The actions we take today can influence the direction the design and tech industry is headed and allow for more diverse and inclusive work environments.
As part of a series of stories about diversity and design, uxdesign.cc explored different perspectives on how diversity can affect companies, individuals, and the work that we put out in the world.
Fabricio Teixeira has been working to understand how brands, systems and people behave – and how to mix and match these pieces in a seamless and smart way:
My experience encompasses a variety of channels (mobile, web, physical spaces, games, wearables, retail, connected devices), helping brands from different industries shape and develop new user-centric products and services to their customers. What can I do as a designer, today?
These are a few actions we can take today as an individual or in a company to influence the direction the industry is headed and to allow for more diverse and inclusive work environments, Teixeira said.
Stop hiring your friends
When you refer a friend to a job opening in your company, you are encouraging your company’s leadership to hire someone who is very likely to share a similar vision, a similar way of thinking, and even a similar design process than you. What we do not realize is how this makes it harder for people outside that demographic or social circle to have access to that same position. They start the process in disadvantage.
Push for clear diversity goals and vision
Understand how these goals connect to the overall business objectives, and hold your leaders accountable for meeting those goals. Commit to the process by understanding how diversity impacts your role, and how your role impacts the success of the company’s diversity initiatives.
Reduce bias from your recruitment process
In his story about the topic, @Puppybits proposes the “blind audition” model, where candidates are evaluated primarily by what they are able to produce, and not by what they look like or how they talk. Even the wording in job descriptions can deter highly qualified candidates from applying for jobs. Every single detail of your recruitment process matters.
Welcome ideas different than your own
The creativity that comes with diversity can help you generate new ideas or improve a process already in place. It can also make work more interesting, engaging, and fun. When you hear an idea that sounds strange and different than what you are used to hearing, give it some time before deciding or judging whether it is a good idea or not.
Create role models within your organization
“Celebrating creates heroes and role models that other people can look up to. It marks someone as the individual to beat or a goal that’s attainable.”, explains Timothy J. Hykes in his article for our series. What does your company’s leadership board look like? Do your employees have someone to look up to, that they can culturally identify with?
Promote and hire on potential, not on proof
In her story about intentionality in diversity, Kelli Robertson describes how she was lucky enough to have a strong champion earlier in her career who saw her potential after two years and promoted her to director of strategy. “Shortly after this happened, I was told by a peer that, ‘I wouldn’t have given you that promotion. I would have told you it was yours if you worked hard for it this year.’” Kelli argues that while women are hired and promoted based on proof of performance and achievement, men are hired and promoted based on their potential.
Involve majority-group members in minority efforts
Increasing representation is not a “women’s issue” or “person of color’s issue”. You won’t mode the needle in your organization until diversity initiatives become everyone’s business. In the matter of gender equality, for example, men can play an extremely important role in enabling change.
Implement flexible work-life policies
While many companies have flexible work policies on the books, employees are often stigmatized if they utilize such policies. Look into your company’s performance evaluation and promotion processes and make sure these flexible policies are not penalizing employees who rely on them to achieve better work-life balance.
Read more at uxdesign.cc.
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