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Corporate culture

Diversity and inclusion: more than a priority, a “hyper-focus”

Anakaren Collantes
Jun 29, 2020 ∙ 4 mins
a person giving a talk at a Women Techmakers Montreal conference

At this point in our history, we’re being called to take a strong, loud stand for what’s right. We need to lead with clear, impactful actions towards a fully diverse and inclusive tech industry.

This is something we’ve always believed in and prioritized through an approach we call “hyper-focus”.

By “hyper-focus” we mean putting time, emphasis, prioritizing, and allocating sufficient resources into fully understanding inclusivity and diversity, followed by action-driven strategies.

This approach has turned us into the world-class software development company we’re today.

Ways in which hyper-focus on diversity and inclusivity will make you a more competitive force

Your team stays engaged and connected on a whole new level.

We always had solid team spirit, but since we started “hyper” prioritizing diversity and inclusivity in the past 3 years, it’s gone through the roof.

Since we try to eliminate any type of barriers, our team feels empowered to speak up and be highly involved in the business as a whole.

We can offer extremely creative solutions, and enhance our clients’ experience of working with us.

With a highly diverse team working on every project, no problem is looked at from only one angle. Solutions are developed to address various types of end users. Thanks to diversity, the innovative nature of our work knows no bounds.

Turnover isn’t even something we worry about.

In an industry that’s defined by high turnover, developing a fully inclusive culture has helped our bottom line. People feel at home. They feel appreciated and welcome to fully be who they are. This has made us a highly coveted place to work. Our social environment and company culture is hard to replicate.

Starting point

Start with a diversity internal committee.

We have a diversity committee (our “Diversiteam”) that focuses on making sure we’re at the top of our game when it comes to diversity and inclusivity. They look at our current metrics, research new ideas, and propose initiatives to maximize inclusivity and diversity. Then they communicate action plans to the team at large. As a company, we work towards specific diversity- and inclusion-specific goals every day.

Here are some examples of some of the most recent practices we have in place

We provide pre-work, such as videos, articles, books, and movies to review before the discussion. We have a moderator, and everyone is welcome to voice their experiences and thoughts. The meeting concludes with an action-oriented discussion. The goal is to identify one thing we can do today to move forward in creating a better world.

The idea behind these meetings isn’t to show off our “expertise” around diversity and inclusion. Instead, the purpose is to inspire open discussions with our team, as well as to listen to other people’s experiences, ask questions, and learn from each other.

2. We make a point of connecting with important local organizations.

Our goal is to actively support the activists in our industry who are changing things for the better. We also sponsor anyone from our team who wants to go to events with a mission of teaching and providing a platform for a more diverse tech market. Every year, we volunteer to speak at events that empower minorities, and we send a large delegation to learn from these events.

3. We establish a strong diversity and inclusivity policy for our own events.

We openly stand against any type of discriminatory or harassing behaviour. We have clear processes to allow our team and volunteers to identify and report situations that go against our inclusive behavioural standards.

4. We care about offering opportunities for our team to share part of their unique story.

The diversiteam comes up with creative ways to do so. Like our recently launched “Behind the Name” initiative.

We randomly divided the company into groups of 4–5 people. Everyone did some research on where their names come from, and shared the results with their teams. It was amazing how much we all learned about each other’s heritage, personal stories, and cultures. By understanding something as simple as the root of our name and how we came to be named the way we were.

The take-home

Being hyper-focused on diversity and inclusion in the workplace pays off in ways you can’t even imagine… until you feel the positive difference in every interaction.

If you’d like some guidance for implementing these kinds of initiatives at your company, don’t hesitate to reach out or take a look at our take on the five best practices to improve diversity and inclusion in your workplace! We’d be happy to lend a hand.