely but not retaining those staff? Or is it your hiring process that is filtering certain demographics out?
Metrics can come in useful here. Beyond quotas on gender, ethnicity, parental status etc, it’s worth experimenting with targets that reward factors like innovative thinking or low staff turnover. While developing these metrics, it’s important to consider how you’ll acquire the data to assess performance against them.
Finding diverse talent means using diverse recruitment tactics. Relationships nurtured through you and your team’s network, industry events and niche communities can put you in the position to approach people you’ve identified as valuable “culture adds”, rather than waiting for the right candidate to find you.
Consider the type of communities you are trying to reach and where they exist - on or offline. How will you adapt your outreach, depending on the community?
Once you’ve found your communities, how will you impress them? What sort of content do they consume and how should you adapt your language to suit the medium? This consideration stretches from the wording of your job ads and descriptions, to how your company is portrayed on social media and its website.
For example, masculine words like ‘dominate’ and 'competitive' have been found to deter female candidates from applying. What neutral alternative can you use to convey the same ambition?
It’s worthwhile reflecting on your current recruiting process, once you’ve reviewed your diversity strategy and avenues for finding and attracting talent.
Is your recruitment process designed with inclusion in mind or is it a one-way information gathering flow?
Simple tweaks to your interview process can go a long way to reducing bias. For example, asking an identical set of questions for all candidates and consciously selecting a diverse interview panel.
As humans, we’re layered, complex beings, so it’s no surprise that once you’ve gone through the hard yards of hiring someone, keeping them engaged in their new job is just as challenging. This is where the need for conscious inclusivity comes in.
Steps such as openly discussing the onboarding process with new recruits and tailoring the process to make them feel more comfortable, unique and special can go a long way in setting a good first impression. Ongoing investments in individual career progression plans and training and open reporting on your diversity success metrics can further deepen employees’ trust in your company.
When lauded for the launch of The Cultural Leadership Fund, a fund dedicated to advancing more African Americans into technology, Ben Horowitz astutely observed -
There’s talent that looks different and if you don’t have that talent, you might not be able to see it.
What we try to do is see talent that we are not… How are you going to hire it if you can’t see it?... We get a lot of credit for being nice, but we’re really just winning.
That’s how we see it here at Lucida. Building stronger and more diverse hiring practices isn’t just about “being nice”. It’s a necessary foundation for building winning teams and profitable companies.
Want to delve into more detail on how you can build genuinely diverse teams? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.