With it being NFL Sunday and the recent Sticks & Stones Dave Chappelle comedy special, diversity & inclusion is at the front of the conversation within the blerd community. To understand how weak diversity is at most companies, simply go to a few corporate webpages, scroll to the bottom, click on leadership, and take a look at the pictures. Until there is relatively equal power, there will not even remotely be an equal voice. Corporations should have a vested interest in diversity & inclusion, as the data shows that diversity ultimately leads to higher revenue. This is also reaffirmed by a BCG study that says diverse management teams have 19% higher revenue due to innovation. Consumers are simply more likely to purchase from companies who have a culture and mission that aligns with their values.
One of the foundational pillars of Blerd is diversity and inclusion, which is extremely important to me personality. I studied Sociology with a minor in social and economic justice at the University of North Carolina (Go Heels!) so that I could truly understand how societal stratification and power dynamics are created. I am also a huge tech geek, so it made sense to write about tech companies focused on diversity & inclusion that are moving the needle in the right direction:
Most individuals in the poc community know that there is diversity and there is “diversity.” If you do not know what I mean by that, I would recommend speaking with some of the more melanated individuals in your network. Recently, an engineer at Google stated that the tech company only picks the “whitest black candidates.” While colorism is a topic for another day, Kanarys looks to help companies create true diversity, equity and inclusion through surveys that are all posted anonymously by employees. Mandy Price is the CEO and was extremely welcoming during our short online conversation. The company is newer with an expanding database of information, so make sure you support them by signing up for an account and telling your story.
#2 Culture Amp
The employee engagement technology market is rapidly expanding, with a lot of players in the game. At a product level, they support diversity and inclusion by allowing employees to leave anonymous survey feedback that HR managers can use to track employee sentiment. At a company level, they seem to hire a diverse group of people across the globe, with women having a strong voice within the company.
Minority groups have to deal with microaggressions that lead to them becoming less engaged at work. Disengaged employees become less productive at work, which can even end up causing self-fulfilling stereotyping. Culture Amp is one of the highest rated in the employee engagement arena and their messaging shows that diversity is extremely important to their company. Culture Amp has over 2000 customers and is growing at a pretty crazy rate. Last week they even closed an $82M funding round with Sequoia China.
15Five is similar to Culture Amp in the employee engagement sector, but they have a greater focus on performance management. Their platform takes a lot of the pressure off of having 1-1’s in person. Minority groups are often going to resort to code-switching during these in person 1-1 sessions, which is going to make any data that comes from them biased.
Minorities in corporate settings are no stranger to code-switching and use it as a survival tactic. Sorry To Bother You is an entire movie based on this premise. However, code-switching taken to an extreme feeds into groupthink. Groupthink reduces creativity, which may eventually cause a company to go the way of Blockbuster or Circuit City. The 15Five solution will cause a reduction in this phenomenon, and they even discuss the impact of diversity & inclusion on their blog.
What is interesting about Cisco, is that their diversity initiative started years ago and it seems to have paid dividends for the company. Cisco consistently ranks highly among tech companies when graded on diversity and inclusion. They have dedicated an entire page on their website about D&I and even have encouraged open dialogue (see above) about the topic.
People should no longer have to change themselves to fit the world. Instead, the world will change to fit its people – all of its people. Technology can and should be a positive catalyst for change and evolution. Yolanda Lee Conyers – Chief Diversity Officer
Disclaimer here, I am a Lenovo alum so there is bias with this pick. Personally, Lenovo was a pivotal company in my own tech career. Not only did I have diverse colleagues in my training class during onboarding, but at Lenovo I also got to see women and other minorities in leadership positions before diversity was “trendy.” Many of my former colleagues are still in tech to this day, with many of them moving into leadership positions themselves.
There are many tech companies focusing on diversity & inclusion, so I am sure that I missed a few important ones. If there are any top of mind to you, please let us know in the comments. Also, if you are looking for help implementing D&I initiatives at your company, always feel free to contact us.