10 More Ways To Win at Diversity
(Hint: Make everyone else do the work)
Look at you go, you rockstar — you actually have women and minorities working at your tech company! Between your unshakable self-assurance and a healthy dose of confirmation bias, you’re confident that your 10-step diversity initiative worked wonders. Now that you’ve got the inertia, it’s time to double down.
How? Well, now that you’ve got a more diverse workforce, the path to victory means putting them to work. Before, you just had white men trying to fix diversity. Now you can make everyone else fix it instead.
1: Start a book club
First order of business? Copies of Lean In for everyone! Well, every woman at least. All of your female employees will benefit from the newfound confidence and skills bestowed by this magical, feminist tome.
Bonus points if… It’s required reading for just the women at your company.
2: Organize summits
Send all your company’s minorities to an offsite where they can relax, network, and learn “professional development”. Organize activities where they can discuss all the sexism, racism, and other micro-aggressions they experience at work. It’s a great way to blow off steam, and they might even brainstorm some great solutions to their own problems.
Bonus points if… You hire a third-party mediator to run the summit, but your leadership team forgets to attend.
3: Offer professional coaching
Sheryl Sandberg helped pioneer the concept of “leaning in”, but why stop there? Free coaching is a great way to show your employees you care and ensure they have the skills to prevail in a predominantly white male workforce.
4: Empower accountability
Your company is about empowerment, accountability, and transparency: you want your employees to feel comfortable criticizing you for anything . That’s why you form the Discrimination Patrol: a group of your best and brightest minority employees, responsible for calling out sexism and racism whenever it occurs. Nothing says “empowerment” like giving underrepresented groups the tools to change their own circumstances.
Bonus points if… You “volun-tell” your employees that they’re on the Discrimination Patrol. Later, you decide that sexists and racists will also be put on the patrol — as punishment for their actions.
5: Educate employees
Okay, so unconscious bias training didn’t exactly work out as planned. New plan: Ask the Minorities to create an Anti-Bias lecture series! They’re not unconscious bias experts, but your company is all about scrappiness. Plus, their first-hand accounts will be so moving.
Bonus points if… You ask to see the presentation for advance feedback and end up sending back a completely new one. It just… didn’t quite match your vision. You like to keep things positive. It’s okay, you’re sure the next one will hit the nail on the head.
6: Mentor minorities
You want diverse management, but… how? Well, everyone knows excellent managers come from excellent employees, and excellent employees come from excellent mentorship. So, if you mentor your minorities, they’ll be on the fast track to management.
Bonus points if… You decide your managers are far too busy to be included in the pool of mentors. Peer mentorship is basically the same thing, right?
7: Put up posters
Posters are a great way to show your employees how much you care about diversity. Bathrooms, cafeterias, and kitchens are all fantastic locations for these. Enlist your designers for catchy slogans and graphics, like “Engineering is colorblind”, “We’re here to de-bro-gram the industry!”, and “Got glass ceilings? We don’t.”
Bonus points if… You put a poster inside each bathroom stall. Nothing drives a point home better than reading a poster every time you’re on the toilet.
8: Re-re-assess hiring
Your company is a little bit older. You’re a little bit wiser. Your workforce is 1% more diverse. So, it’s a great time to revisit your hiring! Do job descriptions sound male-oriented or otherwise exclusionary? Are your resume keywords unfairly eliminating minorities? Do you have a pattern of disproportionately assessing diverse candidates as “bad fits”? Ask your women and minority employees for help, because there’s no possible way you can figure this out yourself.
Bonus points if… You set aside dedicated time for your employees to rewrite job descriptions and review resumes. Hiring Hackathon, anyone?
9: Host a(nother) hackathon
With the success of the Hiring Hackathon, you get a great idea: why not do a Diversity Hackathon? Women have special needs, right? And people of color? After all, you’ve only focused on white men in the past. Your employees will be challenged to think in completely new and different ways. It’ll be amazing for their creativity and their worldview.
Bonus points if… You make Diversity Hackathons a recurring event — but keep them separate from standard Hackathons. Women and minority users’ scenarios are so important, it just seems best to consider them apart from normal ones.
10: Offer amazing swag
Bonus points if… You forget to order shirts in fitted sizes.
By the time you’re done with this second action plan, women and minority employees are guaranteed to feel valued and respected by your organization. They will love your clear dedication to diversity and obvious prioritization of their needs.
Now is the perfect time to send out a Glassdoor survey asking how they like working at your company. The results will be amazing.
Kimberly Koenig is a writer and photographer. When she isn’t satirizing tech culture, you’ll probably find her traveling or eating.
The Noun Project icon credits: winner by Gan Khoon Lay, Trust Fall by Mugdha Damle, Fist by Isabel Foo, manager by Gregor Črešnar, users by TukTuk Design, fingernail by Korawan.M, compact by Plainicon, Comb by S. Salinas, online survey by Thomas Marijnissen + regular by Rflor + bad by Rflor (edited by Kimberly Koenig)
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