Companies lose good talent every day because they fail to address systemic inequities. Even deciding where to start can feel overwhelming. The ACT Report suggests a path forward by implementing the M.O.S.T. important recommendations for achieving DEI.
M – Model and Incentivize Inclusive Leadership
Increase your personal DEI expertise. Like any skill, becoming an inclusive leader takes time and practice. A great DEI advocate must be willing to make mistakes, model a growth mindset, and hold themselves accountable for outcomes. Personally engage. An inclusive culture won’t happen without the visible, persistent engagement of the CEO and C-suite.
Establish DEI as a business imperative. CEOs must drive an ongoing conversation on DEI within their organizations, and embed accountability for DEI into the heart of their business plan.
O – Operationalize DEI Throughout the Business
Support DEI with funding, metrics, strategies, and accountability. CEOs must approach and resource DEI like any other business imperative. Companies will only move the needle by introducing systemic approaches, led by top leadership.
Redesign systems, including those for hiring, retention, and promotion, to remove bias. While many employees may hold inclusive values, organizational processes, systems, and structures often contain unconscious and unintentional bias. Those systems must be redesigned.
Apply both a DEI framework and an ethical framework, to the design of products and services. Tech industry products and services help determine the news we consume and share; whether we get a mortgage or job interview; how and with whom we communicate—indeed, the very foundations of democracy. The industry must apply an ethics-based approach to each stage of design, customer experience, and societal impact.
S – Share DEI Data, Metrics, and Goals
Tech CEOs and companies should support industry-wide DEI reporting standards and share anonymized company data. Improving DEI accountability and governance requires data. It’s time for a new era where DEI moves from compliance to innovation, supported by data and learning.
Set public goals to drive behavioral change. Goals need to be visible to be viable, and a public, external commitment makes it more likely they will be achieved. Public goals send a signal internally and externally that your company is serious about improving DEI outcomes.
T – Transform Pathways Into Tech For Underrepresented Talent
Advocate for computer science to be required in all schools, and for a reduction in wider educational inequities. Underrepresented groups are locked out of tech at an early age, and school children have unequal access to computer science (CS) education.
Build systems capacity to create more CS teachers at all levels, and specifically invest in CS faculty within colleges of education (or support organizations who do). Teachers trained in CS are in critically short supply.
Invest in organizations that connect underrepresented talent to tech careers. Many organizations are already working to advance high-quality postsecondary CS education at every level. CEOs don’t have to reinvent the wheel, but they can fund and partner with experienced providers.
Want to learn more about how to help address systemic inequities in the tech industry and beyond? Visit ACTReport.com. There, you will find a research-rich report that sets out four recommendations, supported by 10 actions, that companies can take. Organizations should join forces to make a difference, and corporate systems must be redesigned to root out bias and drive equity. The ACT Report explains in detail what that means.