2050

Kat Gabrielle and Anton Strömberg (Photo and logo courtesy of 2050Work)

3 Ways Companies Can Increase Workplace Diversity

February 11, 2019 - 11:15 am
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Thanks to the influence of technology, the future of work will look different over the next few years. Technology such as automation, AI, and the gig economy are changing the American workforce. There’s no better time than now to install diversity in any organization, no matter the size, niche, or location. Co-founder of 2050Work, Kat Gabrielle, gives insight on how companies can increase workplace diversity. Based in Brooklyn, NY, 2050Work is a job platform for people of color in the creative, digital media, and technology industries.

 

What inspired 2050Work?

Anton Strömberg [co-founder] and I worked together at the same creative agency a few years ago. We were both frustrated with the lack of racial and ethnic diversity within our teams. Of course, this was a lot more frustrating for me as the only person of color and one of the very few women in our office. We recognized that this workplace dynamic wasn't unique in other industries that we worked in. And, that there was an opportunity to create space for underrepresented groups. We started by asking ourselves, 'What is the simplest solution we could produce to create a big impact?'

After a few iterations, we built a job platform that allows job seekers of color to connect with creative, digital media, and tech companies.

 

How does 2050Work differ from other job platforms?

Not only is 2050Work one of very few diversity-focused job platforms, but its competitive advantage is targeting specific industries. Many of the industries are all working to increase diversity, and we do it in a simple and cost-effective way.

 

Do you have any tips for companies or hiring managers on how to increase workplace diversity?

For starters, companies can increase the number of POC hiring managers/recruiters and make diversity and inclusion a priority when hiring for open roles. The majority of hiring managers are white. 41 percent of hiring managers claim they’re too busy putting in placement diversity initiatives. With these two factors, along with the fact that 91 percent of white people’s social networks are made up of other white people, and 85 percent of hiring happens within the network, it’s pretty clear why diversity efforts fail or aren’t implemented at all.

Also, when hiring for middle management and executive level roles, ensure that you have a diverse pool of candidates to choose from. We surveyed job seekers, and 94 percent said that increased diversity in leadership was a major workplace perk. Last, post your job openings on 2050Work!

 

What mistakes do companies or hiring managers make when trying to create workplace diversity?

One huge mistake companies make is relying on the few POC team members to mobilize diversity and inclusion efforts. It's the responsibility of the company. This ensures that building a diverse team and investing in employee equity is valued and embedded within the framework of the company culture. It's everyone's responsibility to ensure that all teams have a wealth of diversity. Another major failure is bolstering diversity numbers without addressing the inclusion piece. This includes addressing unconscious bias throughout the entire employee experience.

Last, hiring for a ‘culture fit’. Culture fit has been a huge buzz phrase in recent years, especially in the tech and creative fields. The inherent problem with hiring people that you assume would already fit into the established company culture is that you aren’t leaving room for someone with varying experiences or cultural backgrounds to add to the culture. We should always look for the ‘culture add’ rather than the culture fit, or we run the risk of homogenizing teams.

 

Why do you believe diversity is important in the workforce?

I'm not sure that it matters so much why I personally think diversity is important in the workforce. It just is. We named the platform 2050Work because by the year 2050, America will be a majority-minority nation. Companies should begin preparing for that shift. It doesn't make sense for large groups of people to not be represented in the workforce. From a business perspective, diverse teams are more creative, productive, and increase the company's bottom-line.

 

Do you have any tips for job seekers of color?

I like to call myself a ‘professional job seeker’ because I’m always on the lookout for career opportunities for friends, colleagues, or the community at large. I recommend the following tips for job seekers when trying to forward their careers. 

First, join community groups that are relevant to your industry and/or expertise. There are limitless Slack, Meetup, and Facebook groups that are available and specific to diverse candidates. For example, Black Tech Women Slack group, AFROTECH Facebook group, Blacks in Tech, to name a few. These are great for finding job opportunities or even potential mentors. My best career connections have come from Linkedin. Although, this isn’t a new tip, be sure to keep your Linkedin active and up-to-date. Last, and most important, do not subscribe to imposter syndrome. This is the single most important tip to remember. Just because we are underrepresented, does not mean we are not qualified.

 

What’s the future for 2050Work?

2050Work is currently in private beta over the next few weeks. We’re testing and improving our platform for both job seekers and companies. We will publicly launch by the end of the year. Post-launch we plan to conduct research to provide much-needed insights for the industry to share knowledge around the necessity of diversity and inclusion efforts. Last, to grow our business and build brand awareness.

 

This article was written by Marie Flounoy for Small Business Pulse