At TechTalent Academy, we believe the technology sector is missing a trick. As it struggles to find the talent it needs, it continues to overlook the potential of under-represented groups. We believe passionately in the power of diversity to improve organisations and individual lives.
We believe changes need to be made to the way businesses attract, recruit and retain diverse talent to collectively work towards true diversity. We are not alone on this mission.
Here, we would like to feature those businesses that share our view: diversity and inclusion – it matters. This series of features showcase those businesses that are building truly diverse tech teams. We capture how they are addressing this in their businesses.
In this context, we caught up with Dan Doherty, Attraction and Recruitment Manager- Early Careers and Bal Gill, Head of Employee Experience & Inclusion at Capgemini.
Let’s start with the need for Diversity and Inclusion, what’s your take – why is it so important?
For us, Diversity and Inclusion is a must. We know that it’s important to our people to work in a diverse and inclusive organisation. We also know it is key to attracting and retaining the best talent from a diverse range of characteristics and backgrounds; and making sure that every employee feels able to bring their authentic and best self to work.
To create a truly inclusive environment takes action. This is why we inspire our people not just to think inclusively, but to engage and act in an inclusive way. We spend so much time and energy at work, it’s important that our people connect with each other, understand different lived experiences, feel that they have a voice to tell their story, and be heard. That’s why we are driving a culture change to create a truly inclusive organisation, where everybody feels valued, included and empowered to be their best.
From a business perspective, what do you consider being potential consequences of a lack of diversity and inclusion?
If diversity isn’t present, then you risk missing out on different ideas and innovation. If an organisation isn’t diverse, and doesn’t reflect society today, it won’t fully understand the breadth of their customers/users (and their experiences) nor deliver the best solutions or service.
However, diversity also needs inclusion – it’s that mix of curiosity, empathy and learning with respect at the heart that creates great teams. Without that, potential consequences include disengagement and losing talented people. We use a structure of “Think – Ask – Act” – encouraging our people to pause, engage and make small changes. It’s the everyday acts, the seemingly small things, that can make a big difference in creating a truly inclusive workplace.
What do you see as the main benefits of an inclusive workforce?
The benefits cross several dimensions – from more engaged, happy and productive teams, to better employee experiences on an individual level, to delivering brilliantly to clients. In turn, this almost leads to a virtuous circle of being able to attract the best talent, win exciting work and help the business grow.
You recently hired one of our graduates, what interested you in joining up with TTA?
TechTalent Academy is part of our drive to form partnerships and ultimately hire diverse talent who haven’t perhaps gone through a linear technical route in their life, maybe due to late interest in technology or their schools didn’t teach Computing for example. Capgemini see potential in all people and our recruitment process enables passion and potential to come out as part of the Strengths-based selection process.
We’re interested in people who enjoy what they do, they want to do it often and they want to become better at that skill/role. TechTalent Academy’s curriculum means those completing the courses are equipped to hit the ground running technically in a technology consulting firm like ours and be placed on to billable work soon after joining.
What would your advice be to people trying to break into the tech industry?
Explore online the different entry routes into the tech market. Set up alerts on Google and follow relevant content, people and hashtags on social media to ‘bring the news to you’. Find ways to evidently show your passion through online courses you’ve completed yourself, understanding of latest trends or even a portfolio you can build along the way. All of this will help you stand out to employers who want to hire passionate people who are keen to continuously learn.
Would you like to add anything else?
We’ve found that, more than anything, improving diversity and inclusion requires a culture change. It’s about starting conversations and taking action to drive real change. Shared personal lived experiences resonate the most – and different experiences for different people. In our Inclusion Live series, we invite a panel of team members from different roles and backgrounds, to discuss challenging topics we often avoid in the workplace – and in the words of one of our Vice Presidents: “invariably come away from every session with a different perspective.”
John Amaechi’s recommendation to “allow for a little clumsiness in a learning environment” also rings true – it’s about having a conversation or asking a question, even if you’re worried to say the wrong thing.
A big thank you to Dan and Bal for taking the time to speak to us. If you would like further information on how we can work together, please click here.