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Little things make a big difference for D&I, according to Talent

Talent has released a new book that takes a different look at the diversity and inclusivity practices of the tech community.

Human: Global perspectives on diversity in tech features first-hand accounts from 25 individuals, offering insights into the reality of diversity and inclusivity within the global tech community.

Talent interviewed people in 18 cities working in tech at companies including Uber, Telstra, Virgin Australia, Tableau, Tech Nation, Dimension Data, Ogilvy and more.   

Those profiled encompass different ethnic backgrounds, religions, genders, ages, sexual orientations, abilities, and personal circumstances and provide a first-hand account of their experiences across various work environments. 

By highlighting individual stories and learnings, not statistics, the book details the tangible strategies organisations can implement to become more diverse and inclusive and how this correlates to greater organisational success.

Ultimately, the stories draw out the importance of small gestures that make a big impact on how people feel at their place of work.

The participants highlighted the importance of:

  • Acknowledging recruitment process bias and creating systems to rectify this e.g. “Never hiring for a role unless you see a diverse candidate pool creates an opportunity to find and support difference” - Nick Whitehouse, Auckland
  • Respecting different religious beliefs, e.g. – “I’ve been allowed to offer my prayers, etc. but no employer in my last 20 years has ever taken any specific steps to make me feel included from this perspective” - Jamshed Javed, Bristol
  • Providing tools to assist people who have disabilities e.g. “to support those with disabilities, businesses should focus on keeping up to date with technology and making internal networks as user-friendly as possible. ” – Joseph Webber, Adelaide
  • Leadership that takes responsibility for the culture and diversity of an organisation e.g. “Culture starts from the top. Culture change comes from concrete changes in leadership behaviour – what they do, who they hire, who they listen to, how they spend their time, what they measure and how they invest.”- Julie Moon, London
  • Creating environments that are culturally respectful e.g. “After receiving some unintentional culturally insensitive comments early in my career, I am driven to make these spaces more culturally aware and safe for First Nations people.” - Troi Ilsley, Melbourne
  • Mentoring to aid progression into leadership roles e.g. “Direct mentorship is one of the most effective ways to help young women find stable ground and learn from their senior colleagues ” - Daria Suvoroa, Hamburg
  • Paying attention to the small things to make the individual feel comfortable e.g. “Little things like allowing employees to leave work a little early to pick up the kids or even just providing a place to ‘pump’ (breastmilk) can all go a long way towards feeling supported and happy at work” - Dannielle Harmer, Canberra
  • Leaders who are active and approachable role models e.g. “it’s hard to be what you can’t see, and the presence of LGBTI leaders and executives both in the workplace and the community can have an incredibly positive impact” – Nick Collins, San Francisco

When asked to give advice to those who may feel overlooked because of their background, the majority of participants advised readers to reassess their work situation e.g. “Change your job. There are companies and organisations out there that will care about you. Do not hide yourself or who you are. Why should you work for a company which does not appreciate you?” - Stuart B Cameron, Berlin

Talent founder and executive chairman, Richard Earl, said, “I passionately believe that diversity should be celebrated in tech, the workplace, and life. Through Human, our aim is to celebrate differences rather than similarities and see each person for who they authentically are, not the label society has given them. Hopefully, people reading this will identify with some of the stories and know they are not alone.”

Talent’s global chief marketing officer, Melissa Brown, said the decision to focus on personal experiences over data was a deliberate one.

“As a leader in our field, we have a duty to inspire the companies we work with to look beyond stereotypes and find exceptional people from all backgrounds to join their teams. This is one of the ways we can redefine recruitment and something we feel strongly about.”

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