Diversity & Inclusion

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending a diversity & inclusion workshop sponsored by Capital One. First off, it was very refreshing and supportive of them to put this all together without any pitch or catch. Just a great learning experience.

Nowadays diversity has become such a mainstream topic in the world of tech, but what does that word really mean? Too often, diversity means fulfilling a quota of some sort to have different employees with different skin colors or gender working at your company. But why is that important??  

 Reminded me of the old lemmings game

Reminded me of the old lemmings game

Although the word was never said, diversity helps you avoid groupthink.  Why is Mark Zuckerberg touring the US? Probably because he realizes that his company is pretty homogenous compared to his userbase. With increased diversity, you get more creativity and higher productivity. If everyone thought the solution to energy was in fossil fuels, would we have Tesla today? 

While I won't list out EVERYTHING we went over, here were some key highlights:

Rooney Rule - In short, the Rooney Rule originally came from the NFL where they require teams to interview one minority candidate when looking for a headcoach. It's since been applied more broadly to the world of HR and recruiting. According to Quartz, Facebook, Pinterest, Xerox, and Amazon have adopted it already. 

Stereotyping - How often do you catch yourself stereotyping in your regular life? We're all guilty of it in some degree I suppose but how often do you realize you're doing it when reviewing a resume? People have suggested eliminating even the candidate's name so you don't infer that the candidate is a particular race or gender. 

Bias Against Yourself - This was new to me but I have seen and experienced this anecdotally amongst friends and loved ones. Men apply to jobs when they only meet 60% of the qualifications but women only apply when they meet 100%. Source

diversity workshop.jpeg

Conclusion - I know moving forward that I will be balancing diversity with the need to move quickly. It's important to create a diverse and inclusive atmosphere so that colleagues have different opinions and aren't afraid to speak them, but also to be able to decide and execute...especially at a small startup. 

From a company perspective, it's something we'll definitely keep top of mind as we shape our core values.  From a product perspective, we've already had discussions around how to help our customers engage and retain their diverse workforce and also how to helpdiversity candidates lean in more at work. Comments always welcome at rfung@orzo.io