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How To Attract And Keep Diverse Tech Talent

diverse tech talent local view digital marketing

Written by Artur Meyster

Artur Meyster is the CTO of Career Karma (YC W19), an online marketplace that matches career switchers with coding bootcamps. He is also the host of the Breaking Into Startups podcast, which features people with non-traditional backgrounds who broke into tech.

August 9, 2020

Now more than ever, tech companies need to focus on getting and retaining diverse groups of employees. Around the world, people seek tech jobs; they pay well, have excellent benefits, and offer fun perks such as snakes, free meals, and, sometimes, slides. But a cool workplace isn’t always going to keep the best talent, neither will the coolest jobs. A company must provide a welcoming and understanding culture that not only invites people with diverse backgrounds to apply but retains those employees as well.

All too often, minorities and women feel unsupported in the workplace. Even when wrongdoing is reported, companies fail to act or hold parties accountable for their actions. Worse, they say, “I don’t think that’s what they meant” or tell the victim they are too sensitive. All workers should be supported and believed by their peers and managers, especially those in marginalized groups.

There is a lot to be done to retain employees and keep them from leaving due to office culture issues. This starts with getting diverse talent. Whether you are in San Francisco or Atlanta, you can find diverse, talented tech workers who just graduated from coding bootcamps.

Hire From Bootcamps

Coding bootcamps offer dedicated professionals the opportunity to learn coding skills in a matter of months. These bootcamps aren’t easy to get into; their acceptance rate, depending on the location, might be as low as fifteen percent. A successful grad of any of the top coding bootcamps will be ready to jump headfirst into any project. They learned these skills fast, but the curriculums of these schools focus on application rather than learning. Students are doing the same work they would complete in the field.

People from all walks of life attend bootcamps. There is a lot of preparation to be accepted into a bootcamp. One of the benefits bootcamps have over traditional colleges is that they are flexible. Bootcamps are a good fit for single parents, immigrants, and late starting professionals. A bootcamp grad will bring a more diverse perspective than a recent college grad.

Learn About Your Employees

When a new hire shows up, they are eager, nervous, and ready to work. They often need some time to get acclimated to their new setting. Just as an employee familiarizes themself with what this company is about, the company, and its employees, should get to know them. Getting to know an employee builds a positive culture. Every company is a sum of its parts.

A company that sees an employee as a vessel to get work done won’t keep top talent. Just because you hired a Software Engineer doesn’t mean they have the same personality or values as other software designers. People stay at companies for a long time if they feel valued. Yes, workers get paid and can make a livelihood from working for a company, but the more they see themselves in the company’s product, the more likely they are to stay.

Odds are great employees know other great people who would be a good fit for your company. On the contrary, if you keep employees who create a corrupt culture, you will drive away good employees who know their worth and won’t stick around in unsupportive environments.

Listen To Your Employees

When an employee reports mistreatment, listen to them. It takes a great deal of courage to speak up against a peer, even more for a manager. There are going to be situations, knowingly or not, that will offend an employee; have a plan beforehand. Being prepared for situations will allow the employee to feel comforted that action will be taken. A protocol helps HR or managers with the next steps.

One of the most damning responses to an allegation of racism, sexism, or discrimination is to immediately defend the employee by saying, “I’m sure there was a misunderstanding.” That makes the employee feel as if their voice isn’t being heard, and the situation is bound to repeat itself. This isn’t to say that the alleged perpetrator acted with malice. A bit of education, understanding, and empathy can allow the relationship to move forward instead of spite remaining between the two.

Conclusion

Look to bootcamp grads for your next hire. Bootcamps offer students skills in a wide array of areas. These grads come out with skills they can immediately apply to get the job done. Hundreds of data scientists are graduating from top machine learning bootcamps with diverse backgrounds and unique work experiences.

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