Doing, not talking
Diversity. A complex topic that needs discussing and debating, but, achieving it requires much more than just a conversation or a panel discussion or a hashtag.
Not to say that they have not been productive ways to raise awareness and shine a light on the matter because they have been. They have helped us to get where we are today which in comparison to a number of years ago is huge progress, but if we're now to achieve true diversity (across the board) it requires less talking, more doing.
We wouldn't be surprised if companies felt overwhelmed or unsure of what step to take first when it comes to putting diversity and inclusion at the heart of their workplace.
So, how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. We've broken a few things down that you could think about today and implement tomorrow.
Identify new talent pools
You will have programmes in your city that are doing fantastic work when it comes to nurturing new talent. In Liverpool, for example, we have Liverpool Girl Geeks, Agent Academy, MYA, Princes Trust, and little old us (OH) to name a few. These guys are doing a lot of work on the ground, finding and upskilling local talent which as a company, you might find difficult to get hold of. The barriers to entry are usually low, meaning they’re more likely to attract diverse people. When you’re recruiting for junior-level roles, we recommend that you turn to programmes such as those above and share your opportunities with them.
There has been a lot of noise around apprenticeships lately because of the new levy that has come in, which could either 1) turn you off or 2) make you confused. However, we believe they might just be the solution to a lot of industry problems so please do reconsider them. Apprenticeships are a great way to harness new talent whilst training them on the job (and are cost-effective). The offer of apprenticeships, in turn, are more appealing to anybody who is just starting out their career because they're able to learn and get paid. You can get apprenticeships within all sorts nowadays, including Software Development, Analyst, Digital Marketing and much more. We recommend you check out Baltic Training, Digital Skills Partnership, and WhiteHat for more information (we can introduce you if you like).
Speak to your team
Before doing anything radical, involve your team. Nine times out of ten they'll have the answers you're looking for particularly when it comes to inclusion and diversity. Gather feedback from them on why they applied to be a part of the company, why they're still here (because you must be doing something right), how they think the company could improve, and what solutions they have for those improvements. Sometimes the solutions won't involve you (the boss/senior management), so help the team to feel empowered to get out there and tackle the problems for you.
Always keep a sticky note on your desk with this reminder: doing, not talking.