Studies show that a diverse workforce generates higher revenue and fosters innovation. Yet the tech industry has a poor track record when it comes to hiring and retaining women, minorities, older workers, and the disabled. This ebook looks at where and how companies are falling short—and what steps they’re taking to increase diversification.
From the ebook:
Diverse teams are more innovative and creative and feature happier employees, research shows. Yet hiring women, people of color, and other under-represented groups remains a challenge for many companies, despite many funneling money into unconscious bias trainings and other methods.
“The messaging and ownership of diversity initiatives should come out of the business,” said Anka Wittenberg, chief diversity and inclusion officer at SAP. “The speed of change is so fast that we truly believe that to be able to innovate in a sustainable way, we need to ensure from the beginning onward that we have very diverse people sitting at the table.”
So what actually works? Here are three diversity success stories from chief diversity officers at SAP, Atlassian, and IBM.
SAP: Improving the number of women in leadership
SAP, which employs 80,000 people worldwide, hired former economist Wittenberg as chief diversity and inclusion officer about four years ago. When Wittenberg started, she developed a three- to five year strategy, identifying four focus areas for the company: gender intelligence, generational intelligence, cultures and identity, and differently abled or disabled people.
At that time, SAP committed to filling 25% of leadership roles with females by 2017. In 2013, 19.8% of these roles were women. In July 2017, the company reached the 25% goal.
The company also saw improved attitudes about gender: In 2011, 29% of employees said they do not believe men and women have equal opportunities. In 2016, only 16% said that was the case.
“When you reach one goal, you need to ensure you have a next goal—it’s challenging, but also motivating,” Wittenberg said. “What gets measured gets done.”
SAP will continue its pledge to increase women in leadership, with a goal of a 1% increase every year, which would mean 30% women by 2022.
Different challenges exist in attracting women leaders in different areas of the world, Wittenberg said. In Germany, where it’s been particularly difficult to find female talent, they are offering flexible work arrangements and are piloting a program in which they post every managerial position as either a full-time or part-time position. In North America, the problem is promoting women, while in Latin America, it is retaining women. Each area requires a specific plan, Wittenberg said, and each requires involvement from the business side.
SAP implemented regional diversity and inclusion consultants in every large region and ensures that this person comes out of the business side, such as the CFO or sales leader of an area, so it’s not driven by HR or diversity employees.