If your company’s board consists of ten white males over 40 with similar backgrounds and values, you can say that your board consists of one white male over 40 who will make decisions based on his background and values. Your company will lack a 360-degree vision of the world, and its clients will be, basically, only white males over 40.
- Why is inclusion considered a profitable business practice?
- On the shore: Unbiased hiring practices
- On board: A culture of inclusion
- On the career ladder: Skills development and career advancement
- Life-work balance as a part of the company’s culture
- Embracing the client’s culture – a short guide for IT outstaffing companies
- How to track your progress?
Diversity and inclusion are not just moral imperatives. They are the keys to business growth and the main drivers of success in the business landscape.
European companies, including those engaged in IT outstaffing, recognize the significant benefits of diverse teams in fostering innovation and creativity and hence, work on strategies for inclusion and diversity for the sake of business growth.
Why is inclusion considered a profitable business practice?
Of course, businesses should strive for inclusion and diversity not just for financial gain but because this approach helps foster a more equitable and just society. While they are fundamental ethical and moral principles, inclusion and diversity can drastically boost the profitability of your company.
Numerous studies have shown that diverse teams outperform homogeneous ones, leading to increased innovation, better decision-making, and improved financial performance. One of the many adherents of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) is McKinsey & Company. They’ve been measuring the likelihood of financial outperformance depending on gender and ethnic diversity for almost a decade and have proven that more diverse companies have more chances of achieving financial success.
Image source: McKinsey & Company Report, May 19, 2020. Diversity wins: How inclusion matters.
How and why does DE&I matter for your business’s success? These are just some of the explanations behind this phenomenon. By embracing diversity and fostering inclusion, all businesses, including European IT outstaffing companies, can:
- Talent acquisition and retention. By creating an inclusive environment, companies can attract and retain talent from a wide range of backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. This allows them to access a larger talent pool, leading to a competitive advantage in securing top-notch IT professionals. By promoting an inclusive culture, businesses can attract a more diverse pool of candidates, including individuals with unique skills and perspectives. Moreover, inclusive companies tend to have higher employee satisfaction and lower turnover rates, reducing recruitment and training costs.
- Enhance creativity and innovation. When people from diverse backgrounds come together, they bring unique perspectives, experiences, and ideas to the table. This diversity of thought can drive innovation, spark new ideas, and help businesses develop creative solutions to problems.
- Improve decision-making. Inclusive teams encourage open dialogue and diverse viewpoints, leading to better decision-making processes. By considering multiple perspectives, outstaffing companies can identify blind spots, minimize groupthink, and make more informed choices.
- Boost employee morale and engagement. When employees feel valued, respected, and included, they are more likely to be motivated, engaged, and committed to their work. Inclusive environments foster a sense of belonging, leading to increased job satisfaction and higher levels of productivity.
- Reputation and brand image. Inclusion has become an important factor for consumers when choosing which companies to support. Businesses that demonstrate a commitment to diversity and inclusion are often viewed as socially responsible and progressive. This positive reputation can enhance brand image, build customer loyalty, and attract socially conscious consumers, ultimately driving profitability.
- Global market reach. Inclusion is particularly valuable in a globalized world. As companies expand their operations to new markets, understanding and respecting different cultures, customs, and preferences becomes essential. Inclusive practices enable businesses to navigate diverse markets more effectively, adapt their products and services to local needs, and establish strong relationships with customers in different regions.
Now, when we clearly see why our businesses should support DE&I, let’s see how we can do that before the hiring and during the cooperation with employees.
On the shore: Unbiased hiring practices
In the 21st century, European and American companies try to be as unbiased while hiring new employees as possible. This is not the case with Asian companies. For example, in South Korea, employers require applicants to send CVs with photos and often make final decisions about the candidates based on their appearance. This approach is unimaginable in European countries, but if you want to work with Asian companies, you have to understand this cultural particularity.
Despite the best efforts taken to grant equity to candidates, even the tech giants sometimes fail in this quest. The most graphic example is probably, Amazon’s case. In 2014, the company started using ML-based recruitment software. It analyzed the applications the company had during its existence and taught itself that men are preferable to women, as Amazon had more applications received from men than from women. This case became public only in 2018 when the company discovered the problem and let it be spilled to Reuters by its employees.
You can understand where the Amazon’s recruitment tool bias came from. Just take a look at the gender gap that exists in tech companies, particularly among employees in technical roles:
Image source: Han Huang | Data Visualization Developer | Reuters Graphics
What can we do to decrease inequity and promote inclusion while hiring new employees? Here are some strategies applied by Flytika:
Job description review.
Carefully review job descriptions to ensure they are inclusive and free from gendered or exclusionary language. Use gender-neutral terms and emphasize the skills and qualifications required rather than specific demographics.
Blind resume screening.
Implement blind resume screening techniques to eliminate potential biases. Remove personally identifiable information such as names, gender, and age from resumes during the initial screening process, focusing solely on skills and qualifications.
Expanded recruitment channels.
Broaden recruitment channels to reach underrepresented groups. Partner with organizations and institutions that focus on diversity and inclusion in the IT field, attend career fairs, and utilize online platforms that cater to diverse talent.
Diverse interview panels.
Form diverse interview panels that reflect the diverse makeup of the organization and the wider society. Multiple perspectives in the interview process help mitigate biases and ensure a fair evaluation of candidates’ skills and qualifications.
On board: A culture of inclusion
Establishing a culture of inclusion is fundamental to unlocking diversity within IT outstaffing teams. Here are strategies to foster an inclusive environment:
- Leadership commitment. Leadership plays a crucial role in promoting inclusion. Company leaders should actively demonstrate their commitment to diversity and inclusion, setting clear expectations for all team members and holding themselves accountable for creating an inclusive culture.
- Open communication and collaboration. Encourage open communication and collaboration among team members. Provide platforms for employees to share their ideas, concerns, and suggestions without fear of judgment or discrimination.
- Sensitivity training. Offer sensitivity training programs to educate employees on diversity, unconscious biases, and the importance of inclusion. These programs help foster empathy, respect, and understanding among team members.
- Employee resource groups (ERGs). Support the formation of ERGs, voluntary employee-led communities that provide support, networking opportunities, and a platform for underrepresented groups to voice their experiences and concerns. ERGs help create a sense of belonging, foster mentorship opportunities, and enable knowledge sharing.
On the career ladder: Skills development and career advancement
Providing opportunities for skills development and career advancement is crucial for retaining and promoting diversity within IT outstaffing teams. The following strategies can facilitate professional growth for all team members:
Training programs. Offer training programs that cater to the diverse needs of employees, focusing on technical skills, soft skills, and cultural competency. These programs enhance the skill set of individuals and promote a culture of continuous learning.
Mentorship and sponsorship. Establish mentorship and sponsorship programs to support the career development of underrepresented employees. Mentors can provide guidance, share insights, and advocate for their mentees’ advancement within the organization.
Equal access to opportunities. Ensure equal access to growth opportunities such as challenging projects, leadership roles, and high-profile assignments. Implement transparent and merit-based processes to eliminate biases and promote a level playing field.
Diversity in leadership. Promote diversity at all levels of leadership within the organization. Seeing individuals from diverse backgrounds in leadership positions serves as an inspiration and motivates employees to strive for career advancement.
Life-work balance as a part of the company’s culture
Having time for family and socializing is good for preventing burnout and essential for creating an inclusive environment. Flytika fosters a work-life balance and supports diverse employees with the following strategies:
- Flexible work arrangements. Remote work, flexible hours, and compressed workweeks are great arrangements that help accommodate different lifestyles and help employees balance their personal and professional responsibilities.
- Family-friendly policies. Parental leave, childcare support, lactation rooms, as well as team buildings with kids will demonstrate the company’s commitment to supporting employees in different stages of their personal lives.
- Well-being initiatives. Offer wellness programs, mental health resources, and promote a healthy work environment. Create a culture that values and supports the holistic well-being of all team members.
Embracing the client’s culture: A short guide for IT outsaffing companies
Embracing a client’s culture is not just a sign of respect; it is also a strategic move that can lead to long-term success in the IT outsourcing industry. By understanding and adapting to your client’s cultural nuances, you create a strong foundation for collaboration, build trust, and enhance client satisfaction. Here are some working strategies to effectively navigate cultural differences and create successful partnerships.
- Cultural awareness and sensitivity. One of the first steps in embracing a client’s culture is to develop cultural awareness and sensitivity. Take the time to educate yourself and your team about the client’s cultural norms, values, communication styles, and business practices. This knowledge will help you understand their expectations and avoid misunderstandings. Additionally, be mindful of potential cultural nuances when interacting with the client, both in written and verbal communication.
- Build relationships. Building strong relationships is crucial in any business partnership, and it becomes even more important when working across cultures. Invest time and effort in building rapport with your clients. Demonstrate a genuine interest in their culture, traditions, and values. Actively engage in conversations beyond work-related topics to foster a sense of trust and camaraderie. This will help establish a solid foundation for effective collaboration.
- Adapt communication styles. Effective communication is the backbone of successful outsourcing relationships. Recognize that different cultures may have distinct communication styles and preferences. Some cultures may prioritize indirect communication, while others may value directness. Adapt your communication style to align with your client’s preferences. Listen actively, ask clarifying questions, and provide regular updates to ensure transparency and maintain a healthy flow of communication.
- Respect and honor local holidays and customs. This is a gesture that goes a long way in building strong relationships. Take note of important dates and celebrations in their culture and show your respect by acknowledging them. Consider adjusting project timelines or scheduling meetings around significant holidays. By demonstrating your understanding and appreciation of their culture, you’ll earn respect and strengthen the partnership.
- Foster a diverse and inclusive work environment. To truly embrace a client’s culture, foster a diverse and inclusive work environment within your own organization. Encourage employees from diverse backgrounds to share their experiences and perspectives. Promote cross-cultural collaboration and learning opportunities. By valuing and celebrating diversity, you create a culture that is open, accepting, and adaptable to different cultural norms and practices.
- Continuous learning and improvement. Stay informed about cultural trends and changes that may impact your client’s expectations. Regularly seek feedback from your clients to understand how well your organization is adapting to their culture and identify areas for improvement.
But first of all – talk. Millions of years of tongue and language evolution shouldn’t be in vain. Use your ability to talk every time you fill a misunderstanding is somewhere around the corner.
How to track your progress?
Regular assessment and measurement of diversity and inclusion initiatives are crucial to track progress and identify areas for improvement. Consider the following approaches:
Demographic data collection. Collect demographic data voluntarily and confidentially to understand the diversity makeup of the organization. This data provides insights into representation and helps identify potential gaps or underrepresented groups.
Employee surveys. Conduct regular surveys to gauge employee experiences and perceptions of inclusion within the organization. Encourage anonymous feedback to ensure honest and constructive responses.
Key performance indicators. Develop KPIs related to diversity and inclusion to measure progress and hold the organization accountable. These can include metrics such as representation at different levels, employee satisfaction, and diversity-related training participation.
Continuous improvement. Use the insights gathered from data collection, employee feedback, and KPIs to drive continuous improvement in diversity and inclusion strategies. Regularly reassess and refine initiatives based on the evolving needs and aspirations of the workforce.