There’s no miraculous way to create more diverse engineering teams without essentially changing how you hire. As a supplier to the global technology industry, we are intensely focused on positive results. That focus has taught us a simple truth; diversity everywhere creates superior teams. Happily, there are a bunch of levers to pull to move this process in the right direction. First, it’s always a good sign if existing diverse engineering candidates or employees recommend you to their friends. Diversity hiring is often the most overlooked aspect of company success. Hiring members of underrepresented groups offer both economic and social value, but it’s not easy. If it were easy to hire and retain a diverse team successfully, everyone would be doing it. Which would mean you’ve lost a substantial competitive advantage. You usually only find out whether a company is supportive and cares about inclusion when you’re there. So, if your friends tell you they’re employed at a great company, it’s a good sign.
It would help if you started with writing the job ad well. Whatever you do, do not mention that you “really want to hire more diverse candidates” in your job postings. It’s not a selling point. The right applicant will feel wanted and welcome for what they can bring to a team as a whole person and not as a token hire.
When it comes to recruiting women for open positions, it also helps if the wording of your ads is less biased towards men. Programs like Textio can show how ad wording is perceived and how to make it more successful. For example, women are usually unlikely to apply if you’re asking for “rock stars” or “ninjas.” It’s not that women aren’t competitive in engineering or other areas. The obvious answer to that request is “not female.”
Starting with this is more effective than a list of criteria because it’s about getting the job done, not about experience.
It would help determine what success looks like for that person in the initial six months on the job. This gives you a unique perspective on the process and shifts your focus to the outcome. For example, perhaps the job for the software engineer you’re looking for is to build a new billing system, and success is implementing that system.
Outline your expectations for the new employee and what you need them to do daily. Then, design the job ad around that.
Your best bet is to encourage inclusivity through training and education. Show people the benefits, what it means, and why you’re working on it.
Inclusivity training helps you establish that everyone will be fairly evaluated and that everyone is under the same criteria. No matter their gender, race, or sexuality. This is key to making everyone feel at peace because when people think the game isn’t fair, everything goes downhill quickly.
Importantly diversity isn’t all about race and gender. Once you establish fair and objective criteria across the board, everyone will feel that the company cares about them. As engineers, we also love data, and the hiring process should be no exception. Track statistics around each stage of your hiring process. Are you losing women or any other demographic at a disproportionate rate in a particular stage? Why is that? Is there something you can do to modify that stage? If you’re introducing a new tool or new process, keep track of how well it works. Does it provide equally good results as your previous process? Does it improve diversity numbers? Without constantly tracking and adjusting, it will be challenging to make sure you’ve fully optimized everything from communication to interviewing to selling candidates.
Diversity can seem like a huge issue to tackle, which may be scary. But you don’t need to invest a month of work before you see results. You can start with some small things tomorrow; no need to convince anyone. If you only have ten people, then every new hire can significantly differentiate your demographic ratio and company culture. Once you have hundreds of employees, it’s hard to change the balance and have the same effect. You’ve experienced a “diversity debt,” and your culture is going to be challenging to change, and companies may struggle with churn.
Don’t give up; get better. Hiring for diversity isn’t just about doing the right thing. It provides you with increased innovation potential, and better hiring practices give you a competitive market advantage.
As a diverse supplier, OSI fosters this idea everywhere; in our business approach, business strategy, and day-to-day operations. If you’re looking for an embedded software engineer who excels in their field, you’re in luck. At OSI Engineering, we have the professionals you need to run every aspect of your IT. Our embedded software engineers are unmatched and uniquely qualified to help you achieve what you need.
Contact us today by phone or online – One of our primary goals is to improve the performance of every company we touch. At OSI, our diversity helps innovators thrive, and companies lead. Connect with us at (408) 715-3346 or by email at hello@OSIengineering.com