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How to Create Diverse Teams in Technology: 4 Key Areas to Focus On



Remember January 2024? That’s when I participated in a panel at the HFM Future of Fund Tech Summit, discussing “Strengthening your technology team through diversity.” While prepping, I uncovered fascinating research... but it never saw the light of day! The panel went in a different direction. It’s a shame because this info is gold for anyone building a diverse tech team. Want a peek? Keep reading...


I have shared some additional material with readers already.


The conversation naturally shifted during the panel discussion, which proved incredibly insightful. However, I didn’t want these initial four key areas I prepared – exploring building diverse tech teams – to be forgotten. I’m sharing them with you today as they still offer valuable perspectives.


1. Key Barriers for Underrepresented Groups in Tech:

  • Limited Talent Pipeline: Lack of early exposure to STEM fields through education, role models, and mentorship opportunities.

  • Unconscious Bias: Biases in recruitment, promotion, and performance evaluations leading to unfair disadvantages.

  • Homogenous Company Culture: Cultures that feel unwelcoming or exclusive to individuals from different backgrounds and experiences.

  • Lack of Support Networks: Insufficient access to mentors, sponsors, and career development resources within the industry.

  • Microaggressions and Exclusion: Unintentional or intentional behaviours that create hostile or uncomfortable work environments.


2. Mitigating Challenges for Fund Managers:

  • Proactive Outreach: Partner with diverse universities, colleges, and tech boot camps to attract talent from broader pools.

  • Blind Hiring Processes: Implement anonymised resumes and skills-based tests to reduce unconscious bias during candidate selection.

  • Targeted Mentorship Programs: Create mentorship and sponsorship programs connecting underrepresented talent with experienced leaders.

  • Diversity & Inclusion Training: Develop mandatory training programs for all employees to address unconscious bias and create inclusive workplaces.

  • Invest in Employee Resource Groups (ERGs): Support ERGs for different underrepresented groups to foster community and belonging.


3. Using Technology to Combat Bias in Hiring:

  • AI-powered Recruitment Tools: Utilise tools that analyse skills and qualifications rather than traditional resumes, mitigating bias based on factors like name or university.

  • Structured Interview Processes: Implement standardised interview questions and rubrics to reduce subjectivity and opportunities for bias.

  • Diversity Dashboards and Analytics: Track hiring and promotion data to identify and address any disparities or biases in decision-making.


4. Importance of Culture and Facilitating Change:

  • Leadership Commitment: Visible and vocal commitment to diversity and inclusion from top leadership sets the tone for the entire organisation.

  • Inclusive Language and Policies: Review company policies and communication to ensure inclusive language and remove exclusionary practices.

  • Celebration of Diversity: Actively celebrate and highlight the contributions of diverse employees in meetings, events, and internal channels.

  • Psychological Safety: Foster a culture where employees feel comfortable expressing their perspectives and concerns without fear of reprisal.

  • Regular Feedback and Measurement: Conduct regular audits of company culture and diversity initiatives to identify areas for improvement.


 

With over 25 years of dedicated leadership in the corporate, feminist, and LGBTQ+ realms, with a profound commitment to LGBTQ+ and women’s rights, I’m thrilled to be recognised by the British Diversity Awards. I stand ready to support, consult, educate, and advise on your next gender diversity challenge. Your journey towards inclusivity begins with a conversation. Reach out to me at  cynthiafortlage@cynthiafortlage.com  with any inquiries.

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