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Are You Navigating Diversity and Inclusion in The Right Way?

Updated: Feb 29

Hey there, Calgary! It’s time to focus on a subject that deeply matters to Hammehr, and – we believe – to the industry as a whole… diversity and inclusion.

Lots of organizations are struggling with this, and we get it, it’s hard to find the right balance! D&I aren’t buzzwords or checkboxes; they’re a commitment that we should all be taking seriously and actively pursuing. It's more than bringing in folks from all walks of life, it's about making sure everyone feels like they truly belong and are respected and valued along the way.

A variety of voices and experiences brings a richness of thought that benefits everyone. And it’s not just us saying this; the data backs it up too. Just to throw some cool numbers at you, diverse teams are 87% more likely to innovate, and they outperform their peers by 35%. (source)

So yes, hiring for skill is important, yes hiring people with underrepresented backgrounds is important, but how do you do this in the most genuine, effective, and inclusive way, whilst still hiring the best person for the job? We want to share why D&I is critical, and how each make a tangible difference in organizations. And we’re not just talking “rainbow logo” for pride month…

Buckle up; we’re diving in! 🙌🏼

Beyond the Tick Box: A Fresh Approach to Diversity

First things first, we're all about hiring talent based on skills and fit, not just to meet a diversity quota. Imagine finding out you’d been hired just because you were the right colour, gender, or background, reducing you to a box that needed to be ticked? Pretty crushing for anyone who thinks they got the role on merit!

Aim to nurture a culture that goes beyond merely including everyone. Celebrate the individuality that each person brings to the team. It's a team of diverse minds and hearts that helps us achieve levels of creativity and innovation that would be unimaginable otherwise. Like a mosaic – each piece adds its own hue and pattern, making the entire picture more vibrant. The result? Teams that feel empowered, leading to higher levels of innovation, job satisfaction and even business results. As we previously mentioned, companies with diverse teams are 87% more likely to innovate… diversity of thought for the win!

Everyone brings something unique to the table and as an industry, we need to make sure it is ALWAYS celebrated. Diversity isn't just ethically sound; it has huge benefits everyone involved…

Moving Beyond Good Intentions

Some employers post pictures that highlight underrepresented employees – whilst it’s great if it’s done in the right way, there is a delicate line between genuine inclusion and virtue signalling. The LAST thing you want to do is make someone feel like a trophy to tell the world that you’re “good” or “onboard” with diversity.

On the flip side of the "ticking a box" approach: a lot of hiring managers say they only focus on skill. Not actively aiming to build a diverse team, but not actively blocking them either. Both approaches are well-intentioned and come from a kind place, however, neither of them seems to address the intricacies, especially when it comes to inclusion. It’s important to note, people see through these efforts if they aren’t genuine…

Is your leadership team just as diverse as your individual contributors? Are you unintentionally treating diversity hires like Pokemon ("gotta catch 'em all")?

The Subtleties of Inclusion

Our Co-Founder Al Bassiri adds a unique perspective. Al's been in Canada for 30+ years and rarely faced outright racism, however every day someone mistakenly calls him "Ali". It might seem small (it’s only one letter, right?!) but when it happens every day for three decades, it has a deeper effect.

“When a person calls me "Ali", it's a message that they see me as middle eastern before they see anything else. A person that sees my name as "Ali" expects me to have an accent before I start speaking.”

For someone who speaks to people all day every day, this happens a lot! Al says that for every 1 in 10 interactions he is mistakenly called "Ali" even though he has never introduced himself as that.

In a company that embraced diversity enough to hire him but hasn't gone through the intricacies of inclusion, it means he has to work 10% harder to meet the same KPIs as his counterpart John.

Taking the time to make sure someone’s name is right is a small thing that we can all do every day. Our names are so deeply personal, and not taking those 30 seconds to check the name of the person you are speaking to has implications that run deeper than you think.

So, What’s the Diversity Scorecard Saying?

  • Women make up 30% of tech, even though they account for 47% of the total workforce.

  • Visible minorities? Only 18% in tech, compared to 23% in the general population.

  • Indigenous individuals represent 1% in tech but 4% of the broader workforce.

  • People with disabilities account for just 5% of talent in our tech space.

  • The LGBTQ+ community just 1%

  • And for our new Albertans? Nearly 80% of the 400 participants in the Global Onboarding of Talent Immigration program are actively job hunting.

The current diversity statistics in tech could be a lot better, but instead of getting stuck on what’s wrong, let’s focus on how to improve. The first step? Broadening our concept of who belongs in tech, which is, well, everyone! Next, let’s ensure that once people get here, they want to stay. That means offering accessible training, fostering a positive work environment, and addressing unconscious biases in hiring.

Time for Action

So, Calgary, are you eager to advance from merely diverse to truly inclusive? We know nobody is out there intentionally doing the wrong thing; we’re all on a journey together and to truly make progress we need to ask the right questions, from the right place. It’s about educating ourselves on how we can be truly inclusive and working on it every day – making everyone feel equal, respected, and celebrated.

Our co-founders know their stuff, they're Certified Diversity Sourcing Professionals. When we talk about diversity and inclusion, we’re not just winging it–we have the training and expertise to guide you properly.

Hammehr aren’t just fired up about the positive change diversity and inclusion can bring, we're excited about what it can do for the entire Canadian landscape. So, if you’re eager to get started on building a more diverse and inclusive team, we'd love to help. Contact us to learn more about crafting a diversity sourcing strategy that doesn't just tick boxes, but enriches your entire organization.

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