How to Improve Diversity in the Workplace
VP Product at Aircall
About a year ago, we started noticing some behaviors within the company that were not completely respectful in terms of diversity. It was brought to our attention that a higher percentage of the company was more men than women, especially within a tech teams and we could see this trend on other teams as well. Two women from the product team came to me and told me that they felt they could do something to help the situation and suggested we discuss it.
First, I offered to create a diversity team which began with just three people and grew to 10 people. These include men and women from different teams and nationalities. We started having a lunch meeting every two to three weeks to discuss the problems we saw and look for ways to find solutions. We ended up with a presentation full of recommendations within the leadership team to work on diversity in the company. Not simply just around men and women, but also to attract people with different genders, religions, sexual orientations, etc. We wanted to focus on the fact that this situation came from different people on different teams and that there were easy solutions to put into place. We identified several areas of improvements such as hiring, well-being in general, image as a company. For these three areas, we came up with quickwins and more long term projects For example, going through the hiring section and proofreading all of the job descriptions on our website to make sure they weren't gender oriented was identified as a quickwin for hiring. We identified key people on our leadership team to be responsible for those areas and we started implementing smaller ideas. Following our presentation in the leadership team, our CEO also insisted on presenting himself to the company the situation and the solutions.
When starting to discuss those issues, I personally had two preconceived ideas that proved to be wrong. First, I assumed that this discussion would not be well received by the rest of the company and the leadership team - it turned out that everybody was very open to discuss it. Second, I realized that most simply did not realize the impact of their words and behaviors. . We have seen significant improvement since then - however changing thoughts and behaviors doesn't happen overnight, so this is something we are continually working on.
Be notified about next articles from Maïa Metz
VP Product at Aircall
Connect and Learn with the Best Eng Leaders
We will send you a weekly newsletter with new mentors, circles, peer groups, content, webinars,bounties and free events.