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7 secrets of highly diverse companies

Sharon Florentine | Sept. 11, 2015
Diversity's a major issue in IT, but some companies just seem to 'do diversity' better than others. What's their secret?

Skills can be taught; attitude and demeanor, communication, teamwork and negotiation. Those are much more endemic and harder to teach "We've learned we can have great success, great outcomes by focusing on attitude and soft skills during the interview process. We look for passion, discipline, innovative thinking, problem-solving skills and teamwork, and then we know we can train for the rest of the tech skills," Wells says.

They get buy-in and commitment from the entire organization

It's great when a company's CEO and executive leadership makes a public commitment to increasing diversity; when they release their current internal diversity statistics, admit they have 'a lot of work to do' and vow to do better. But that kind of organizational change must be echoed through the entire organization, or it's just lip service.

"Emphasizing diversity has to be intentional, and there has to be buy-in from the entire organization. It can't just be the CEO -- there's not enough transparency in that office for accountability. It can't just be a grassroots effort, because of that same lack of accountability and a chance their hiring preferences will be overruled," says Eaton.

They put measurements and metrics in place to track success

To solve the accountability problem, companies like Pinterest, Facebook and Intel have put specific initiatives, metrics and rules for diversity hiring in place -- like the Rooney Rule, which requires at least one woman and one underrepresented minority must be interviewed for every open position, or for every senior position, at a company. A key part of maintaining diversity and measuring the success of such programs is data and accountability.

Programs like these are a good first step. Braidio uses metrics to track engagement for their classes, and also success and completion. They offer toolkits for attendees that will help them directly and immediately apply what they have learned in their day-to-day work life. "All of these are ways to make sure diversity isn't just an afterthought, that it's front-of-mind for everyone, every day," says Solis.


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