NCWIT Tips: 8 Tips for Announcing Your Workforce Diversity Numbers

Tips Announcing Diversity Cover

Releasing the diversity demographics of your technical workforce is important for stimulating open conversation and measuring efforts to increase diversity in your organization. These tips will help you plan the release of this data and take follow-up steps to implement meaningful change efforts toward increasing diversity.

Tips Diversity Numbers File Circle Thumb1. Be sure that the announcement comes from the CEO or a senior executive.

Leadership and accountability from senior executives demonstrates a strong commitment to change and is an important first step in increasing diversity.

2. Avoid naming or highlighting specific employees as examples of existing diversity.

While it may be tempting to feature these examples, research illustrates that this kind of “tokenism” has negative effects. Rather than demonstrating a company’s commitment to diversity, it can be seen as the “exception that proves the rule.” In some cases, such tactics may also seem defensive or disingenuous, having the same effect as an individual saying, “I’m not biased; I have close friends who are women.”

3. Keep the focus on changing company culture and avoid focusing only or primarily on the “pipeline.”

While it is important to reform education, focusing on the lack of women studying computing in high school or college can prevent companies from taking important research-based actions to change their own culture. Research clearly demonstrates that this is not simply a “pipeline problem”; company culture plays a significant role in driving women and underrepresented groups away from these jobs.

4. Acknowledge that this is only the first step in demonstrating a commitment to diversity.

Make it clear that the company realizes that moving beyond the numbers and implementing research-based practices for greater inclusion are necessary for lasting change to occur.

5. Be specific about the steps the company will take to create the cultural change necessary for increasing diversity.

Identify and mention specific actions you will take within your own organization. See NCWIT’s Strategic Planning Guide to help you identify research-based practices you can implement.

Tips Diversity Numbers Target Circle Thumb6. Demonstrate an ongoing commitment to reporting and tracking the data.

Increasing diversity needs to be treated like any other critical business issue. Set goals and continually measure progress. Consider including these data as part of the corporate annual report for greater accountability.

7. Be sure to disaggregate data for technical positions.

Tracking and reporting EEO-1 or other company-wide numbers is important, but these do not present an accurate picture of representation in technical occupations. Report specific data for technical occupations as well.

Tips Diversity Numbers Graphs Photo Circle Thumb8. Expand the kinds of data you collect.

While overall numbers are important, it also matters WHAT women and other underrepresented groups are actually doing in these technical jobs. Are they able to make meaningful contributions to innovation? To assess this, consider collecting quantitative AND qualitative data on who is represented in leadership roles, creative and core technical roles, patenting, and so on.

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