Recruiting More Underrepresented Candidates Won’t Magically Make Your Organisation Inclusive

It doesn’t matter if you hire black or Latino or LGBTQ+ people, if you then expect them to show up showing a “culture fit” and don’t support them to thrive in their difference.

— An underrepresented minority executive

Diversity work, especially in recruiting, often comes with levers to pull that give you more immediate results and shorter feedback loops: advertise a job on a certain platform, look for certain communities on LinkedIn for reachout efforts, sponsor a meetup. Though it can still be a heavy lift to get the representation you’re aiming for, these are all more or less easy wins where putting money and effort toward the problem can often turn metrics around.

I moved to a different department to avoid being under a shitty male CTO and my career as a programmer was over. Yes, I could have worked to get back into it, but I was super bitter about how hard I would have to work. I had only changed to avoid this shitty CTO.

— A woman speaking about her first job as a software developer

Photo by S O C I A L . C U T on Unsplash

I have a million examples. A while male exec asking me and another Black woman to run a project because he was too busy to do it. And then every time we point out problems with suggested solutions, not like we were just bitching… we’re trying to fix things. But every single time he would default to another white man and disregard our input.

— A Black woman speaking about a previous role

Career ladders and progression paths. Ladders and progression paths transparently call out which qualities and results are required for different levels of influence and responsibility. It codifies how people get power, and also signals that advancement in the organization is not up to gut feeling of your manager. It’s measured, quantifiable, and objective. Also, flat hierarchies don’t exist. There is always a hierarchy, and whether your organization chooses to transparently call it out is an important management choice.

There’s a critical difference between hiring somebody who is different from the straight white male standard and actively, intentionally providing those people an environment in which they are psychologically safe and actively supported to thrive.

— a woman speaking about her experience as an executive

Transparent salary calculations. This doesn’t have to look like each individual’s salary being published. But it’s reasonable to have transparent salary bands for role and seniority, so that a partner success manager knows that other folks with her role and seniority fall within a certain pay range. Aside from publishing this, your organization needs to ensure that it’s enforced fairly across the team, and control for outliers.

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Laura Tacho

Laura Tacho

VP of Engineering turned engineering leadership coach. I moved off of Medium to lauratacho.com