Views and announcements

Fostering Diversity in the Tech World

  • Written By Stephen Murphy, Director of Customer Success Europe, Applied Systems Europe. 

    What does diversity mean to you? Here at Applied, we believe it is key differentiator for business success. Helping people feel comfortable within their working environment and allowing them to be truly themselves opens an abundance of opportunities for people and business to flourish. 

    Diversity is a necessity for future growth whether you are small, medium or large-scale business, but, how and where do you start? Last year, Applied Systems drew up a Global Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging (DIB) strategy to focus on our workforce, workplace and marketplace. This strategy was an important initiative within our overall business strategy, so our Executive Team was keen to ensure full participation. 

    Related jobs

    First, we welcomed Tarra Seawright as our new Senior Manager of Diversity Program Management and created a Global DIB Council. The council, of which I am a European Co-Chair, has implemented and empowered diversity into our business through our hiring practices, training process and diversity celebrations in the marketplace. 

    Through our experience so far, we have seen how championing a diverse work culture has helped our colleagues and organisation succeed. For other businesses on this diversity journey, we want to offer advice how to begin this journey anexplain how it’s helped us succeed. 

    Building and Encouraging Diversity 

    It’s one thing to talk about diversity, inclusion and belonging, but we must practice what we preach and so we created opportunities for our employees to learn and encourage our diverse work culture through a combination of learning modules, communities of interest and diversity celebrations. 

    Learning: With our Executive Team fully vested in this initiative, we kicked off with a top down approach and introduced Diversity Month at Applied with our executives sharing what inclusion meant to them. This company-wide blog was a big hit with our employees, opening the conversation and encouraging intentional thinking to promote a more inclusive workplace. Following this, we launched a series of learning modules for our employees to learn about DIB and unconscious bias.  

    Having our executives be passionate and expressive about diversity was wonderful, but we also wanted to have participation opportunities for our employees. In 2020, my colleagues on the Global DIB Council and I, completed two days of training with The Leadership Academy for Enhancing DIB Impact, providing us with additional skills and tools to build momentum and sustain success. 

    Communities of Interest:  As part of the council, we created our Community of Interests (COIs) to be safe spaces for our diverse employees, including communities such as LGBTQIA, Women in Tech and Black at Applied. We are particularly proud of these COIs offering supportive, inclusive networks of employees who share knowledge, celebrate culture and backgrounds, build meaningful relationships across our company, and contribute to a strong business.  

    Celebrating Diversity: To date, our Communities of Interest and DIB Council have created more than 40 activities and events for the greater Applied population. We found that providing a space for our colleagues to be celebrated and connect brought a sense of community, especially during the pandemic when we couldn’t be together in person.  

    Building a Diverse Team 

    When you hire people from diverse backgrounds, nationalities and cultures, you’re bringing a fresh array of perspectives to the table. Knowing this prompting us to update our hiring process.  

    Key changes in our job postings and applications to talk more openly about our culture resulted in more interest from candidates, seeing our culture as a differentiator from other businesses. Some of these simple changes included: 

    • Talking about culture in job postings and including meaningful diverse content onto job platforms, such as Glassdoor and LinkedIn. 

    • Asking Communities of Interest to generate interest and engagement from prospective team members 

    • Updating applications to remove gender specific references  

    Not only was there a need to incorporate diversity into our narrative online, including the importance of diversity in our hiring process as a whole was also crucial. During ongoing hiring training for our managers, we discuss unconscious bias, stereotypes and behavioral interviewing to help managers understand candidates on a more personal level. This helps potential candidates feel comfortable to be themselves in the hiring process, and our hiring managers are leading by example by promoting a more inclusive workplace. 

    External Marketplace Presence 

    As we build upon our foundation for diversity, inclusion and belonging internally, exuding our workplace culture externally also important, so we updated our email signatures and social media to reflect our company’s valuesFor example, we added the option to include pronouns in our email signatures. This was an important decision to support our LGBTQIA community and show we care about each individual’s preference.  

    Social media is a great channel for celebrating topics of diversity, inclusion, and belonging. We work with teams across Applied to share and celebrate diversity from all corners of our business, from celebrating Women’s History on International Women’s Day to Black History Month throughout the month of October 

    This multi-channel approach and high level of employee participation helped Applied Europe achieve The Diversity Mark Bronze Award from Diversity Mark. The Diversity Mark recognises those companies that have reached a high standard of commitment to advancing Diversity and Inclusion. The Bronze Award is the first stage as we continue to build on our commitment to being a diverse and inclusive business. We are encouraged to keep working harder towards our goals as this award solidifies that our company is heading in the right direction 

    Taking the Next Step 

    Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging is something that any small, medium or large business can achieve. It is an important ingredient for any business seeking to grow, and can propel them from good to great. culture that allows individuals to be their true selves not only increases confidence and encourages them to be their best, it strengthens business performance and company ethosWith a few simple changes and greater understanding, businesses can incorporate a diverse and inclusive work culture from the hiring process to building teams to external communications 

    Applied is committed to furthering diversity and inspiring other companies to write their own company’s diversity story. This is just the beginning of our journey. We are excited to increase awareness, engagement and understanding within Applied and throughout the broader business community. 

    This article first appeared in the Winter 2021/22 edition of the Sync NI magazine. You can download your FREE copy and sign up to receive future digital editions here.

    About the author

    Aoife is a Sync NI writer with a previous background working in print, online and broadcast media. She has a keen interest in all things tech related. To connect with Aoife feel free to send her an email or connect on LinkedIn.

    Got a news-related tip you’d like to see covered on Sync NI? Email the editorial team for our consideration.

    Sign up now for a FREE weekly newsletter showcasing the latest news, jobs and events in NI’s tech sector.

Share this story