In this Q&A, we discussed the importance of championing diversity and inclusion as a leader, and the challenges of overcoming the hurdle of unconscious bias in the workplace.
Why is it important to champion diversity and inclusion as a leader?
At Salesforce, we are committed to working toward our vision of a workplace that reflects society — where everyone feels seen, heard, valued, and empowered to succeed. We have an Office of Equality focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion.
From my personal perspective, I’m the mum of three girls and when they enter the jobs market in 10-15 years time, I want them to see a very different industry to what they see today. I have a responsibility to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace for them.
It’s also not only the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do. Research has shown that companies that invest in Equality — such as diversity programs and equal pay — and lead with values have a competitive advantage over those who do not.
At Salesforce, we have a Chief Equality and Recruiting Officer, to help guide our global recruiting initiatives with an inclusive lens at every step of the recruitment process, furthering our Equality journey.
We also take a data-driven approach to build a workplace that reflects the diverse communities we serve. A key part of maintaining a diverse and inclusive workforce is better understanding representation of underrepresented populations within our company — and we need accurate data to do just that.
I spend a lot of time mentoring and supporting women coming up through our business, because one of the big elements of diversity and inclusion is ensuring that there are visible role models that people can see and aspire to be like. That’s a big lever — you can’t be what you can’t see.
As a leader I like to spend time helping build people’s confidence and giving them a platform to show their skills, talents and capabilities. It’s important to help bring people out of their comfort zone so that they can feel confident to move up the levels as they progress in their career.
Diversity in technology: The playbook of best practice
One of the main hurdles with improving levels of diversity and inclusion in the workforce is the challenge of unconscious bias. How can this be overcome?
A foundational step on the path to Equality is the hiring process — a time to reach the most qualified and diverse candidates. We’ve implemented inclusive hiring and inclusive leadership principles to help remove bias from hiring and promotion processes.
Unconscious bias is important to acknowledge. We want to help our employees recognise unconscious bias at work and limit its impact on employee performance. This year, we launched an all manager training that includes bias awareness and a new process to help ensure our promotions process is fair, consistent and accessible to all.
We also have a global workshop called Cultivating Equality, as well as a public-facing Trailhead online learning course on the subject, to provide employees and leadership with the tools needed to drive inclusion in the workforce.
What key stakeholders are needed to ensure diversity and inclusion is a top priority at a large organisation like Salesforce?
At Salesforce, we believe that business is the greatest platform for change, and all businesses have the opportunity to be a platform for change. We have a set of core values, and Equality is one of those, it is a core tenet of how we run our business.
At Salesforce we have 12 Employee Resource Groups, or Equality Groups. These are employee-led organisations to support our underrepresented communities. The leaders are on the front lines of Equality, driving progress. We encourage everyone to participate as allies to build empathy, learn, and stand up for their colleagues.
The most innovative companies of the future will understand both the societal and business value of Equality. Those that work to foster diversity and inclusion will see significant financial gains as they maximize the potential of every employee and understand the unique needs of their customers.
Why are events like the Women in IT Awards important, and why has Salesforce continued to support this cause?
Events like the Women in IT Awards are important, because they highlight the fantastic talent and achievement of women within the IT industry. Salesforce is proud to sponsor and support these awards.