Embracing Differences: The Power of Diversity and Inclusion

Hanna Abdel Hamid
Head of Sigma Software Canada
Automatic Summary

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Tech: A Matter of Urgency

Presenting Hanna Abdelhamid, head of Sigma Software in Canada and a founding board member of the Canadian Alliance of Women in Web Three, aiming to make an impact by addressing an urgent issue in the tech landscape. Today, we deep dive into the benefits of integrating diversity, equity, and inclusion in the global tech workplace.

Is Comfort Bad for Business?

Once you walk into a meeting room where everyone looks and talks like you, a sense of comfort radiates. But is this comfort beneficial for business growth? Research disproves it, arguing that comfort hampers innovation that a diverse team brings.

Measuring the Current Diversity in Tech

The underrepresentation of diverse groups in the tech industry is a disconcerting issue that needs immediate addressing. Reports reveal heart-wrenching statistics that only 28% of women allegedly hold computing jobs, whereas the presence of Black and Hispanic Latino individuals is limited to just 7% and 8%, respectively. With only 11% of executives being women and the ever-existent discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community members, it is safe to say that the tech industry has a diversity problem.

Embedding Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion as a business strategy

Deck up for a future where Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DI) becomes an effective business strategy. Let me walk you through the advantages it offers.

A Magnet for Talent

Organizations focusing on DI are likely to attract top talent, command a stronger employer branding, and achieve higher employee retention rates. They adopt inclusive hiring practices like using gender-neutral language and providing unconscious bias training that attracts diverse talent. Plus, they opt for mentorship and sponsorship programs nurturing the underrepresented groups.

Boost to Innovation & Creativity

Companies practicing DI are more innovative, capable of offering unique solutions tailored to a variety of customer needs. Diverse teams bring different perspectives that lead to well-rounded decision making, thus fueling innovation.

Improving Financial Performance & Capturing Market Share

A diverse team resonates better with a diverse customer base, making these companies better positioned to capture a larger market share. They serve customers better, improving financial performance and escalating their market share.

Implementing DI: Challenges and Solutions

Implementing DI may be arduous with potential resistance to change, unconscious bias, lack of diversity in the talent pipeline, and accountability. However, with each challenge comes a solution, such as providing educational and training programs, adopting blind resume reviews, partnering with universities for diverse talent recruitment, and establishing metrics to track progress.

In conclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is not a mere concept, but a proven, effective business strategy. While challenges can crop up during its implementation, remember that solutions are always at hand. Be a voice for DEI in your organization and do not hesitate to speak up against any discrimination. Remember, change starts with each one of us.

Video Transcription

Good afternoon, everyone and welcome to the Women in Tech Global Conference today. I want to talk to you about something that is near and dear to my heart. I will be speaking about diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace.Before deep diving into our discussion, please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Hanna Abdelhamid and I am the head of Sigma software in Canada, which is a division of Sigma software group. It's a global company based out of Ukraine. I am also the founding board member of the Canadian Alliance of Women in Web Three. This is an organization that has a mission to train and empower women to seek careers in web three. I would like to start by asking you a question. Now, have you ever been in a meeting where everyone looked and talked and thought exactly like yourself. It's a pretty comfortable feeling, am I right? I would say yes and yes to both questions. But let me share something with you. Comfort is actually very bad for your business.

Let us see what research is saying about that research demonstrated that having an a a diverse team will lead you to be more innovative, better at solving problems, better at driving financial gains and increasing market share. And also it increases your customer satisfaction.

You might be thinking is diversity. Even an issue at the current tech industry, I will let the numbers speak for themselves. According to a report by the National Center for Women, Information Technology, women held only 28% of computing jobs in 2022 Black and Hispanic Latino individuals account for only 7% and 8% respectively of the tech workforce. In the USA. A report by mckinsey and company showed that only 11% of executives in the tech industry are women and only 3% of them are black or African American. Finally, the human rights campaign reported that 20% of members of the LGBT Q plus community have experienced high level of discrimination in the tech industry. I would assume it is safe for me to say that the tech industry has a diversity problem and that it needs to be addressed immediately. Now you might be thinking, Hannah, how can we change that? The answer is very, very simple. We need to adopt D I as a business strategy. I know now you might be thinking, well, I can foresee manager management and top executives having questions about is that really an effective strategy and how bene beneficial it will be for our company?

I will be sharing with you some of the many advantages that D I could bring to your company first D I is an excellent way to attract and retain top talent and hear how it does it companies focusing on D I are more likely to have a positive employee employer branding and reputation and this will help them attract the top talent in the market because many people want to work in places where diversity, inclusion and equity are very well embraced.

D I also leads to inclusive hiring practices such as using gender neutral, neutral languages in job description, conducting bly resume reviews and also providing unconscious bias training to interviewers. All these practices put together can help you attract diverse talent who feel valued and respected during the hiring process.

Moreover, companies focusing on D I always have mentorship and sponsorship programs to support the career development of underrepresented groups. These programs will provide opportunities for employees to connect with their more senior leaders and gain valuable career advice and guidance and that will um end in making them more loyal to your company and retain them for a longer time. So overall, by focusing on D I companies can create a more welcoming and inclusive workplace that attracts and retain top talent from diverse backgrounds. Another benefit of uh having D I as a business strategy is that it increases innovation and creativity. It is proven that diverse teams bring a range of perspective to the table, which can help identify new ideas and approaches to the problems diver, diverse teams are also more creative because they are exposed to a wider range of experiences, ideas and cultural influences. And this can lead to a more unique and innovative solution to any problems you might be facing as a company. Not to forget that diverse teams are actually better at solving complex solu uh problems because they can bring different perspectives and approaches to the table. Moreover, it is actually a fact that diverse teams are as are better at making decisions because they can draw upon a wider range of information and perspectives. And this can lead to a more informed and well-rounded decision making process.

Hence, by promoting diversity in your teams, companies can benefit from a wider range of ideas, experiences and perspectives that can lead to more innovative and creative solutions. Another benefit that is worth mentioning is that D I can improve the pi the financial performance of your company.

Diverse teams are better equipped to understand the needs and preferences of a diverse customer base. Hence, they will be able to better cater to their needs and they will also be uh able to better communicate and retain them companies with diverse um workforces are also better positioned to capture a larger share of the market. And this is because when you have a diverse team, they're able to, to bring you solution and give you um advices on how to go after a specific diverse market. Moreover, diverse teams are known to be better at closing sales leads because they can tailor their approach and their communication method to meet the needs of different customers from different backgrounds. Again, by promoting diversity in your team, companies can benefit from a wider range of experiences that can lead to more innovative solutions and better customer service. And this can translate into improved financial performance and increased market share. Now, as you might all know when we're implementing a new strategy, there's always going to be challenges. So let me highlight some of the challenges you could face when it's time to implement dis strategy in your company.

One of the biggest challenges will be facing resistance at the workplace. Some employees may be resistant to changing the way they work or the way they think about diversity, equity and inclusion. And this can be particularly challenging if the company has a history of being homogeneous and lacking diversity. Another challenge is identifying and addressing bias in the hiring process and conscious bias will have a negative impact on the way you write your job postings, on the way you review your resumes and on the way you interview candidates and hence you will end up having a team that is not diverse.

A third challenge in implementing D I is the lack of diversity in the talent pipeline. This can make it difficult specifically for tech companies to find qualified candidates from underrepresented groups. And finally, another challenge that I would like to, to um to highlight is that there is a lack of accountability when you're implementing D I as a strategy but worry not my friends. I actually have some solutions to each of the problems I have just mentioned to overcome resistance. It is important to put in place an educational and training program for your employees and as a leader or a manager, it is important for you to show support and speak highly of this strategy because when you do this, your employees will follow to address the bias in hiring process.

Tech companies need to implement, as I mentioned earlier, blind resume reviews use gender neutral language in the job posting and provide unconscious bias training to the interviewers to address the lack of diversity in the talent pipeline. I would highly recommend that you uh partner with universities or local communities to identify and recruit diverse talent, but you also need to invest in their training once they are on board to make it more accessible and easier for them to have managerial positions. And finally, as a company, you need to establish metrics to track progress on diversity, equity and inclusion goals as well as to create systems for reporting and addressing bias or discrimination. Again, leadership need to prioritize D I and hold managers and employees accountable for making progress on diversity and inclusion goals. To conclude, I would like to leave you with three impacts. First, remember that D I is a proven business strategy that leads to better outcomes for both companies and employees. Number two, you will face challenges when applying when implementing the ISA strategy. But remember to every challenge, there is a solution. The third and most important impact.

I want you all to be a voice for D and gender parity in your respective organization, be a voice of support for D strategies and also do not be afraid to speak out against any kind of discrimination. Thank you very much for your time today.