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10 Ways To Win at Diversity

This is how you’ll feel after your tech company proves it’s the best at diversity.

It’s never too late to prove your company is the best

If you’re running a tech company, diversity is kind of a big deal. But it’s a tough problem and you’re busy doing important things: Changing the world… building culture… installing candy walls. We get it — it’s a lot to manage.

Thankfully, it’s now possible to win at diversity in just 10 easy steps. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s disrupt this thing!

1: Start an initiative

When you announce the diversity initiative in an org-wide email, be sure to establish some highly-specific key tenants, like “increasing core diversity”, “building inclusivity”, and “accelerating employees’ potential”. It’s critical that everyone understands what you’re going for. Plus, everyone loves a good tenant.

Bonus points if… you issue a press release. The path to success lies in intimidating your competitors with your diversity prowess.

2: Assemble a task-force

Initiatives are good, but you’re all about results. And what better way to get them than by putting your best people to work? Sure: they’re white — and male — but they’re innovators. Problem-solvers. You hire the best and the brightest. If they can’t crack this, no one can.

Bonus points if… the task-force says things like, “Diversity is critical to our business” and “Diverse companies are the future of tech”, but… doesn’t have an action plan

3: Educate execs

Top-down leadership is absolutely critical. You need a strong approach to success, and execs are the people who will model an inclusive culture.

#3: Your super-powerful executives are your greatest diversity allies.

Bonus points if… execs support your diversity initiative with statements like: “We believe in hiring for thought diversity over people diversity.” Now there’s someone who truly understands inclusion.

4: Disregard demographics

When you’re asked to provide company demographics, politely refuse. Why bother when the numbers aren’t great? Better to focus company energy and resources elsewhere. You’re all about emphasizing the positive — like the company’s incredible potential. Like how different it’ll look in 10 years if you achieve your goals.

Bonus points if… you can conjure a far-off, dreamy look in your eyes when imagining your company’s diverse, inclusive, perfectly utopian future.

5: Set goals

Demographics don’t matter, but everyone knows concrete milestones are critical to success. Work with your task-force to generate some numbers: Increase women by 1%. Increase people of color by .6%. That works out to…

Shit.

Bonus points if… After sending these goals to the company, a Business Analyst points out that you’re suggesting hiring approximately half a person per year.

6: Re-assess hiring

Investigate whether your current hiring methods are biased: Should you be anonymizing resumes? Offering take-home coding problems? Providing coding boot-camps? That is, until a developer complains you’re “lowering the bar” for diversity. Quickly assure him that you’re only hiring the most qualified candidates — then quietly suspend your investigation.

#6: Don’t lower your quality bar just to hire diverse candidates. Your company is better than that.

Bonus points if… you make hiring even more rigorous, just to show how discerning you are.

7: Diversify interviews

Put your only woman engineer on loops with female candidates. Then put her on all loops (after all, men benefit from being interviewed by a woman, too.) Now that she spends most of her time interviewing, shift her engineering tasks to a peer. Frequently thank her for her generous team spirit and contributions to company hiring. To be fair, also thank her teammate — a promotion for his incredible engineering efforts ought to do it.

Bonus points if… you suggest ways she can tell female candidates how awesome it is to be a woman at your company.

8: Train away the bias

Hire an outside contractor to design training courses after hearing that your competitors have begun offering unconscious bias training. Now make the training mandatory for all employees. Perfect! Now your workforce is completely bias-free. You no longer discuss the issue (except when that one developer uses his newfound knowledge to claim the diversity initiative discriminates against white men.)

#8: After unconscious bias training, your company will be perfectly equal and unbiased.

Bonus points if… the training mentions that diverse companies are more profitable and have happier shareholders. Extra points if you ditch the training after a year due to employee complaints. Eh, well, it was only a pilot, and startup culture is all about failing fast, right?

9: Boost your benefits

When your competitors start changing their vacation and parental leave benefits, that means only one thing: you’ve got to offer even more vacation and parental leave! Scratch that — make it unlimited vacation. Genius. Now you can attract the most diverse talent with the best benefits. (Everyone knows women love a company with good work-life balance.)

Bonus points if… you offer more maternity leave than paternity leave, employees are too overworked or afraid to use their “unlimited” benefits, and/or you issue another press release announcing your fabulous new policies.

10: Rename a conference room

You know… like after a female engineer. Or a scientist. Marie Curie did something important, right?

#10: Female engineers like the one above are great candidates for conference room names.

Bonus points if… it’s the conference room with the perpetually flickering light and the rattling air duct. Extra points if you proudly show it to every woman who tours your office.

Rest assured: by the time you execute all ten of these groundbreaking steps, women and minorities will be knocking down the door to work at your company.

And if they aren’t?

Eh. Just blame it on the pipeline problem.

It’s not your fault the pipe is leaking… You did the best you could.

Kimberly Koenig is a writer and photographer. When she isn’t satirizing tech culture, you’ll probably find her traveling or eating.

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The Noun Project icon credits: winner by Peter K., executive by Michael Wohlwend, team by Gregor Črešnar, injustice by Luis Pradot, engineer by To Uyen, Leaking Pipe by Oliviu Stoian

We hope you enjoyed this piece of satire! We are excited to have this new form of story on Code Like A Girl.