The importance of diversity in developer recruitment

Posted on Wednesday, January 03, 2018 by John Schnipkoweit

Talk of diversity in tech is nothing new, but many leaders in the space are still unsure how to approach it. Here’s why it’s important to a tech company's success and the lessons we've learned along the way to becoming a diverse workforce.

Diversity builds stronger teams.


In today’s world where knowledge is more commoditized every day, tech workers need more than just technical know-how to produce innovative products and services; they also need creativity and perspective for ideation. Sameness doesn’t inspire creative thinking. To achieve something truly radical, you need a melting pot of ideas, personalities, and backgrounds.

As shown by a number of findings amassed in an article published in Harvard Business Review, diverse teams work smarter than homogenous ones. The results are consistent across many studies: They think more accurately and process facts more carefully.

One study found that teams with greater gender-diversity are more likely to create and introduce new technologies into the market in just two years.
 

Empowering diversity at the top.


Aside from hiring a diverse workforce, Choozle is promoting a culture of respect and accountability. In the past year, we’ve dropped job titles and removed the imposed hierarchies from the Product and Development teams, because, for us, the top down approach hindered productivity and each team member’s potential.

The structure was leveled, yet we’re not a flat hierarchy - we’re a dynamic one. This means the roles of leader, facilitator, and coordinator shift depending on who has the most expertise in a specific area, thereby promoting inclusivity and empowering each individual on the team to take the lead on different projects. It also increases autonomy and peer-accountability.

Beware of unconscious gender and racial biases.


Unconscious biases play a significant role in who companies hire, and they’re missing out on great candidates because of it. People aren't aware that these unconscious biases influence everything from the job posting to their interview process.

As Choozle grows in size, we’ve been very deliberate about combating bias in hiring. Instead of creating passive job postings that can unintentionally exclude diverse candidates, we use an active recruiting process, asking people on the Product and Development teams to invite candidates to apply. The team is always looking for individuals who might add something unique to our culture, through their participation in alumni groups, meetups and personal networks.

Tech companies should look no further than their internal referral networks when seeking candidates. That’s where you’ll find the best new hires, if you build the right work environment, and promote diversity from within.

Don’t become complacent.


When it comes to increasing diversity in tech, there seems to be a lot of talk and not a lot of action. Even with the data showing companies with greater gender and cultural diversity see higher profits and have better focus, it's often an empty buzzword.

Why? Sometimes, it’s hard for leaders to have a sense of urgency around improving diversity in the workplace because success creates complacency, which prevents leadership from doing things differently. While a business might be profitable, it won’t be successful in the long run or have the ability to reach its potential if the company lacks diversity.

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