Updated February 24, 2023
Building a Diverse Tech Industry: Iron Software's Approach
In recent years, the tech industry has come under fire for its lack of diversity, particularly when it comes to the representation of women and people of color. To increase diversity and inclusiveness in the workplace, it is crucial for companies to be aware of how unconscious bias impacts the hiring process. Unconscious bias refers to implicit biases that we hold that unconsciously influence our decisions and actions.
Iron Software is taking a proactive approach to address diversity and inclusion by training all HR Staff and anyone involved in the hiring process about unconscious bias and what they can do to counter such biases and help grow a diverse team. It is well documented that diverse teams are more effective and creative. By implementing best practices in hiring, the company is breaking down traditional barriers and creating opportunities for individuals from diverse backgrounds to succeed.
An example of one of the many steps taken in the recruitment process to support inclusion and support access to the profession for a myriad pool of candidates is by ensuring that only the candidate's ability to do the job is considered.
Zainab Kemsley, a representative from Iron Software, says:
"Our HR team anonymizes all applications so hiring managers' unconscious biases are less likely to impact the selection processes."
Another example of Iron Software's hiring practices is the company's recognition that candidates who have retrained as software engineers, and maybe starting a new profession later in their career journey bring transferable skills and out of industry experience to the team dynamics.
"Moreso people are learning to code as a second career," says Zainab. "If Iron Software dismissed candidates because they didn't follow a traditional university career path, we would have missed out on skilled and capable engineers."
Online education has played a major role in increasing the accessibility for individuals entering the tech industry. Tim Corey, Microsoft MVP and Software Development Teacher, has had more than 250,000 students undertake his courses and says, "online training has allowed us to provide a great education in technology to everyone, not just those who can afford it. Financial status, the ability to attend classes, and even geographic considerations no longer need to be limiting factors."
One example of Iron Software's commitment to an inclusive environment is in respecting different cultures, practices and religions. Zainab continues:
"Our HQ is in Chicago, but we have employees worldwide, so rather than mandate local public holidays, we let everyone bank their full annual leave to take when it suits them,"
By doing this, the company acknowledges the diversity of the workforce and enables the company to support all religious holidays and cultural traditions.
Understanding that we all have biases and knowing more about them is the key to fostering an inclusive workforce. Iron Software recognizes that every member has a unique background and career path.
"We identify people's strengths and let them run with it, where there are gaps they wish to improve on, we help individuals succeed by supporting them with professional development," says Zainab. Iron provides free language lessons for those wishing to develop skills further. Communication is fundamental to success, giving participants the opportunity to bond over learning as well as advance their skills.
By recognizing and embracing the benefits of lifelong learning and promoting diversity and inclusiveness in the workplace, Iron Software is committed to encouraging a diverse and inclusive organization that we can all enjoy being a part of. By breaking down traditional barriers and creating opportunities for individuals from diverse backgrounds to succeed, Iron Software is developing a diverse culture that benefits from diverse ideas and experiences.