Article: Leading change: Building inclusive tech communities


Leading change: Building inclusive tech communities

Inclusive tech communities start at the top, where leaders address unconscious bias through fair hiring, mentorship, and fostering a culture that empowers diverse talent.
Leading change: Building inclusive tech communities

The tech industry thrives on innovation, and research consistently shows that diversity is the fuel that propels it forward. Companies with a more gender-balanced workforce are demonstrably more successful, outperforming their less diverse counterparts by a staggering 15%. This diversity of perspectives fosters creativity, leading to more impactful solutions and attracting top talent. In India, structured gender diversity programs have yielded positive results, with diversity ratios improving by 10% over the past decade. However, a concerning trend persists - women continue to leave the workforce at all levels. Despite comprising 35% of India's tech industry, a recent study reveals a sobering truth: lack of career advancement opportunities is the primary reason for female attrition.

To attract more women at all levels of leadership and drive sustainable, systemic change, organisations must set the tone from the top down. Leaders are champions of change and have the ability to enable, empower, and envision how their organisations promote diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). From creating fair and equitable hiring processes to developing and elevating talent from all backgrounds, leaders can disrupt existing processes and bring about change that ingrains DEI into the underlying culture, priorities, and structures of the organisation.

Driving change in hiring strategies 

Leaders who understand the value and importance of DEI are on a mission to bring the whole organisation along for the journey, with employee resource groups (ERGs), leader-led action plans, and diversity in hiring practices being key starting points. 

To achieve diversity in hiring, companies in India can benefit from setting key goals that encompass DEI and address biases for every role. To successfully increase women and underrepresented candidates throughout the recruiting funnel, organisations should acknowledge the potential for conscious and unconscious biases, and provide strategies to mitigate this at every stage. This can be achieved by embedding data-driven processes into the funnel. Additionally, they should focus on increasing proficiency in interviewing and selection to offer the best possible candidate experience.

Unbiased hiring practices, diversity-focused leadership development programs, and ongoing unconscious bias training are central to creating an inclusive hiring program. By fostering an environment where all employees feel valued, irrespective of their background or identity, organisations create strong employee engagement that positively impacts the bottom line.

Retaining diverse talent

Women comprised around 34% of the Indian technology workforce in 2022. By 2023, female attrition rates reached as high as 30-40% in the tech sector compared to 15% among standard sector attrition levels according to data from InCruiter.  

Organisations can help retain diverse talent by adopting a multi-layered, holistic approach to talent attraction, development, and retention. The first layer is about establishing grassroots initiatives such as ERGs, along with foundational programs to provide support and development opportunities for women across the organisation. The second layer is about providing holistic education initiatives that help address biases, along with sponsorship programs that empower women to take up leadership roles. Lastly, organisations must implement strategic plans that build transparency and accountability to DEI initiatives from the top down. Such an approach can successfully flow through all levels, resulting in more holistic outcomes.

It’s also important to include women from all levels of the business when planning DEI programs. By listening to what women want to get out of the program and what they want to achieve in their careers, organisations can create tailored initiatives that provide real value. 

Concrete actions, informed by data, are essential for creating an inclusive tech industry in India. From shifts in organisational culture to having diverse hiring and talent retention programs, the industry can dismantle barriers and pave the way for an inclusive and equitable future for women and underrepresented groups in tech.

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Topics: Diversity, Leadership, #Retention

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