Following Up on Our Commitment to Increasing Diversity in Tech
A year ago, when I wrote the article about our goals of increasing diversity in technology, IntelliTect was not a very diverse place, but we’re improving! Our efforts to increase the representation of different ages, genders, ethnicities and other marginalized groups at IntelliTect are seeing results.
In 2022, we have sixteen female team members, making our female representation 24 percent and close to the national percentage of women in tech, which is 25 percent. While we’re celebrating this improvement, we also recognize that at IntelliTect and in technology, there is still much work to do.
Why We Value Diversity in Tech
Our goal is to have a diverse team not just to mirror the demographics but because we believe diverse viewpoints and ideas create more innovative software and outcomes for our clients. We believe the trends in the industry that push out candidates (particularly female candidates) early on are detrimental to the overall quality of software and services. Selfishly, we try to be more diverse because we believe it makes us better at what we do, not to achieve some idealistic target.
Our workplace culture is valuable and enhanced by our people. You cannot have a thriving culture without diversity and inclusion. Each person is a vital piece to the puzzle; we all benefit when we celebrate our similarities and welcome differences.
Georgia Gillie, IntelliTect Human Resources
What We’ve Learned
Becoming a fully-diverse company is a long road, and there isn’t a quick fix that reaches ideal goals while best serving the business. Implementing anything that has to do with culture or hiring takes a long time.
At IntelliTect, we continuously discuss issues that can make a place attractive to diverse candidates. For example, we determined that one of the main factors concerning appeal is how diverse the company is when a potential employee looks to apply. It isn’t easy to attract a diverse candidate when you aren’t already diverse. Candidates may be put off and concerned about being singled out. Concerns about a hostile culture may also arise.
The fastest thing we at IntelliTect can do to walk the walk is to have visible diverse team members throughout the organization, including leadership. We know how crucial it is to remain genuine in these efforts. We will never hire diversely to fill some arbitrary quota.
Our Diversity in Tech Approach
IntelliTect continues to try to reach brilliant candidates in multiple ways. First, we try to reach them early with our IntelliTect Scholar program. Targeting high school seniors and early college attendees, we try to find and foster individuals through a computer science (CS) degree with mentorship and guidance. This mentorship ensures they can imagine themselves thriving in the CS field, so they don’t become discouraged and resign due to cultural factors. While we prefer diverse candidates and women in our selection, merit is still a significant factor. We have selected both a white female and white male as our grand prize winners in the two years we’ve offered the scholar program. We believe programs like this are essential to tap into talent that would otherwise exit the career before starting.
Balancing Work and Life
A second strategy for reaching a diverse workforce is ensuring the correct work and life balance. We focus on flexibility around family planning and events to make it feasible to work with us. Our goal is for prospective employees to imagine themselves working here and succeeding. This emphasis on caring for the individual beyond their occupation benefits everyone with a family, not just female employees!
Many organizations beyond the tech industry set up a culture incompatible with family needs, with 80-hour work weeks as the norm. These policies are to their detriment! Perhaps their team includes great, hard workers, but their creativity and scope of potential influence on solutions are limited. Group problem solving becomes easier when employees can focus solely on the project. Better solutions crafted with intention and analysis are preferable over rushed bare minimum solutions derived from sweat and hard work.
Our Ultimate Diversity in Tech Goal
The best and brightest team members are what we want, and we want them early and from any background. It has been incredibly encouraging to see our progress in this area. We continue to keep it in the forefront of our minds when identifying potential candidates.
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