16 effective ways tech companies can build truly inclusive teams

Developing an effective diversity, equity and inclusion program is about more than checking boxes and its impact extends beyond the hiring process. An inclusive tech team is one that can better serve a diverse customer base and support each other. Technology company executives who do everything they can to ensure they are building teams composed of diverse backgrounds and experiences are making a smart business decision.

Developing and sustaining a truly inclusive tech team takes commitment and effort, but the results are worth it. Below, 16 members of the Forbes Technology Council share the keys to building an inclusive technology space.

1. Develop an intersectionality lens

One of the essential keys to building an inclusive technology space is the development of an intersectionality lens – an approach that recognizes that each person has their own unique experiences of discrimination or disadvantage. Understanding this can set the stage for a more inclusive work culture, increase retention, and increase your reach. – Tal Frankfurt, Cloud for Good

2. Be aware of unconscious biases

Develop an awareness of the prevalence of unconscious bias. Access to an inclusive tech ecosystem and tech product at any level comes only from an awareness of the need for change. This means that every stakeholder in the tech ecosystem needs to be aware of how unconscious bias and privilege lead to biased decisions. Sharing knowledge and facts is the only thing that will uncover the unconscious bias inherent in the system. – Willemijn Schneyder, SwipeGuide.

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3. Development of partnerships with educational institutions

Work with educational institutions to create a diverse workforce at the source. Foster interdisciplinary knowledge, select deep skills and a learning mindset through curricular engagement, internships and outreach. Organizations are often focused on hiring the “finished product,” which forces them to compromise or poach talent given the limitations of the talent pool. cultivate diversity. – Mayank Sharma, Vyntelligence

4. Open the access to the guide

Open the leadership environment. Create open access to specific executive meetings and invite all attendees to comment and contribute. Set up different media for feedback so introverted colleagues can voice their opinions. – Mark Moffat, PwC

5. Get feedback from your team

Listen to your team. An employee’s experience in the office is the most meaningful data point in this regard. Provide opportunities for open and honest communication. You got to Create safe places where feedback can be received. – Thomas McElroy, Level-1 Global Solutions, LLC

6. Empower All Voices

Building an inclusive team is about more than respecting different thoughts and voices; it empowers them. In order to build good software, you need a functioning social network that benefits greatly from different thought patterns and perspectives. Building this network is much more than “hiring the right people”; It allows everyone to generate ideas and innovate in a space designed to give equal weight to all ideas. – Jeremy Duvall, 7Factor software

7. Reach out to the communities you serve

A DEI program must be rooted in the communities it seeks to serve. For example, our student recruitment program utilizes career fairs and job fairs that are primarily focused on schools with diverse student populations. We also provide non-traditional learning pathways for entry-level roles to create more equitable access to opportunities in technology for underrepresented communities. – Milin Desai, sentinel

8. Learn what motivates new team members

When hiring people from diverse backgrounds, also take the time to learn what is important to them and what motivates them to perform at their best. It is important to create this environment so that they feel comfortable as they bring their true selves and diverse ideas into the workplace. – Archana Jain, Verizon

9. Consider a wide range of needs

Empathy is the key. Think through different scenarios from the employee’s perspective. Evaluate how your office could potentially be modified to make tools more accessible, or how rooms could be adjusted to accommodate team members at different life stages. Inclusiveness means addressing and accommodating a wide range of needs. – Jim Xiao, bricklayer

10. Strive for more than just demographic diversity

The essential key to diversity is to define diversity through psychographics, not just demographics. Seek out those who have different behaviors, different life experiences, and more differences than similarities in their lived experiences. – Amanda Richardson, CoderPad

11. Be radically transparent

Inclusivity is a cultural and operational struggle, not a recruitment struggle. To empower and empower team members, become radically transparent. Insist on written communication in a shared environment (we use Slack and Slite) and let everyone contribute, regardless of team or identity. Ideas bubble to the surface and we can identify and nurture talent without there being a filter on who gets the recognition. – Fahim ul Haq, Educational Inc.

12. Use expert help

get help. In addition to good social reasons, there are also good business reasons for building diverse tech teams. Engage with organizations dedicated to improving the working lives of women and underrepresented groups in technology. This can be a rich source of talent! – Ed Adams, Safety Innovation

13. Provide context for decisions

It is crucial to provide context for the decisions we make. Setting the context for a discussion helps the team be open and think creatively about solving problems. It makes the team feel more integrated, encourages better engagement, creates a higher level of trust, and most importantly, helps us make the right decisions to meet our customers’ needs. – Anandh Asokan, Thrivent

14. Be wary of affinity bias

Learn to overcome your cognitive biases during the recruitment process. One of the most common is affinity bias – a more positive perception of someone similar to us. Constantly selecting a candidate of your own race, gender or background takes a devastating toll on a team’s inclusion and diversity and severely limits the flow of different experiences and viewpoints. – Pawel Rzeszucinski, CentralNic Group PLC

15. Understand the ongoing work to create safe spaces

A key part of creating inclusive spaces is recognizing that human behavior moves on a spectrum and that workers at different times require different techniques to feel psychologically safe in their workplace. A good team leader recognizes this fluidity and continually works to improve safe spaces so each team member can thrive according to their individual needs. – Bilal Aijazi, Polly

16. Bring in team members who have walked in your users’ shoes

When developing a product that serves a diverse population, it is beneficial to have a diverse product, design and engineering team. It improves your user research and it’s incredible to come up with ideas with those who really know your customer and user demographics. I’ve seen designs flipped on their head in meaningful ways when a team member came in who put themselves in the shoes of the consumer or user. – Shawna Koch Mishael, Seneca Global

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