Inclusivity: Public & Private Perspective

On Tuesday 28th January 2020 we hosted BEEqual: Inclusivity: Public & Private Perspective with guest speakers from Google & HRMC. Please see below the key takeaways and an exclusive Q&A with the speakers on the importance of engaging with diverse technical communities.

Denise Dourado, Cloud Transformation Director HRMC, ‘Inclusion from a Civil Service Perspective’

Key Talk Takeaways:

As a public organisation, HMRC must represent the community it exists to serve.

Grade and hierarchical cultures are common, but we must work to displace them. If you have such a culture, focus on creating inclusive leaders in order to change this culture.

Don’t be frightened of failure especially in a leadership position as this has a ripple effect on the rest of your team. Be that example, set that example.

Mentoring isn’t just about giving back. Reverse Mentoring is a fantastic way to learn from those in different departments or have a different perspective.

Successful digital transformation initiatives must be accompanied by culture change. Gartner predicts by 2021, CIO’s will be as responsible for culture change as Chief HR officers.

There is no excuse for leaving people behind: tech can act as a vehicle for inclusion.

Digital thinkers are essential to becoming truly digital and exploiting new technology.

There is value in difference.

Metrics for measuring inclusion initiative progress:

People Survey (annual)
Recruitment Data

Resources:

Micro-behaviour Training

https://exceptionalindividuals.com/

https://www.faststream.gov.uk/summer-diversity-internship-programme/

Q&A:

Why is it important for you to speak at meetups and events? Both as an individual and as a representative of your organisation?

To spread the word about what we, as an organisation, are doing and also to hopefully help others by sharing my own personal experience

What attracted to you at speaking at BEEqual?

Harriet introduced me to it and the approach really resonated with me – it’s about everyone being involved and understanding the importance of diversity and inclusion, not just targeted groups

 Why is it important for you to engage with diverse technical communities? Both as an individual and as a representative of your organisation?

We serve a diverse community and will only be able to truly understand the needs of our customers by ensuring that those who work for us are representative of the wider community

Why would you encourage organisations to invest time and resources into engaging with diverse technical communities?

For the reasons stated above and more…not only does evidence back up the improvements in productivity, idea generation and revenues that come with the introduction of a diverse team, it’s also a much more interesting and vibrant working environment to have a diverse mix of talent within your workplace

What advice do you have for people looking to speak at events?

Get involved! It’s fun, you meet lots of interesting people and can share the valuable work that you are doing within your organisation to promote this vital activity!! I, personally, learned a lot at the event I attended and took away a lot of fantastic tips for my area.

Melanie Yencken, UX Lead Google, ‘My role as manager to drive inclusive team’

Key Talk Takeaways:

There is still an issue with diversity in the pipeline, and it gets worse as it rises through seniority (source)

Employees experience the company through their manager and managers behaviour is mirrored by their teams. Similarly to Denise’s point, start by creating inclusive leaders.  In order to create an inclusive culture.

3 Steps to driving inclusive teams:

1) Build team trust & respect (Psychological Safety)

Mistakes are about the team not the individual

People tend to focus on being accepted rather than being themselves

Be a human not a workface

Failure is learning ‘tales of fail’ i.e. don’t fear failure, trying new things drives innovation and moves businesses forward, if it doesn’t work share the story with the wider business

2) Cultivate diverse perspective (Inclusive Meetings)

Active Listening (learning)

3) Provide Equal Opportunities (Busting our own bias)

It’s ok to have a bias!

If you don’t ask you don’t get!

Assume your team want more, they just feel uncomfortable in asking

Office housework (monitor, assignment, allocation) gets left to minority communities

Create a rotary don’t leave it to be naturally allocated

Resources

Inclusive Illustrations from  humaaans.com

McKinsey Women in the workplace report 2019

Amy Edmonson: Psychological Safety in the Workplace

Team check in tool: http://tscheck.in/

HP report – Why women don’t apply for jobs unless their 100% qualified

Harvard Business Review – For Women and Minorities to Get Ahead, Managers Must Assign Work Fairly

Q&A:

Why is it important for you to speak at meetups and events? Both as an individual and as a representative of your organisation?

Speaking at events like these is both a passion and personal growth project. Firstly it’s a passion of mine to help underrepresented individuals get access to information that will help them progress in their career and ensure we address the diversity problem we see in leadership across the industry. Secondly it’s about my own personal growth and fantastic experience gained by presenting at events like these.

What attracted to you at speaking at BEEqual?

Harriet (who organises this fantastic group) and I have collaborated on similar events previously and our meetup groups BEEqual and LondonTechLadies share a very similar mission – so it was a no brainer when for me when she proposed the idea to speak at her event!

Why is it important for you to engage with diverse technical communities? Both as an individual and as a representative of your organisation?

I don’t believe that we all have access to the same privilege of education in key soft skills which are essential to progress in the workplace – skills such as negotiation skills, confidence, influence etc – therefore we need communities and programs like these to help disseminate this information and “level the playfield”.

Why would you encourage organisations to invest time and resources into engaging with diverse technical communities?

There are very well documented benefits for companies who embrace diversity in their organisations (e.g. this world economic forum article) and many companies are asking themselves… “how can they improve their own diversity?” Engaging with groups like BEEqual is a great way to connect with the wider community and ground yourself in the reality of what is happening in the industry and understand what needs to shift in your own organisation.

What advice do you have for people looking to speak at events?

Say ‘yes’ and then figure it out later. Most people think they need to be perfect, well prepared and completely ready with their content before they put their hand up for something like this. Being a procrastinator who is also a perfectionist means that if I waited until I was ‘ready’ I would never do anything like this! So my mantra is to accept the opportunity – e.g. approach meetup groups, offer to host a lunch and learn at your workplace, put your hand up to share in a team meeting – and then once you have said ‘yes’ you will be highly motivated with a deadline and will make it work!

Secondly, practice practice practice. I used to be terrified of public speaking and through running LondonTechLadies and getting up on stage each month I have grown my skills and now love to speak to audiences. Forcing myself to do it regularly, asking for feedback afterwards and then focusing on improving just one aspect each time was key for me.

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Challenge Yourself:

Are you involved in a stand up or sprint? Why not share the key learnings from this session with your team? A short session like this creates a culture of cross sharing knowledge and learning and maximises time, whilst the whole team benefits from the event takeaways!

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If you would like to speak at BEEqual or become a host or sponsor please reach out via DM or email.

The full blog (with images) is hosted here.

If you would like help in the following areas please reach out via DM or email me:

1) Tech Brand Awareness

2) Diversity & Inclusion

3) Communities of Practice