Chapter 81. Taking On Inclusion

Jason Wong

So, you’re a leader of a 5- to 30-person engineering organization. You’ve heard of all the benefits of diversity. You believe it’s the right thing to do for your business and for society. And, you now find yourself sitting around a table with your all-male leadership team wondering how you can hire more underrepresented minorities.

First, congratulations for thinking about this now. There will be no easier time to fix your diversity problems than today. The good news is that finding diverse candidates is literally the easiest problem to solve. The bad news is that you’re thinking about the wrong problem.

I’ve talked with enough leaders of small companies to know there’s a lack of understanding of what supporting diversity truly means and how much effort it requires. Most leaders start their efforts by focusing on where to find and how to hire underrepresented minorities. But, assuming your company allows these folks to make it through the door, what happens next?

The answer: terrible things. Having been through transforming an almost all-male engineering team into a diverse organization, I can tell you that our workplaces are meat grinders. By default, they are wildly unsafe places for underrepresented minorities (URMs). URMs on average get paid less than their white male counterparts, are promoted less frequently, and experience ...

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