The North Carolina Technology Association (NC TECH) recently held their second annual Diversity + Inclusion in Tech Summit. While last year’s event focused on discussing the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace, this year's Summit took it a step further by bringing leaders in tech together to explore what they can do to make diversity, equity and inclusion a part of the technology culture within their workplace and communities.
During a breakout session, RPG’s president, Bob Osmond, moderated a discussion panel that explored the importance of execution and accountability when implementing DEI strategies within the workplace. This conversation also featured Oracle’s Jeff Stovall, Pendo’s Jennifer Rettig, ChannelAdvisor’s Thom Solomon, and Lenovo’s Shantell Thomas. Below are three major takeaways from the discussion.
The first step in measuring the long-term success of DEI programs is establishing a starting point for the company. Even companies that already have a DEI program in place should reevaluate their strategy and company so that leaders can see where progress has been made, and identify gaps and areas of improvement. It is helpful if individual employees make an effort to evaluate their own actions and how they contribute to the culture of their workplace. Once values and goals have been established (or reestablished), leaders are responsible for moving them to the center of conversations within the company and providing guidance on where employees can start taking action.
One of the core foundations to executing DEI strategies is having strong leadership within the company. Because of their position, executive leaders are responsible for starting and maintaining the path of DEI strategies and setting the tone around the goals and values that need to be prioritized. For there to be an actual shift around the company’s culture, leaders especially are required to be the glue that holds the company’s principles and members together. When working to implement a DEI program, there are going to be many conversations regarding race, gender, sexuality, disabilities, political or religious beliefs, and many other topics that need to be addressed. Often, organizations avoid these topics because they make people uncomfortable, so it is important to have leaders in place who are willing to initiate and navigate these tough conversations, and provide a safe space for members to speak openly about these issues. For some companies, it may be necessary to collaborate with organizations focused on DEI or to hire individuals specifically focused on crafting and delivering DEI programs.
For DEI efforts to reach their full potential within a company, they must be implemented at all levels. Starting from the leaders all the way to the interns, every employee should know and understand their company’s views on diversity, equity, and inclusion. For this to happen, there must be transparent communication about the expectations leaders have for their employees.
The Bottom Line
There have been many ideas shared and strategies executed by companies in an effort to solve issues surrounding diversity, equity and inclusion. However, for employees to actually experience and feel positive change, organizations must work to incorporate DEI into the company’s identity. Strong leadership and accountability are key. Leaders must demonstrate commitment to the company’s values and take proactive, consistent steps to support the program. Everyone at every level has to be committed to being better people to their co-workers and willing to hold each other accountable for creating a diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace.
Watch the full “How is Tech Doing? Measuring the Success of D+I” webinar here.
About the Author
Helen is an agency marketing intern based in Texas. She provides teams with daily scans on relevant news, account research, and assists with content development.