New research shows that nearly 70% of US-based tech companies identified a lack of diversity in their workforce, which leads young tech workers to believe that their corporate culture is neither inclusive nor tolerant. According to members of Avant-garde Tanzu OneMagnify community.

OneMagnify is a full-service, multidisciplinary marketing and communications company and a VMware Tanzu Application Service customer. In this small group session of SpringOne 2021, Kerry Schaffer of OneMagnify, Senior IT Director; Nicole Wierzbowski, responsible for hosting engagement; and Rajalakshmi Padmanaban, IT Director, discussed strategies to strengthen gender diversity. The panel was moderated by VMware Leader Tanzu Vanguard and Senior Technologist Brian Chang. They suggested starting by creating internal advocacy groups, recognizing differences in leadership representation, and building employee confidence by identifying women so they are ready to succeed.

Recognize the differences and offer support

Schaffer:“The number of women in IT [and especially in IT leadership] has been decreasing year on year … We realized we needed to do something to actually help the women in IT at OneMagnify. We said, “Let’s create our own technical and leadership conference for women in IT at OneMagnify. So we launched the IT Circle, launched it, and we’ve done pretty well and we have some awesome things that we want to share.

“We have identified an opportunity. We just went through the statistics, and women don’t see themselves in leadership positions. We feel like it’s not achievable, a lot of women are doing it, and so on. This is probably also very true for other under-represented minorities. When we started looking at gender diversity, we realized that we were higher than the national average. We have almost 40 percent of our IT staff. being women. “

Build trust

Schaffer:“Gender diversity is very important, and then building women’s confidence in the organization has also had a very good impact for OneMagnify … I don’t think we are selling IT jobs saying, ‘You are going to helping people and working with people and talking to people. That’s not how we do it, so I think that’s a big part of what keeps women out. we’re not going to stand up, we’re not going to go out, we’re not going to speak positively about ourselves. So we also had to build that trust. “

Wierzbowski:“One of the main goals of an entire workshop was to find a way to help build that confidence, to help women learn to sell themselves, to feel confident and to appreciate what they have to offer. , and taking the plunge. The first session was about defining their superpower. This workshop was dedicated to identifying personal attributes. We wanted to make it fun. We wanted to instill confidence in the participating women, and there were also men who came. “

Mentoring, training and implementation of an inclusive corporate culture

Padmanaban:Another program is the Experience IT program. It was co-founded by OneMagnify with other tech giants in Detroit, where employee volunteers participate in this program. They learn the technology, they take the course program, then they also volunteer as mentors, they train them, they do interviews, and then eventually these companies hire the students.

“From the culture I grew up in [as an Indian-American woman], I have heard this proverb several times: empty ships make the most noise…. But the downside is that we forgot to speak, our voices weren’t heard. The proverb is still true. It does make sense, but maybe it got absorbed differently or mistakenly saying that people don’t have to speak up. Your voices must be heard. Yes, it took a while, but I have been with OneMagnify for 14 years and I have definitely felt the impact of this wonderful company and its wonderful people. ”

Disseminate the advocacy

Schaffer:“So we’re going to continue the movement. Part of the reason we wanted to present this [at SpringOne] it’s because we wanted to encourage other organizations to create these advocacy groups, because what you find is that you can have leaders that are sitting there in your organization that maybe don’t the confidence to speak up, and so sometimes you have to help people, especially people from diverse backgrounds. You have to stand up for them, you have to sponsor them, you have to create these types of advocacy groups where they can really flourish, come out of their shell and become great leaders.

“And our goals were to increase the number of women in leadership positions, which is starting to happen … Forty percent is good. And I know last year has been tough, and a lot companies have lost women. We have maintained that ratio, but our goal is to increase. We want to be 50-50. ”

And finally, deliver award-winning products

Schaffer:“My last words are: if you want to create award-winning products, that capture the market, you have to have a diverse team, because if your demographics or your team don’t match the demographics of the general public and your users, your products will fail. . Advocacy for women and advocacy for under-represented minorities is important. And our organizations shouldn’t just give lip service to the commitment to diversity; they really should have a commitment to diversity.