Diversity in the workplace is more than a news headline and has become an increasingly important matter for many businesses. Not only is having an inclusive workforce incredibly beneficial for the staff and customers, it is the right thing to do as a corporate citizen. Working with people that have had different experiences and found new ways to overcome obstacles increases innovation throughout the industry. Lastly, there is no question that technology is global. Inclusion in this space should be a given – not an option.
In 1965, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was founded in order to foster diversity in the workplace for women and minority groups. While there has been progress over the last 50 years, there is still much room for improvement. According to the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, out of the thousands of professional workers in the country today, on average, a mere 20% are considered part of a minority group.
Studies have shown that businesses benefit immensely from encouraging diversity in their workplaces. By having employees from different backgrounds and perspectives, companies gain insight into new markets, learn how to reach new and varied customers, and promote morale and team bonding. Cogeco Peer 1 understands the importance of having a diverse workplace and continues its commitment to be an equal opportunity employer.
In the U.S. we understand that partnerships are key in achieving this shift. One such example is the strategic partnership with Opportunity Hub, an inclusive, innovation, entrepreneurship, and investment ecosystem building platform. During SXSW 2018, our two firms focused on diversity and inclusion in the IT industry, centering on critical efforts that will capture the attention of minorities and encourage them to consider careers in technology. In addition, during the event I had the opportunity to speak on a panel titled, Solutions for Hiring Top Minority Tech Talent, which touched on how solving this issue takes effort on multiple levels, starting with building the framework as early as primary school and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) studies.
Cogeco Peer 1 has been proactive and is working to enhance diversity in its workplace. We will be extending intern opportunities in technology to minority students in the U.S. Working with entry level recruiters, attending job fair events and partnering with minority organizations like Opportunity Hub, we are looking to further increase diversity in the workplace. As we say, being a good corporate citizen is ‘in our fibre.’
Our EMEA team is also taking steps to make a change for the positive. My colleague Susan Bowen in the UK is the Director of the Tech Talent Charter for TechUK. The aim is to deliver greater diversity in the tech workforce of the UK – one that better reflects the make-up of the population. Signatories of the charter make pledges in relation to their approach to recruitment and retention. Firms can also implement change by starting formal mentoring programs and educating the workforce on the benefits of having a more inclusive team.
Companies who prioritize diversity are not only seeing ROI in the form of staff morale and company culture, but also in their bottom line. Harvard Business Review recently studied how inherent diversity — such as gender and ethnicity — and acquired diversity, traits you gain from experience, contribute to positive outcomes for businesses. Organizations that hire diverse employees are 45% likelier to state that their firm’s market share increased over the previous year and 70% more inclined to indicate that they obtained a new market.
The world is becoming smaller and technology connects us. Communities and customers are globalized. Why should our workforce not be equally varied? Cogeco Peer 1 is committed to continuing to be an Equal Opportunity employer and will continue to measure and foster diversity across the company. What is your company’s commitment to diversity?