If you live in the Bay Area, it’s hard not to open your Twitter/LinkedIn/Facebook feed and see another article or story about tech companies and diversity and inclusion. And while there are many well-documented struggles and frustrating stories, there are positive ones, such as the work of Freada Kapor Klein, tech leaders who take a stand for diversity, and s the work Paradigm is doing with other tech companies to name a few. There’s also been a number of VCs who have done their part, especially in helping newly formed companies start off on the right foot. For instance, Hunter and Satya over at Homebrew posted a great primer on how to get up to speed on diversity, with a focus aimed at early stage startup founders .
While not everyone is in a position to enact sweeping changes with how their organizations create diverse and inclusive workforce, many of us have the opportunity to learn and engage on the issue. Admittedly, I did not know enough about these issues until a few years ago when I was at a networking event and an officer from a diversity organization pulled me aside and educated me on some of the issues that Asian-Americans face in the workplace, particularly in rising to the ranks of senior leadership positions within organizations.
As the son of two immigrant parents, an aspiring future leader, and someone with the privilege of being highly educated, it humbled me that I could be so ignorant to such an important issue that was so critical to my own life, but more importantly, to people around me that I cared about. Since then, I’ve tried to not only educate myself on the issues, but move progress forward in creating diverse and inclusive organizations that I’m a part of while helping others become as educated as possible on this issue.
Because the United States continues to become more and more diverse, and because of the diversity challenges that tech companies (see most companies) have faced, the topic of diversity has become front and center. There has been an increased attention and coverage around these issues which has led to some signs of progress for some organizations. The reality is that there is still much work to be done, and it’s a great step to hire a Chief Diversity Officer or revamp your hiring practices, if we really want to see meaningful and impactful change there needs to be more support and action from all of us.
So, if you’re interested in learning about the issues, getting involved, and making an impact, what can you do, and how can you start?
First and foremost, if you want to get great content on key issues start listening to the conversation, especially for people like Tristan Walker, Erica Joy, Carissa Romero, Candice Morgan, Leslie Morgan, Hunter Walk, and Joelle Emerson. I started doing this and my Twitter feed (shoutout to Nuzzel, which aggregates that top stories in your feed) started giving me way more content on these topics than ever before.
Second, check out some of the articles below. I’ve categorized them by topic type, and it should get you up to speed on a variety of issues, first-person stories about the struggles and challenges, ongoing initiatives, best practices, and data and research.
Third, there are some great organizations who are trying to tackle various issues around diversity and inclusion as it pertains to the workforce. The main causes and objectives differ, but they are worth checking out to see if there are any that directly align with your mission or values. Consider supporting them if that’s the case.
Last but least, take action. Hunter and Satya’s post outlines some things you can do. For those who are managers, leaders, or HR professionals, Google actually released a ton of free content on some of their HR practices which includes some of their work on diversity issues. These are small things we all can do our part to be educated and aware of the issues and challenges.
Finally, my list of people working on this issue is not nearly exhaustive, nor is my knowledge of resources and research so please feel free to share other pertinent information.
As an eternal optimist, I’m hopeful that change will happen. And while it requires a top down, bottom up and middle out approach, there’s no reason we can’t take it upon ourselves to learn about the issues, be allies, and do our part to enact positive change.
Data and Research on Diversity
- Why Diversity and Inclusion will be a top priority in 2016 — Josh Bersin
- Why Diversity matters — McKinsey
- Is there a payoff from top-team diversity? — McKinsey
- Uncovering Talent: a new model of inclusion — Deloitte
- The Biases that punish racially diverse teams — HBR
- Racial Bias in Hiring — Chicago Booth
- Why Does John get the STEM job rather than Jennifer? — Stanford
First Person Stories
- Privilege and Equality in Silicon Valley — Ricky Yean
- Wrong — Erica Joy
- Inside Silicon Valley’s Struggle for Diversity — Mashable
- A Message from Stewart Butterfield to Slack Employees — Erica Joy
- Why Diversity is Difficult — Leslie Miley
- If you think women in tech is just a pipeline problem, you haven’t been paying attention — Rachel Thomas
- Diversity in Tech needs less buzz and more action — Mala Kumar
- Not a Black Chair — Amele Lamont
- Silicon Valley’s Dirty Little Secret — Ario Gilbert
- Your Culture has consequences — Amy Nguyen
- Why Doesn’t Silicon Valley Hire Black Coders? — Bloomberg
- 10 Tips for Hiring managers to increase diversity
- Diversifying University Recruiting at Pinterest — Katie Daugherty
- What you’re saying when you talk about lowering the bar in hiring — Laura Weidman Powers
- How to Signal Your Company Cares about Diversity and Inclusion – Carissa Romero
- 5 Steps Towards Gender Diversity Every Company Can Take right now – Fast Company
- So you want to take diversity seriously – Mitch & Freda Kapor
- Thoughts on Gender and Radical Candor – Kim Scott
- 25 Tips for Diverse Hiring – Modelview Culture
- How Silicon Valley is trying to fix its diversity problem – PBS
- Pinterest’s Data-Driven Approach to Improving Diversity – The Atlantic
- What Facebook is doing to address diversity numbers – Business Insider
- Our $40M pledge to fix the Leaky Tech Problem – Mitch Kapor
- Diversity Chiefs share their biggest challenges – Fast Company
- Healthy Hiring – Salman Ansari
- Changing the Face of Tech in 2016 and beyond – dev/color
- Developing Targeted Initiatives for Women of Color in Tech – TechCrunch