I am a manager at a mid-size software company where I am responsible for several engineering teams (30 ppl approx). I'd like to attract and retain more diverse talent but don't know how to advance these goals (diversity, equity and inclusion) in practice.

I'm interested in frameworks that e.g. may have been published in the literature, e.g. HBR, McKinsey or other journals that describe tools, and practical advice a manager can follow to advance these goals in their workplace.

For example, what types of specific metrics and problem dimensions should I pay attention to? What is a good set of objectives and processes that I can establish to advance these goals myself? What is a good way to "balance" or combine these goals with more traditional engineering, team coaching and product development goals?

Note: I'm not looking for arguments against or in favor of advancing these goals, or answers that tell me that I'm somehow focused on the wrong problem. I'm interested in frameworks, steps and solutions that a manager can activate and deploy to advance these goals.

  • 3
    Why the down and close votes?
    – Josh
    Commented Jul 11, 2020 at 18:15
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    Because people prefer to disagree with your approach and they act out rather than answer the question. Perfectly good question, sadly not sure this is the site for it.
    – mxyzplk
    Commented Jul 11, 2020 at 22:49
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    @Josh How are you strugglling to attract or retain them though? Did someone just leave and on their were out were shouting "THIS COMPANY IS NOT DIVERSE ENOUGH I QUIT!" or did you hear from candidtes "OH THIS IS THE LEAST DIVERSE COMPANY IN THE UNIVERSE, I LEAVE THE PROCESS" or something like this?
    – Aida Paul
    Commented Jul 12, 2020 at 17:03
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    @TymoteuszPaul I know it from statistics I have about team composition, the type of people that we hire, and the type of people that we retain. As I also mentioned above, I'm interested in principled solutions to this problem as I try to become a better manager and develop a career in management, despite my current specific circumstances.
    – Josh
    Commented Jul 12, 2020 at 17:10
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    Wow - I'm a bit shocked by a lot of the answers and comments, Kevin's answer aside (which is good). I think this is a fantastic question, and something we are looking at in my workplace. In fact, I am (on my own time) just now starting to research where do all different kinds of people look for jobs. Because I work for a government agency and I suspect that we don't advertise where a lot of people actually look for jobs (we're definitely not on craigslist, for instance), and this makes a big difference. I hope you get some good answers - I would also find one helpful.
    – HFBrowning
    Commented Jul 15, 2020 at 23:28

11 Answers 11


I have a Graduate Certificate in Women and Gender Studies. I have studied multiple dimensions of diversity (gender, race, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, nationality, etc.), with a primary focus on women. I also have a Masters Degree in Computer Science and have worked as a software engineer for almost 20 years.

With regards to women in the workplace, there are several metrics/concrete factors that you can focus on.

  1. Due to discrimination, women and people of color tend to have to work harder than men/white people to accomplish the same goals. Most companies track the number of hours worked by employees for general budget purposes. Cross-reference employee gender/race to see if you are treating them with equal expectations.

  2. When hired for a position, women are more likely to have a degree than their male counterparts. Track your employees’ educational backgrounds by position level. Are you expecting more from female candidates? Note that this contributes to women’s higher student loan debt.

  3. The first job is crucial for career path. Women and people of color tend to be automatically given first jobs with a lower career path than white males. Are you giving female IT graduates jobs as technical writers, whereas the males are being given jobs with server administration?

  4. Women and people of color tend to be given projects with shorter career potential by default, unless they ask for the projects with higher potential. Pay attention to how you are distributing projects.

  5. The Mommy Effect - Women with children are assumed to be able to work fewer hours, so they are given tasks with less career potential. The reality is that these women work the same amount of hours as their colleagues. Again, pay attention to how you are distributing tasks with higher career potential.

  6. Mentoring is crucial for oppressed groups. This service could be offered through your HR department.

  7. As someone previously mentioned, pay attention to your recruitment practices. Are you recruiting new hires from predominantly white colleges by default? Be sure to include more diverse institutions, such as Historically Black Colleges and Universities or women’s colleges.

  8. Flextime and work-from-home options are a big issue for women, who have families. Even in nuclear families, women tend to be the primary caretakers of dependents.

  9. During meetings, be sure that folks from underrepresented groups are heard and supported.

  10. Also, if you need further justification for a diversity program, businesses who sponsor diversity programs experience less turnover rates. Professional women tend to have twice the turnover rate of men, and African Americans have two-and-a-half the turnover rates of whites. A frequent reason for leaving is a lack of progression in the career ladder (see Federal Glass Ceiling Commission below). Another metric might be turnover rates, categorized by position level.

These might be a few factors to help you get started. If you are really motivated, your local college/university may offer courses about diversity in the workplace.


Scientific sources are listed below, including references to articles in peer-reviewed journals. Some of the themes are repeated across many sources.

  • Boushey, Heather. 2009. The new breadwinners. In “The Shriver Report: A woman’s nation changes everything,” eds. Heather Boushey and Ann O’Leary. Washington, DC: Maria Shriver and the Center for American Progress. https://cdn.americanprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/issues/2009/10/pdf/awn/chapters/economy.pdf

  • Mary Ann Mason. 2009. Better Educating Our New Breadwinners: Creating opportunities for all women to succeed in the workforce. In “The Shriver Report: A woman’s nation changes everything, eds. Heather Boushey and Ann O’Leary. Washington, DC: Maria Shriver and the Center for American Progress.

  • The Federal Glass Ceiling Commission. 2006. “The Glass Ceiling”. In “Workplace/Women’s Place: An Anthology,” eds. Paula J. Dubeck and Dana Dunn. New York: Oxford University Press. (Basically, the book, “Workplace/Women’s Place: An Anthology” is a consolidation of many articles from peer-reviewed journals. I won’t list them all out here, but there are many that are worth reviewing.)

  • Glass, Jennifer. 2006. Blessing or curse? Work-family policies and mothers’ wage growth over time. In “Workplace/Women’s Place: An Anthology,” eds. Paula J. Dubeck and Dana Dunn. New York: Oxford University Press.

  • Hochschild, Arlie, and Anne Machung. 2006. The second shift: Working parents and the revolution at home. In “Workplace/Women’s Place: An Anthology,” eds. Paula J. Dubeck and Dana Dunn. New York: Oxford University Press.

    • Hochschild is a major scholar on women, workplace, and economics.
  • Institute for Women’s Policy Research. 2019. The Gender Wage Gap by Occupation. https://iwpr.org/publications/the-gender-wage-gap-by-occupation-2019/ ** It cites statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor and has good charts

  • Parker, Patricia. 2006. Negotiating Identity in Raced and Gendered Workplace Interactions. In “Workplace/Women’s Place: An Anthology,” eds. Paula J. Dubeck and Dana Dunn. New York: Oxford University Press.

  • Ragins, Belle Rose, Bickley Townsend, and Mary Mattis. 2006. “Gender Gap in the Executive Suite”. In “Workplace/Women’s Place: An Anthology,” eds. Paula J. Dubeck and Dana Dunn. New York: Oxford University Press.

  • Reskin, Barbara. 2006. “Sex Segregation in the Workplace”. In “Workplace/Women’s Place: An Anthology,” eds. Paula J. Dubeck and Dana Dunn. New York: Oxford University Press.

  • Stone, Pamela, and Meg Lovejoy. 2006. Fast-track women and the ‘choice’ to stay home. In “Workplace/Women’s Place: An Anthology,” eds. Paula J. Dubeck and Dana Dunn. New York: Oxford University Press.

  • Williams, Christine. 2006. Gendered Jobs and gendered workers. In “Workplace/Women’s Place: An Anthology,” eds. Paula J. Dubeck and Dana Dunn. New York: Oxford University Press.

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    @m.raynal I think they're saying that minorites tend to work more for the same results, not because they're getting less done but because they have to do more to get the same recognition. So if you find that minorities tend to work more hours in your company, you might have that problem in your organization.
    – Kat
    Commented Jul 14, 2020 at 22:05
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    This answer is extremely discriminatory and counter productive I would advice against following it Commented Jul 15, 2020 at 20:25
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    @another-dev how is this answer discriminatory? I'm not seeing it. It just says "make sure you treat people fairly, here's some pointers".
    – Erik
    Commented Jul 16, 2020 at 6:36
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    I really wish there wasn't so many single-variable statements used as evidence for something. I mean, here's a simple example: "A much larger percentage of men vs women are incarcerated for violent crime" Which is true, except its not evidence of anti-male bias in the judicial system - we have to dig deeper and add more variables until we get to the root cause of the difference (men commit more violent crime). Items 1 through 4 in this answer are simple, single-variable statements that could be relevant... or be the same as the example above.
    – Kevin
    Commented Jul 21, 2020 at 13:08
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    The fact that you include some sort of bibliography but do not provide actual referencing is extremely misleading and, as far as I can tell, is just trying to give credence to what are your personal opinions and interpretations. Which chapter of Glass, Jennifer book says that "Women and people of color tend to be given projects with shorter career potential by default"? Not to mention that this doesn't answer the question asked, just makes a lot of highly debatable statements and assumptions.
    – Aida Paul
    Commented Jul 22, 2020 at 22:49

I'll try to answer the question you're asking as best I can (even if I don't necessarily agree with the premise.)

Likely, the core problem you're running into isn't the mechanism for selecting candidates, or anything on that front. And to be frank, it's actually illegal to use race as a selection criteria.

However, there is a definite potential for bias in the mechanism for generating candidates. Let me give you an absurd example: if the only people you allowed into interviews had to graduate from Yale or Harvard. Well, the percentage of people attending those colleges is skewed against Black and Latino populations (for whatever reasons). Now, when it came time for your interviews, you could be completely colorblind and judge each applicant solely on their merits... but you'd only have 5% of your candidates Black, and 9% Latino. Which would presumably mirror your workforce (unless you were doing something illegal and taking race into account as part of the hiring process.)

Instead, a useful question is... is the framework you're using to generate candidates flawed?

So first up: an academic study by Villegas and Clewell which contends that the solution to reaching racial parity in the education field is by changing the framework for what is required to be a teacher (namely, it shouldn't require a 4 year degree in the education field.)

An example of this at play? Coding Boot Camps versus College Degrees. Chances are, your business requires all candidates have an applicable degree. Nice, but... is that required? Would someone smart that had attended some coding boot camps be able to cut it? Because while coding bootcamps aren't quite at racial parity, they're better than traditional degrees.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not trying to say "Coding Bootcamps Are Awesome And The Solution To Your Problem." I don't actually know that much about them, nor have I hired anyone from one. But it's an example of an alternative, lesser-tapped candidate pool that may be able to fulfill your company's needs.

... and when it comes down to it, Diversity is supposed to be about hiring people from different backgrounds/experiences so that those differences can help build a stronger and more well-rounded team. What better way to do that than to diversify your hiring pool?

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    Some additions... look for candidates from historically black universities or those with more non-white students. Look for students older than average (this is intended to help with diversity outside age). Blank out the names, emails, and HS/college graduation dates when reviewing resumes.
    – SeraM
    Commented Jul 13, 2020 at 22:00
  • Great answer. I especially appreciate the point about degrees...especially in tech, some of the most qualified candidates can get there from some pretty random places.
    – HFBrowning
    Commented Jul 15, 2020 at 23:37
  • Thx +1. The main issue I have w/ this answer is that it assumes that I am complaining about a "candidate selection" / hiring problem and warns me to not do something illegal about it. While not wrong, "don't do anything illegal" applies to any Q, and is not what I am looking for. You make no mention of many difficult aspects of this problem, e.g. dealing with biases at work, e.g. how to assign work fairly, and avoid inadvertently coaching unevenly or giving more attention to people in meetings, discussions and social settings who think or look like us. This should be a variable in the solution
    – Josh
    Commented Jul 16, 2020 at 12:43
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    This is absolutely accurate. If you properly fix and equalize your hiring process, you still need to fix your candidate acquisition process, otherwise you will just carry the problems that precursor institutions have. The single biggest thing is probably to stop with overinflated requirements that are mostly fulfillable by people who have lots of time and resources to spend on "prerequisites". Our best software developer here is a trained baker.
    – Magisch
    Commented Jul 16, 2020 at 14:23

Full disclosure: I fit into several "diversity" groups myself.

First, check and see if you don't already have it.

Many people, especially those of us who are older, don't advertise some traits that fall under the "diversity" umbrella.

LGBTQ people were usually "in the closet", as back in the day being "out" was far more dangerous than it is today. Being "outed" was enough to threaten careers, and you couldn't get a security clearance if it was found out, due to fear of the risk of blackmail potential.

For people with disabilities, the hatred wasn't there to the same degree, but it could still keep you fromn being hired. People with autism still have quite a hard time, as do other people with disabilities.

So, some of your people may already qualify. There are also people with mixed race backgrounds which may appear to be of a different ethnicity.

Start there.

After that, a good thing to do is start an outreach program, and partner with agencies who can find QUALIFIED candidates. Your local department of labor can help, specifically, vocational rehabilitation can get you in touch with groups who can provide you with contacts at local groups who specialize in providing qualified candidates with disabilities.

Advertise openings in publications (online and off) that are targeted towards people you want to attract. Start an outreach program in impoverished communities as well.

Be somewhat careful with groups who are strictly advocacy groups, as some of them care more about quantity than quality. Though a quick conversation with them, and a little asking around can help screen them out.

Lastly, don't settle. There are plenty of qualified people of all backgrounds out there. If you play the numbers game, instead of going for quality, you are going to end up causing more harm than anything else, as the person will be feeling out of their depth, and may well be, and your current employees may only see that person as a "diversity hire".

Moreover, just going for the numbers is a kind of bigotry in and of itself, as it assumes that those of us in certain categories are unqualified, incompetent, and cannot make it without help. This is not the case.

NOBODY wants to feel looked down upon as only being hired due to an immutable characteristic. They will end up hating you. I can almost guarantee that.

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    IMHO this is a beautiful answer. Commented Jul 16, 2020 at 19:10
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    I as really happy you decided to provide an answer!
    – Neo
    Commented Jul 17, 2020 at 11:56

You're seeing a problem that doesn't exist

"inclusion diversity" are subjective matters engineering is all about absolutes. Do not see the person but rather see only the results and whatever framework brings the best results that's the right choice not which one has nicer inclusive made up words. See the numbers not the people

I am a developer from a third world country I work for an american company with developers all over the world trust me you don't need to seek a solution for a problem that doesn't exist

  • 4
    Yes, creating a problem out of thin air rather than solving one. It has nothing to do with the work to be done either.
    – Kilisi
    Commented Jul 11, 2020 at 23:42
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    How do you know I am seeing a problem that "doesn't exist"? Also, as I mentioned in the question, I'm not interested in arguments that question these goals.
    – Josh
    Commented Jul 12, 2020 at 16:53
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    So hiring is not subjective? Managers don't make subjective decisions when they choose who to give extra help to? Who to promote and who to give raises to? Who to get rid of and who to make excuses for? It should be objective but often it isn't. And "diversity" can mean many different things.
    – HenryM
    Commented Jul 12, 2020 at 17:36
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    @Josh your question seems to come across as thinking that the people you've identified for diversity aren't competent enough to make it without your help\ Commented Jul 16, 2020 at 15:44

Aren't you overcomplicating things? Do you really need theoretical frameworks, peer-reviewed scientific literature and complicated metrics in order to hire people from groups which are yet underrepresented in your company/teams and create a welcoming environment for them? What about a little common sense? Here is some

  • If you want women to feel welcome and your current teams consist mainly of rowdy men, tell them to turn down the sexual innuendo a few notches.

  • Don't put cultural references in your job-ads which might appeal only to certain groups. For example (childish) words like code-ninja, code-jedi or stuff like that.

  • Assuming you have hiring-authority. There is no law that you have to take the applicant which went to the fanciest university or has the most impressive (puffed up) cv. If there is an applicant from the minority group you want to hire and you think he/she suffices, just choose him/her even though some other cannidate might have better credentials on paper.

  • Which media your target minority groups like to read/watch or where do they study/live? Put some of your job-ads there. If you have no idea where/how they can be reached. Ask someone from that group. And if you start talking to a member of that group, maybe they have some friend or family member which might be good cannidate for your company/one of your teams.

  • Don't tolerate bullying on the workfloor. Demand everyone to be polite to each other. (a good advice in general).

  • How come the only answer that (tries to) to answer the question gets the most downvotes? Commented Jul 12, 2020 at 12:47
  • @LaintalAy, especially in tech circles, paper credentials are only tangentially related to whether a candidate is a good fit for the job, so "smaller stack of paper" does not equal "less qualified". To the company, diversity isn't an end goal, but a means to get more different viewpoints into development (making the product useful for a greater number of people), and selecting by "has been taught the same viewpoints as the others" counteracts that goal. Commented Jul 13, 2020 at 9:39
  • @SimonRichter, with "less qualified" I meant whatever parameters are taken into account for hiring. This answer I understand it as quite broad in that regard and just suggesting that if one candidate is 8/10 and another is 6/10 then you should study if the second one is just good enough for you for the diversity aspect. Diversity can be helpful in many aspects (more points of view, approach to work, ethical considerations, etc.) but it also makes interactions more complicated, it's not only gains.
    – LaintalAy
    Commented Jul 13, 2020 at 10:37

Despite the fact that you've clearly asked for answers that don't say you're focused on the wrong problem, that's really the point: You're focused on the wrong problem.

Here's the question: Let's say I gave you a team of 10 straight white men who could complete your project in 1 week and would produce zero major bugs. I could also give you a team of 10 people, of whom you had an equal amount of white, black, brown (South Asian), brown (mixed-race), Asian, Hispanic, Arab, Native American, and whatever other race you care to mention, and also based equally across gender spectrums (male, female, LGBTQIA+), and so on, who would complete the project in 1 month and produce 15 major bugs which would take an additional 6 months to fix.

Which team would you rather hire?

Of course, you should hire the first team. Not because they're straight white males, but because they will do the project faster and better than the other team. And that's the variable you should be focused on: "How can I make my team more effective at doing the job I've hired them to do?" Everything else is, pardon my French, "bullshit".

Now, given that we've accepted we absolutely should not be optimizing our hiring practices based on "diversity", Kevin provided a very good answer. On top of mentioning that hiring "for diversity" in a direct way may be (and probably is) illegal, Kevin also suggested a couple of additional steps you could take. I will summarize what Kevin said as follows:

Hire for the requirements you need. Yes, a BSC in Comp. Sci. is probably a good indicator of a skilled developer. But what is that piece of paper actually worth, beyond being an indicator? If a person has a lacking resume but a BSC, you may consider them equally to a person who has a great resume but no formal education, but that's really where it stops. Quite frankly, as someone with an MSC in Comp Sci from one of the top technical schools in the world (or so they tell us...), education (at least in Software Engineering) is, excuse my French again, "bullshit". As a deciding factor between 2 otherwise-equal candidates, sure go with the diploma, but it really shouldn't be a "don't bother calling us unless you have one" criteria. That step alone will open you up to a huge range of perfectly qualified candidates, many of whom are likely disproportionally "diverse" relative to the candidates who do not have such degrees (as Kevin mentioned).

There are likely many other similar "requirements" you have which are not actually requirements, that you can get rid of from your JD. The less requirements on your JD, the more people will apply, and the more people who apply the more candidates you have, and the more candidates you have, the more "diverse" that pool of candidates will be. And then you can hire the best people from that larger group, some of whom may be "diverse" people who you may not have even looked at a resume from otherwise.

  • I didn't use the word hiring once in my question. I don't understand the obsession with saying that 1) that I should not hire to optimize for diversity and then 2) that I am focused on the wrong problem. Again, I'm not asking or suggesting that we need to change our hiring. I am looking for answers that try to answer my actual question. If it's not clear, please let me know in the comments. If it's offtopic or inappropriate, please feel free to vote it down or close it.
    – Josh
    Commented Jul 13, 2020 at 23:59
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    @Josh if you are complaining about a lack of diversity, how do you intend to accomplish a higher diversity with the very same people you are complaining they are not diverse enough?
    – LaintalAy
    Commented Jul 14, 2020 at 5:42
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    @Josh From your OP: "I am a manager at a mid-size software company where I am responsible for several engineering teams (30 people approx). I'd like to attract [] more diverse talent but don't know how to advance these goals (diversity, equity and inclusion) in practice". By "attract talent", if not hiring, what do you mean? Do you mean you want to get more diverse applicants and then not hire them? That seems counterproductive...
    – Ertai87
    Commented Jul 14, 2020 at 15:03
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    You can get candidates excited about joining your company and team, before and/or after interviews. Last time I checked, I can't force someone to join my team / company just because "I hire the best people". Similarly, I can't force people to stay in my team / company just because "I only hire the best people". If I wanted, I could choose to not change a single aspect of how specifically we hire, and still get very different types of teams, and people working with us depending on many other dimensions such as what we do, who we are, and how we operate as a team/company.
    – Josh
    Commented Jul 14, 2020 at 15:07
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    @Josh Your question is worded (or implies) such that you are willing to compromise your practices of hiring the best (not in quotes, that's important) talent in favor of hiring for diversity. You may want to update your OP to clarify, because both myself and it seems many other answer-writers read your question in that way.
    – Ertai87
    Commented Jul 14, 2020 at 15:46

Diversity is hard to come by

I run a similarly-sized engineering organization in Colorado (a not very diverse state in general). Finding diverse talent, let alone attracting it, is extremely difficult. We've looked at a number of factors in our recruitment targets with respect to 4 year universities and our investment in contacts surrounding those events. We've partnered with local talent groups in an attempt to network and evangelize.

These have had middling results at best. The talent pool for us just isn't diverse enough, so we've looked at it from the perspective of "How can we help make the talent pool more diverse?" If we can't get what we want from the talent pool, we need to become involved in generating the talent pool.

Enter apprenticeships.

This isn't a perfect solution since it's primarily targeting a socio-economic gap, and it applies an assumption that diversity and economics are related. This allows individuals to enter the software production labor pool without the cost/hassle of a classical 4 year degree program. Apprenticeships help reduce the financial and technical barriers that stand in the way of a large, untapped potential talent pool.



Partner with training agencies

There are training agencies all over that offer specific training programs and boot camps to prepare individuals for a career in the tech space. They provide varying levels of diversity because they depend on locale in a large way. I've found a lot of individuals looking to change careers, and this opens different doors to a wider group of individuals. The links below are just 2 that I've observed. There are tons of companies that offer these services.



If you can't find the talent, create the talent

In a nutshell, if you can't find or attract the talent it falls on you to create the talent. It means getting involved in the process a lot earlier than when you need to fill a position. It means getting involved in local schools, establishing relationships with training academies, and it means taking a chance on apprenticeship programs and investing in that talent.

  • I agree with the point on apprenticeships and partnering with training academies. Or start an in-house academy where people get a chance to learn on the job. It will give the opportunity for mentoring within the existing team. Think of how job descriptions are written, do they appeal to people that would like to make a career change, or would like to return to the workplace after a break, e.g. after raising young children.
    – fran
    Commented Jul 16, 2020 at 15:49
  • Is telecommuting an option at your company? If so, this might expand the diversity of the talent pool you can draw from. Commented Jul 17, 2020 at 1:08
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    @JanetPlanet: Previously it was a frowned upon possibility. With new times we've instituted new policies. Strikingly enough, our HR data shows for our normally available telecommuting positions the talent pool applying (for remote) is actually LESS diverse. (we are unable to support international telecommuting except in the UK currently) Commented Jul 17, 2020 at 15:13

While this isn't as broad of a comprehensive research-backed framework as you've indicated would be ideal in an answer, here's something that may be a helpful resource in the absence of something more total: the online survey company SurveyMonkey (with which I have no affiliation) recently published a library of survey templates "so that leaders and HR teams can learn about their employees and start treating diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) like a tangible business metric".

These surveys cover a range of topics such as a survey to gauge the impacts that racism is having on your employees, a survey related to vendor and supplier diversity, surveys relating to candidate interview experiences, exit interviews, and many more related areas.

While they're obviously on some level a push to encourage utilization of SurveyMonkey's survey platform, many were developed in collaboration with other organizations working in the area of diversity, equity and inclusion, such as The Justice Collective, Paradigm, and LeanIn.org, so they appear to be informed by some foundation of best practices with regards to these matters.

I'm close to people who work in HR and related roles and have indicated that this resource was one of good set of jumping-off points for conversations around these issues within in their companies or organizations - perhaps you will as well.


Your best source of information is your HR Department

In order to decide upon a framework, or even to build your own, you need to ask several questions about your past job vacancies.

  • What is the application rate of different demographics? If your application pool is largely a monoculture, look into why that is. Are you advertising in places where people of other demographics look? Are you approaching them on LinkedIn?

  • What motivates the people of the demographics you want to attract? If you don't know this, you need to ask this question in interviews.

  • Are the people of other demographics being offered roles? If not, why not? And if they are, but are turning them down, why is that?

  • Why do the existing people of the demographics you want to attract leave your company? Bear in mind if your company has serious culture issues, you may not get honest answers if you ask outright. Look for patterns that may indicate problems (e.g: there's an unexplained exodus or collections of negative feedback from a given department)

Once you have these answers, you'll have something that you can make tangible diversity goals and frameworks out of.


The answer here is so simple, I'm surprised no one mentioned it yet. You attract top talent (of any race, creed, gender) by providing top compensation. For example, the pool of black women who have PHDs in computer science is exceedingly small. I imagine Google has a few of them on their staff but your company doesn't have any. Why do you think that's the case?

Tools and frameworks aren't going to be effective. Have you ever seen something like a company picnic as a perk in a job advertisement? Was it effective on you? It seems like you are trying to create non-monetary incentives like this, but almost no one cares about non-monetary incentives. If you want a diverse workforce in terms of race, gender, etc., especially if jobs like computer science that don't traditionally have many minorities, the only way is to be a large successful company who can afford to pay your employees top dollar.

  • I had a feeling I might get called out on that sentence.
    – jeff909
    Commented Jul 16, 2020 at 6:44
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    The main thing is that most people realize that an extra 5% in salary isn't worth the difference between a healthy workplace and a soul-crushing toxic hell. So stating "just give people more money" isn't that helpful, especially within an industry that already has high compensation.
    – Erik
    Commented Jul 16, 2020 at 6:47
  • Yeah, but this is more of an issue of supply and demand, and I think more money is generally going to be the solution for the general population. You must like company picnics.
    – jeff909
    Commented Jul 16, 2020 at 6:52
  • The company picknics at my company are actually pretty nice, even though I don't like crowds. But that's because my primary search constraint for a job was "good culture that will accept me" and not "pays top dollar". I could probably sell my sanity for an extra 25%, but that never seemed like a good deal to me. Probably not to you, either. Let alone people who's normal life is already pretty close to awful because of other people. They'd rather find acceptance first, I'd wager.
    – Erik
    Commented Jul 16, 2020 at 6:57
  • Anything other than this answer suggests that people who are in said groups are incompetent. Commented Jul 21, 2020 at 16:49

It is important to focus and define your problem to be able to find a solution. You want more ‘diversity’ and ‘inclusion’ but you don’t say of which type:

  1. Sexual orientation
  2. Race
  3. Gender
  4. Religion
  5. Disability
  6. Nationality
  7. Dietary
  8. Others

As you see if you want diversity you have plenty of room to choose from. You could start identifying your current diversity, check if it’s widespread enough to your taste and if not start hiring accordingly. Or firing first people from over represented groups if your team is currently not growing and substitute them with others to your liking. That would improve your metrics.

Where I work we focused on hiring according to technical skills. We are a multinational team of men and women where nobody feels discriminated. It’s not something a manager artificially wanted to achieve, it just happens when you look for the best talent without prejudices.

  • 6
    this answer focuses entirely on hiring, suggests the indefensible firing of people from over-represented groups, and most significantly IGNORES the actual work environment and retention of under-represented groups, which is actually what drives your diversity figures. Commented Jul 11, 2020 at 22:03
  • 6
    My answer is obviously sarcastic and I assumed the last paragraph makes that clear. As a ‘diverse’ person (an immigrant where I live) I find the question almost insulting. I wouldn’t like to be considered an specimen in a zoo to make for up a quota or to fulfill somebody’s agenda but a professional @KateGregory
    – LaintalAy
    Commented Jul 11, 2020 at 22:06
  • 12
    not obvious at all Commented Jul 11, 2020 at 22:14
  • 2
    @KateGregory, the suggestion to fire people to improve diversity metics alone makes it clear that this is obvious sarcasm; anybody who takes that suggestion seriously should question their personal ethics. The last paragraph drives home the point, only the most ignorant of managers would think that such a perfect team exists, it is well known that 'just' looking for the best talent still leads to non-diversified teams due to unconscious biases.
    – BrtH
    Commented Jul 21, 2020 at 16:14
  • 2
    Not that that makes this a good answer, btw, but if a non-native speaker like me can see the obvious sarcasm, surely you should be able to do so as well?
    – BrtH
    Commented Jul 21, 2020 at 16:18

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