No one has a crystal ball. I am not even sure if being able to see into and predict the future is necessarily the superpower I would pick.
But preparing for the future makes good common and business sense.
This month in Belong we look at the idea of Future Proofing as a way to build a more inclusive work culture.
At the Future@work 2019 Conference, Catalyst.org linked future proofing to inclusion: “Ensure that workplaces—and women—are not left behind in our future economy…Make sure that women are developing their skills.”
You don’t need a crystal ball to see that what you do today creates the workforce and company culture outcomes of the future. Let’s choose inclusive ones.
CEO | Founder of InspiHER Tech, a Laso Company
The Future Is Closer Than You Think
What if you are committed to #hiremorewomenintech but you can’t find them? What if you have found that building a diverse and inclusive IT team is taking longer than you anticipated?
It’s time to future proof your IT department, and with it, your company or organization.
What Is Future Proofing?
Specifically for technology, Techopedia says that future proofing “describes a product, service or technological system that will not need to be significantly updated as technology advances.”
LetGrow.org offers a parenting angle that could apply to managing people: “Making them flexible, resourceful and resilient enough so that when jobs–industries–empires!–change or even disappear, they can land on their feet.”
Why Future Proofing?
The most obvious reason is how fast technology is changing. “Leaders can’t afford to wait and see how they [future trends] will affect the workplace before they adapt,” says Alison Maitland of Training Industry.
But seen through the lens of diversity and inclusion for women technologists, the need goes further than being a nimble competitor when new technologies come aboard. A prime example is the development of AI. Desmond Dickerson, writing in June 2019 on the future of work for Cognizant, describes how “inclusion is a key imperative to AI implementation and future-proofing organizations… the lack of inclusive teams building out technologies can have… dire implications.”
Mary Wiese, who has spent 25 years working in Canada’s tech industry, observes “that the advancement of AI and other technologies, the new algorithms, are being written by a few like-minded people speaking for us all, rather than a diverse group of individuals.”
How To Start Future Proofing
Here are three ways to invest in an inclusive workforce for tomorrow:
Develop more inclusive recruiting processes.
Diversity and inclusion start with recruiting. Catalyst suggests reviewing your website’s pages to ensure that photos and stories reflect diversity, updating job descriptions to focus on skills over job titles and avoid gender-biased wording, and to “shift from asking why someone wouldn’t be qualified for a role to instead consider why they would.”
Plan to move women past entry-level.
Leanin.org co-founder and CEO Rachel Thomas notes in a report she co-wrote with McKinsey, “Women in the Workforce, “that for every 100 men who are promoted and hired to manager positions, only 72 women are promoted and hired.” To help fix what has been called the “broken rung,” Thomas urges companies to set concrete, public, accountable goals for moving more women into first-level management, and to require diverse slates of candidates for hiring and promotions.
Build a more flexible work environment.
This includes offering benefits that better fit women’s lifestyles such as flexible schedules, remote work opportunities, family leave and of course, equal pay. “Hiring diverse candidates won’t help if the company culture isn’t shaped to support them,” says Mark Lobosco, VP of talent solutions at LinkedIn.
Future proofing is more than adapting to tech innovation. As Catalyst summarizes, “It’s vital that leaders are intentional in building a future where 100% of the talent is used 100% of the time.”
A VERY SPECIAL ICYMI-Laurie Swanson, CEO of InspiHER Tech was in the Daily Herald talking about #HireMoreWomenInTech. We would love it if you would LIKE and SHARE. [Daily Herald]
How the Salesforce scorecard is creating a more diverse company. [Business Insider]
“Fixing the broken rung” from Women in the Workplace 2019. [McKinsey & Company]
What happens when tech isn’t inclusive. [Cognizant]
“Women remain undeterred and persevering.” [HR Dive]
“You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.”