Twitter, tech companies in Silicon Valley, and VC community leaders, diversity isn’t this freaking hard! This is how you ensure both your company and your investment portfolio is diverse (IF that’s truly your desire).
1. Establish a companywide level of expectation around what constitutes competency for positions and DON”T LOWER THE BAR. Not for anyone — white, black, brown, women, or other. Your goal, should be to hire or train the best talent available. Period.
2. Recruit from the communities and universities that reflect the diverse standards you are trying to reach. Not able to find black talent? Develop a recruiting pipeline and partnership with Howard University, Morehouse College, Spellman College, etc.These universities have developed some of the best doctors, lawyers, chemical engineers in the country. They can certainly turn out incredible software engineers. Same for women and Hispanics. Go to where they are. You have pipelines into MIT, Stanford, Yale, etc. Build on that model.
3. Stop recruiting so heavily based on word of mouth. I know the thought is that the best engineers and developers usually know each other. Certainly true to a degree based on my experience. But the problem with using this as a primary recruiting pipeline for technical talent, is that you are usually going to be tapping into the same group, which perpetuates the cycle of none diversity.
4. Recognize that you have unconscious bias. We ALL do. And that’s okay. Just recognize it and dedicate yourself to not hiring based on anything other than the bar that has been set, the education standards you expect, and the drive of the individual you expect to be part of your family. This is about bringing a diverse perspective and skillset to the table in order to increase the possibility of reaching the maximum amount of consumers or users. You can’t do that in an all-male or all white or all black bubble. You need diversity of thought, opinion, and perspective to flourish as a company and maximize revenue potential.
No one, in 2015, is owed anything. All anyone DESERVES is a fair opportunity to be considered. If you truly give talented black and brown people a fair opportunity, your diversity issues go away because your company will look like America and probably like the people that use your goods or services. That’s the beauty of this wonderful country of ours. This issue is not that hard! And as of this morning, I for one plan to be part of the solution. Decided to use my talents to create a platform/service called Zeneview (thanks wife for the name idea) and plan to document the journey via medium. You want to see diversity issues begin to go away? Watch how I (we) tackle the problem together with forward thinking companies and startups. And you can follow us on the twitter account created this morning at @zeneview. There’s work to be done folks — and anyone of us — black, white or brown, male or female, have potential to change the world.