Aarti Srivastava, CHRO, Capgemini India, writes in All Things Talent about how inclusive tech teams are four times more likely to create inclusive products, benefiting innovation, growth, and brand value.
Inclusive tech – a major challenge
A whopping 90% of global businesses are struggling with diversity and inclusion (D&I) practices within their tech teams; organisations with diverse and inclusive tech teams are four times more likely to create inclusive products. Such figures expose the well-known secret: Organizations focusing on D&I in their tech teams benefit from innovation, business growth, and brand value.
As digital technologies infiltrate our lives, D&I has become more critical than ever as consumers seek more inclusive and representative products and services.
While the benefits of D&I are well-known, let us delve into some critical aspects of inclusive tech: What is the role of inclusive tech in shaping the IT industry? What is the interplay between workplace diversity and inclusive tech design? And how can inclusive design be a source of innovation and profitability for companies?
It is also important to showcase inspirational role models. An effective way to do this is through internal testimonies, where female employees share their career stories and how they overcome challenges
Also read: How To Define Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Workplaces?
Tech Inclusivity – a win-win for organisation
The gender gap in the technology sector is a complex issue. It is partly tied to the fact that there is a limited pool of available talent. Considering the number of tech and STEM students entering the tech sector, the number of women is low – and isn’t really growing.
Industry research shows that in the US, only 21% of engineering significant students and 19% of those studying computer and information science as a primary subject are women.
COVID-19 has compounded these issues. Since the onset of the pandemic, 400,000 more women than men have left the workforce in the US alone. Estimates suggest that employment for women may not recover to pre-pandemic levels until 2024 — a full two full years after men.
Discriminatory technology has a critical role in all of this. Gender and ethnicity data can indeed be used negatively against the already prejudiced. For instance, by not being given hiring opportunities.
But without inclusive IT teams, the risk of integrating human biases into new products and services is high. This is particularly apparent when we consider AI-enabled systems.
It is amply proven that many women and ethnic minorities have experienced tech-based discrimination first-hand, particularly in financial and healthcare services. For example, it’s become well-known that 50% of ethnic minorities believe they were offered lower credit online for certain banking products, and 43% of women and ethnic minorities were either not shown, or denied access to, healthcare facilities by those offering specialised services.
Also read: 50% Women Feel Slowed Down by Their Own Self-Limiting Biases – Report
Inclusive teams emphasise and showcase diversity. When tech departments do not have inclusive products and services, it impacts customer experiences. D&I has a ripple effect on revenue and profitability.
In fact, companies with above-average total diversity had both 19 percentage points higher innovation revenues and 9 percentage points higher profit margins, on average.
Also, inclusive companies are 1.7 times more likely to be innovation leaders in their respective markets. A diverse workforce brings more creativity and differentiation to examine a task and critically understand consumers from diverse backgrounds. Organisations can boost efficiency, productivity, and consumer satisfaction by developing products catering to a larger consumer base.
Building inclusive technologies has an organic relationship with how people from diverse backgrounds within the team feel at the workplace. The perception gap between leadership and women and ethnic-minority tech employees is narrower in organisations with an inclusive culture.
Inclusive companies are 1.7 times more likely to be innovation leaders in their respective markets. A diverse workforce brings more creativity and differentiation to examine a task and critically understand consumers from diverse backgrounds.
It’s never too late for the right and inclusive tech
D&I is vital to building and maintaining the brand reputation or avoiding bad publicity. Diverse teams lead to more inclusive tech design, and strong workplace inclusion practices lead to more inclusive design practices.
Organisations can offer training for underrepresented and marginalised people, enabling them to acquire technology skills that are in demand in the job market. Similarly, adapting recruitment ads and organising dedicated job fairs allows every person to recognise themselves in the expected profiles and skillsets.
It is also important to showcase inspirational role models. An effective way to do this is through internal testimonies, where female employees share their career stories and how they overcome challenges. Finally, we should ensure that recruitment teams have zero tolerance for bias. This can be achieved through unconscious bias workshops and training.
Also read: What Prevents Women From Taking Leadership Roles?
To build an inclusive business, leaders must walk the talk. They must also address the perception gap within their organisation between leaders and employees.
Given the increasing demand for tech-fueled products and services free from discrimination and inclusive by design, having diverse tech workforces, cultures, and practices has never been more important.
About The Author: Aarti Srivastava is a seasoned HR leader with over 20 years of experience in organisation design, leadership development, and change management.
Year of Incorporation: 1967 in Paris, 1992 in India.
Employees: Over 360,000 globally, an 11% increase year on year.
Founder: Serge Kampf
Anirban Bose, Head of Financial Services Strategic Business Unit
Ashwin Yardi, CEO, Capgemini in India
Olaf Pietschner, CEO, Asia-Pacific Strategic Business Unit
Business Line: A global leader in partnering with companies to transform and manage their business by harnessing the power of technology.
Hiring Pipeline: Capgemini has hired 35,000 people in India in the last year
Workforce Growth: In the last two years, it added 50,000 employees in India, which accounts for more than 50% of the total.
Key HR Factors:
-The proportion of women in the total workforce reached 37.8% at the end of 2022 compared with 35.8% a year earlier, and 24.4% among the Group’s executive leaders compared with 22.4% at the end of 2021.
-In human capital development, the Group provided 17.4 million training hours to employees in 2022, compared with 12.8 million in 2021. This represents a 12% increase in the average number of training hours per employee, well above the Group’s commitment to an annual 5% increase.
Source: Company reports