"Swipe Right for Diversity" Tech Companies quick fix recruitment solution.
Posted on May 06 2018
I am appalled to the point of writing about it when I see Tech company after Tech company announcing their “Diversity" Initiatives. They are basically like every single woman approaching 30 who decides “I’m going to get married and have children” then instantly expects Mr.Right to be on Tinder, ready for marriage, ready to breed and ready to propose after 6 months.
Just to be clear - “Diversity" in these companies means people other than the status quo of white, under 30 and straight. So anybody outside of those three categories.
News Flash for Tech Companies - You are an all mainly all white company because you are white (mainly male).
The owners are white, mix with other white people, studied and did your Masters with white people, have dinner parties with white people, attend sporting events with white people and therefore employ Jack because he is a great guy. After a few years of this you walk around your newly designed hipster offices, that cost a small fortune, and suddenly realise - “oh, we are all white”.
Yup, mate - you get what you focus on.
Then one day just like a desperate woman you decide you need more variety of nationalities in your business (mainly because it is good for the share price) and instead of being the lighthouse and attracting the right people who naturally wish to work with you, are a good fit for the culture of your team and oh, yes are excellent at the job you are employing them for. . . NO instead you declare with a huge fanfare your Diversity Program. This usually comes along with series of networking nights, an intranet page, some T-Shirts and a micro-site and BOOM . . . you are ready to hire non-white, older and non-straight people . . . sigh.
Listen up SaaS Companies . . . the reason you do not have a variety of different nationalities and diverse people working in your organization because you are boring.
Never, ever in the history of my career did I feel my gender and or sexual preference was a factor in me delivering the tasks to achieve my goals in my job, yet here we are in 2018 having LGBTQ events by tech companies & women in sales networking nights every month. Why? Are we not creating more divisions?
I have absolutely zero interest if you like to date soft cuddly toys. As long as you are not hurting anybody and are a good person please do your job as you were hired to do. We are all in the building doing work and I presume you are working too, what you enjoy in your spare time is none of my business. Over the years I have been lucky enough to work with people who have become close friends, over time . . . however, in the beginning, we are all there to get the job done - so please do it and let's keep the small talk to the weather and food preferences. . . ok?
Recently I made the mistake of going to an event hosted by another American up and coming software company who is headquartered in Silicon Dublin. I was under the illusion I was going to learn something new about technology as that is the industry I am in and expect to have a bit of a sales pitch either about their product or how many people they need or both. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Instead, we had an all-white “panel” of four - one token woman basically gloating about how they got their cubicle jobs, how great it is to work there . . . they even have a women’s group and a chatbot asking them how they are each week . . . ground-breaking.
The head guy made a point to tell us all how he had called up the previous American MD one day and directly asked “how can I have your job?” Knowing, of course, that the majority of U.S. employees coming to Ireland in the Tech scene either leave to APAC or return home. He was very proud of this and appeared to even have walked up a flight of stairs, as his prior employer was in the same building.
As each person got a chance to talk about their luck in being in such an amazing, vibrant company, the popular topic of Diversity was raised and the MD immediately asked the female to tell us all about how great their program is. I am sure my exasperated exhale was heard a few rows in front of me, I couldn’t contain myself.
I have been working in various technology companies for over 20 years and twice have left roles out of complete boredom. As I spent every meeting after meeting with middle-aged white men who’s small talk comprised of themselves & sport, I thought to myself . . . “is this for me? Could I be doing something better with my life?”
Anyhoo, back to the panel in Dublin . . .We hear about how even women who have children work in this innovative company . . . Yawn. I thought we were done on that topic but oh no, Mr. White MD who had told us the story earlier about how he had got his job from another white man then tells us about a progressive initiative in their US headquarters that is all about focusing on getting “African-Americans’ to become software engineers. He was so proud of it . . . I was mortified.
Side-note . . . the panel was talking to a 98% white room of under 30 somethings, not judging . . . I have eyes.
Let me tell you the reality of these Diversity programs in business today. When we are all working with different ethnicities and ages (going to leave sexual preferences out of this because - SURPRISE - I don’t feel the need to bring it up in a business meeting) . . . before a Diversity Drive, people can come in to the workplace and we all presume they were the best person for the role based on their skills and availability. After a Diversity Program, the first question on everyone's mind is “Were you hired because you are good at your job or because you are diverse?” FACT !
Other terms that literally make me cringe to the bone is when executives announce that this year they wish to “solve their Diversity problem” like its a bug in an app. They then announce Nancy, will head up the Diversity Program - she is white, 27 and has a boyfriend - Nigel, who is white and 28 - he works in support.
Ok so here we are . . . and here is my two cents . . . I feel that being myself “diverse” I feel I can give some advice to the tech companies of the world on their current biggest challenge and coincidentally it is the same advice I give to my single friends today who are looking to meet someone special and be in a committed long-term relationship.
Be Real. Spend some time on your own and acknowledge who you really are, what you like, what are your values, what are the things you really like to do. Be the best you can be.
Have fun. Go and do the things that you love, hang out in the places you like, because you like them not because you are intending to meet someone - if that is a cafe or a bar, be there on your own and read a book, it could be a sporting event, a concert, go and enjoy yourself, turn up day after day and be happy with yourself. Enjoy the process of learning who you are.
Be present, take your time, be natural and enjoy the time you have the way things are. Attract positivity and think positively. Have an idea of what you would like but not a complete blueprint. Deep, long-lasting connections with humans take time and are not found quickly on an app. They don’t happen overnight just because you “decided” that you wanted a significant other in your life.
Listen. Be open to different types of relationships, lifestyles, think differently about the people you would like to have in your life, read and learn. Not everyone wants to get married and have a mortgage and 3 kids, they have different ideas about what a committed relationship can look like so listen to them. There are thousands of ways we can live our lives and be happy.
Travel, there is nothing like broadening the mind to new experiences and ways of life that getting on a plane, train or boat and visiting other countries. Learn about different cultures and ask if they are doing things that you could embrace? Ideally live somewhere else for a while and be independent.
Be the lighthouse, not the foghorn.
Damn that felt good to get it off my chest. . . .comments welcome below.
Pease and love,