The tech industry has incredible reach and power to influence social and cultural change. According to CompTIA, over 525,000 software and IT services companies are currently operating in the United States with more coming into being every year. They also estimated that approximately 40,500 tech start-ups began throughout 2018. This is a trend that is continuing with just as much momentum today as markets and supply chains across the country continue to rely heavily on IT and technology services. Tech companies can affect real changing DEI, especially if companies act together.
Understanding the History of the DEI Paradigm Shift
Historically, the tech industry’s DEI approach has been short-term, reactive and siloed. Major players in the technology industry today, including the Action to Catalyze Tech Report (ACT Report), are calling for a new diversity, equity, and inclusion paradigm. The renewed focus is intended to be holistic, inclusive, actionable, practical and sustainable. This paradigm shift promotes collective, systemic action. The following four tenets are key to see lasting change.
Model and Incentivize Growth and Inclusive Leadership
Leading by example is critical for businesses that want to embrace the shifting focus towards diversity, equity, and inclusion within their business model. CEOs are the ultimate culture carriers of an organization. Good leadership promotes self-learning, inclusive management and sustainable actions across the board.
Operationalize DEI Throughout the Business
Processes that embed DEI into the culture and systems of a company must be seen as a priority within the business. Companies can be held accountable and be transparent about their efforts in equity reports. End-to-end visibility and prioritization will keep the business united and focused on a shared ideology and instrumental processes within the business.
Share Metrics and Data to Attain Business Goals
Keeping tabs on critical metrics and data points allows business managers to better track progress against DEI goals. Metrics that focus on diversity equity inclusion can include representation, hiring rates, attrition rates and promotion rates.
Transform Access With Tech for All Involved Team Members
Transforming the way people from underrepresented groups access careers in tech companies will be critical for the industry to meaningfully shift the paradigm around DEI. All the skills, data, and opportunities in the world mean little if they cannot be accessed.
Making the industry more inclusive requires a whole new approach to the way tech companies do business. In a nutshell, DEI strategies and individual business strategies can no longer be separate – they must be integrated.