7 Ways to Build More Inclusive Teams (especially for women!)
A Guide for Anyone who cares about Diversity and Inclusion
“How does it feel to be a woman in tech?” is asked way more often than, “What are you working on?” or “What have you accomplished?”
And let’s be honest, for the growing number of women in tech, this can be discouraging. The idea for wogrammer was born out of a (serious) frustration around how women in tech are often portrayed in the media and a deep desire to promote a more positive narrative.
There is SO much talk about diversity and inclusion that it can seem unclear exactly what to do about it or where to start. We know that inclusion impacts employee experience, recruiting, productivity and retention. Losing a highly skilled employee costs the employer more than 2x the annual compensation, according to the Center for American Progress. Besides just being the “right” thing to do, fostering a sense of belonging within your organization has tremendous positive outcomes for business goals, too.
We have been asked many times how to make workplaces more inclusive — especially by men who feel they are putting in the effort, but not getting the results. After interviewing more than 200 women, Wogrammer has gained some unique insights on how to cultivate diversity within a company and make women (and your team in general) feel more included and valued.
So let’s break it down.
7 Ways to Build More Inclusive Teams (especially for women):
- Get to know me. We elicit such inspiring stories from the women we profile on our platform by asking the right questions. The first step to improving anything is to have a clear understanding of the situation. Don’t make assumptions about how people feel within your organization. Ask women what they like and value about your organization. What is going well? What would they change or improve, if given the chance?
- Listen to women. Men routinely interrupt women (This even happens on the Supreme Court!) Pay attention to see if this is happening at your organization. Then take action to stop it. Such as simple statements — “Let’s finish hearing what she was saying…”
- Make women visible. Give women visible roles in your organization. Ask a woman to present at the next all-hands meeting or to represent your company at an upcoming event. Include women in company updates, such as newsletters, press releases, product updates, and social media posts. (And of course, nominate female engineers from your company to be showcased on our global platform.) These women serve as powerful role models within your organization and beyond.
- Create opportunities to connect. Host events such as a speaker series or a brown bag lunch around topics related to diversity, inclusion and company culture. Make it comfortable to share what is working and what is not. Then make an action plan to address what comes up.
- Mentorship matters. Almost every woman we interview mentions how much mentors have supported them along their engineering journey. Don’t make assumptions that people know how to mentor each other. Acknowledge the power dynamics at play and recognize that more junior team members may not feel comfortable seeking out mentors themselves. Provide clear and comfortable opportunities for senior members of your team to actively support others.
- Celebrate accomplishments: A core aspect of our mission is to provide women a platform to showcase their accomplishments and share what they are proud of building. From a simple shout-out to an org-level award, make sure hard work is clearly recognized.
- Foster an Abundance Mentality: Back in the day, there was typically only one (if one!) spot for a woman on a leadership team and women were forced to compete with each other for those scarce opportunities. Shifting from thinking in terms of zero-sum to ‘You win/I win’ will have lasting impact. There is room for all of us to shine!
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Change happens over time, so we don’t expect to see results right away but we hope you will start using these strategies today. If you try any of these, let us know how it goes. Send us a note at email@example.com.