When it comes to diversity in tech, #TheStruggleIsReal. In an industry dominated by males spotting a couple of stereotypes, industry-leading organisations are calling for a larger focus on diversity and multiculturalism. Where recruiting any top talent has proved to be a major challenge any start-up founders would face, diversity has proved to be needful.
Facebook hired Maxine Williams as its global director of diversity in 2013. One of her most notable efforts was overhauling the Managing Bias training course to help individuals understand their possible biasness. Through real-world examples, employees were taught to work on pre-emptive solutions. Google, the first tech giant to publicly release its diversity numbers, has also pledged to “unite this dialogue around diversity in the tech industry”, its director of diversity and inclusion Yolanda Mangolini said.
You might be thinking, “Why the hoo-hah over diversity and multiculturalism? We are a small team and not all tech companies have access to resources like Facebook and Google.” You might also be thinking, “How can a small startup foster an environment conducive for minorities?” For us at honestbee, it starts with respect. Our experience in having a diverse team also bought about a positive impact on our business and the culture we are building. Here are some tips on how you can build a team that is diverse and multicultural based on our experience.
Respect Different Perspectives Diversity Brings
Working with a team of individuals from different backgrounds, culture and education is great. This means that a broader range of insights and ideas will be brought to the table. For the team to work efficiently together though, mutual respect is key.
It is important that team members keep an open mind and open communication channel. Remember, different departments have to work together quite closely. It’s best that the working relationship is kept at optimum to be able to solve things more creatively as a team.
Integrating People from Different Backgrounds into the Local Culture
Starting a new job is difficult enough, let alone starting a new job in a new city and a new culture. You can imagine how nerve-wrecking or frustrating it must be when you step into an office where no one understands you. Think about this: no one knows what you’re saying and what you’re trying to achieve.
Here at honestbee, our social committee ensures that team members integrate well with each other. We encourage informal engagement sessions during lunch or after work so as to learn more about each other. We also take them out during the weekends for them to experience the fun side of Singapore, such as cycling, paintball and soccer sessions. Just a few weekends ago, we even had a little tour at Gardens by the Bay for the new joiners!
Talent Scouting in Different Places
Instead of going to the same universities for new talents, honestbee works with different colleges. We strive for gender balance and having a global team. We also hold culture interviews to ensure that potential employees have aligned cultural beliefs.
To date, we have dedicated employees from 29 countries across the globe, including Taiwan, Hong Kong, the Philippines, France, Germany, Romania. Close to half of our employees are females.
Diversity and multiculturalism in tech is not a new conversation. It’s been talked about, and some companies have even been working on it for years. As a young company that’s barely a year old, we are definitely proud of our small gains. But at the same time, we are committed to improving and fostering a better work environment. Diversity brings so much more to our products and services. It adds so much colour, passion and nuances, which in return, benefits our customers.
We‘d be happy to engage in a diversity discussion. Hit us up if you want to speak!