7 Brilliant Ideas That Make Inclusion and Diversity in Engineering Teams Your Best Assets

During Plato event hosted on March 28, 2018 speakers and panelists from top tech companies shared highlights about Diversity and Inclusion in Engineering Teams

While there is no debate about the positive effect of diversity at work, managers do have to pay attention to make it as natural and innate as it should be. Here are 7 ideas to keep in mind while building your diverse team as a manager.

Don’t define diversity, name it

Diversity is tough to define. Trying to do so by making it fit into a specific frame would be counterproductive and contrary to its essence. What needs to be remembered is that, by diversity, we do not only mean women, colored-skin people, specific nationalities or sexualities — we rather look at it as a human issue, at large.

Diversity is not only about statistics

As a manager, you should be supported by a company which employee diversity is seen as its best assets and shown as such, both internally and externally. This is not only a matter of having the best statistics of underrepresented people in town though, but significant and compelling values your company stand for.

Hiring is not enough, work on inclusion too

People from underrepresented groups will naturally feel excluded. As a manager, you have to try to put yourself into your team members’ shoes to empathize. Spend time to know your folks and have a clear view of what some of them can or want to do, and what they don’t. Their family, religious, sexual, cultural or educational backgrounds and values should be something you deeply respect and spent some time to be aware of. It will avoid any discontent or frustration within your team and lead to its success.

This is no longer about culture but values fit

This is where values fit becomes key to your team development and evolution. Much more critical than culture fit, the way managers integrate and enhance values within their team is what will make team members in a positive and constructive mindset.

Use clear and objective criteria for Promotion

If you want to promote underrepresented diversity, how should you do? Pretty much exactly like you would for the most represented population in your company. Think it twice: avoiding subjectivity will be your best weapon to transform diversity in your team as a topic that should not exist for itself. Some companies use very articulated criteria of what you have to achieve as a team member in order to improve and evolve in your career ladder. Whether you choose to use a non-negotiable policy or to offer identical salary per position, there is always a way to avoid having different managing behaviors regarding promotion. As a manager, let no room for ambiguity and subjectivity.

Implement more flexibility to create more diversity in your team.

Same goes for employee benefits. Allowing family leaves not only for female employees and thinking of life events with no-gender biases will make you support diversity and inclusion through flexibility.

As a manager, get your team over the imposter syndrome

Managers who believe in their team members before they believe in themselves are the best ones. They see things team members can’t see. They feel unrevealed potentials. They believe in results team members are not aware of to be able to achieve. Making sure your team members understand that there is not one profile and one path to success is what will make them realize careers are not ladders. There is no direct way up to evolve in a given company: it is a rock you have to climb as a team member with the help of your manager assisting in first of rope.

Diversity has to be seen as a strength and not a weakness both for you as a team member, and for your as a manager.

Watch our blog to read more stories from our mentors. And be sure to check out our YouTube channel for the rest of the video content from the event!