How to fight diversity fatigue, Aubrey Blanche Global Head of D&I at Atlassian with Kieran Snyder, PhD co-founder and CEO at Textio Webinar Recording
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How to fight diversity fatigue: a recorded webinar

Hot on the heels of Atlassian’s 2018 State of Diversity and Inclusion in U.S. Tech Report, Textio invited Aubrey Blanche, Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion at Atlassian, to join us for a webinar and discuss one of the key findings in her research: that the U.S. tech industry’s efforts to improve diversity among its ranks are beginning to slow down.

For anyone who works in D&I or just wants to create more balance on their own teams, this is an in-depth conversation with valuable, practical guidance that you can act on starting today. We strongly recommend you watch the full video, but here are a few of the many important takeaways:

Diversity fatigue is real—it’s in the data

According to Atlassian’s report, most of the tech industry is not making significant progress toward building balanced teams in 2018—in fact companies in Silicon Valley are doing less about it this year than last. This is happening despite massive amounts of attention and discussion about diversity and inclusion. Here’s what the report found:

  • 80% of people believe Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) is important to their company, but there has been a significant year-over-year drop in the number of Silicon Valley companies reporting that they had any formal D&I programs.
  • A Diversity & Inclusion program needs to be custom built for the company it serves. So take your best ideas, experiment with them, see what works, and move on from what doesn’t.
  • People who believe their company is a “meritocracy” also tend to make the most biased decisions.

You can create a culture of belonging

Here are some specific strategies Blanche shares to combat diversity fatigue:

  • Move from talking about diversity and inclusion to talking about belonging. Focusing on diversity showcases our differences, whereas everyone understands the importance of belonging and can support it. Atlassian created a speaker series as well as an internal blog where anyone at the company can share personal stories and learn from each other.
  • Instead of hiring based on “culture fit” hire based on “values alignment.” Atlassian created a rubric of questions and answers to ensure they are looking for someone who is aligned with their values rather than someone who employees would get along with.
  • Don’t create overly narrow groups of people, instead think about intersectional identities. We all have layers and bring lots of identities to work with us. Create a space where people can show up authentically who they are.
  • Understand what the language in your job posts and candidate outreach says about your company values. Ensure these critical aspects of the candidate experience are the reflection you want to see. Atlassian writes their job posts using Textio to attract the widest group of people and therefore find more qualified talent faster.
Find out more: How Atlassian went from 10% female technical graduates to 57% in two years.

Find out where you stand today

Blanche shared a couple ways to do a cultural audit at your company:

  • Look at attrition data by demographics. Complete exit surveys and find out why people leave. Identify patterns and then determine how to create systemic change.
  • When you hire black women in particular, pay close attention to their experience at your company. Research shows that when you improve their work experience, it will in turn improve the experience of people from other marginalized groups.
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