The journey to breaking barriers of entry in tech
Even though tech is a relatively new industry, it does have historical barriers of entry for emerging talent, including socio-economic factors like college education and access to resources. Therefore, recruiting diverse talent in the tech ecosystem can be especially difficult.
As the industry continues to grow here in Central Indiana and companies seek ways to attract a strong and diverse talent pool, one key factor will be to ensure organizations continue to do the work necessary internally to deepen their team’s understanding of how inequities permeate our community. Teams need tools and spaces for shared learning and to be given opportunities to take part in candid conversations in order to create a more inclusive workplace for diverse candidates.
Fostering more opportunities for an inclusive workplace
Nearly 70 hc1 team members took part in the “Equity Journey” learning series hosted by United Way of Central Indiana in early September. It’s one of the learning initiatives our company has undertaken this year in the journey to foster more opportunities for an inclusive workplace. We used the series as an opportunity to ensure we are continuing to create opportunities for awareness, understanding the challenges and discussing how we can become part of the solution.
Awareness is a key foundation of getting the initiative right and particularly making awareness of unconscious bias a normal part of our practices will allow us to uncover issues and find prescriptive solutions. One area where we feel we can really make an impact at hc1 is in continuing to cultivate an equitable and empathetic environment as part of our recruitment process. Each candidate has unique strengths, gifts, and different lived experiences that we have to be mindful of to gain a greater understanding of possible challenges in order to become part of the solution.
The Equity Journey program and materials were targeted toward local cause and effects which helped to personalize the program and make it more relevant to our lives and community. We learned through a historical lens related to Central Indiana and the ways in which inequalities have permeated on an institutional and systemic level.
Making inclusion a conscious effort everyday
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) isn’t something that you just check a box on and move ahead. This Equity Journey offered an eye-opening experience for our team as we shared an open and honest dialogue about the root causes of this issue, and the extra care that is needed to create a meaningful impact on our DE&I initiatives. Following this event, our Employee Resource Group met to determine ways that hc1 can become part of the solution to inequities in our tech ecosystem. We are pursuing partnerships with diversely populated organizations to offer our knowledge, time, and expertise to audiences that may not have natural means to break into our industry. We believe that the best way to identify diversity is simply by empowering diverse talent.
This effort is not going to be successful due to just one person’s efforts. In order to elevate an organization, diversity is something that companies have to earn, by making inclusion a conscious effort in their day-to-day business practices. We have to continue to be present, be conscious of the practices of an out-of-balance system and embrace collaboration in an effort to keep learning about the ways unconscious biases can directly impact those we seek to join us in the workplace.
Leadership means holding ourselves accountable
Finding and retaining strong, diverse talent means first holding ourselves accountable. We will keep sharing, keep collaborating with those who offer perspectives different from our own and keep seeking ways to take meaningful action to break the barriers of entry not only to grow the city’s diverse talent pool, but to give more opportunities to those already in our industry.