Advocating for Diversity and Inclusion, Day In and Day Out

Today, March 8, is International Women’s Day (IWD), when governments, employers and women themselves celebrate female success and the contributions that women have made to society. Advocating for women is critical, and as a growing technology company, we certainly shoulder some of the responsibilities alongside others in the industry.

However, we can’t advocate for women or any other groups on just one day of the year. Organizations including ours need to look at diversity and inclusion on a daily basis, and make sure we are considering it in every area of the business, from hiring to team structure and recognizing achievements.

It is proven that diverse and inclusive teams solve business problems faster, allowing things to get done more quickly, and also make for happier and more productive employees. So how can companies make sure they have a culture that welcomes everyone and gives them space to contribute and experiment?

It certainly starts with hiring. At Appier, we focus on skill-based hiring, making sure we have the best people to do the job rather than look at race, gender or any other identifying factor. Culture fit is also incredibly important. Appier is a startup, so collaboration across functions is key to our success, and we need people who bring the right attitude first and foremost. At a young company where processes are still being established, flexibility is key, so teams often have to pool resources to make things happen.

Inclusion doesn’t just mean getting a certain number of different sorts of people on the team, it also means ensuring that everyone feels they can contribute. Leaders need to look around daily to see if everyone is getting a voice in meetings; if everyone has the equipment and knowledge they need to be successful; if everyone feels comfortable advocating for herself; if everyone is being welcomed and respected by colleagues, and so on.

If any of these things aren’t happening, then leaders need to take a look at existing processes to make sure they are working, or at the very least carve out time for those who might need additional support.

Ultimately, we need to think about equity before equality. Equality means treating everyone equally, and while fairness is critical to functioning workforce, we need to look first at whether or not we are providing equity to everyone. Equity means giving each individual the specific tools they need to succeed. These will vary from person to person, and once everyone is equipped and on an even plane, we can go on to ensure equality.

Jennifer Huang, our director of strategy and business development, joined Suchitra Narayan of SGInnovate, K. Thanaletchimi, NTUC Central Committee Member, and Aziza Sheerin, regional director of General Assembly on a panel in Singapore today to discuss these issues in celebration of IWD. They agreed that we are on a journey and we have got some way to go, but if everyone in the mix – employers, teachers, government leaders, women themselves, their friends and families – continues to advocate for fair treatment, we will continue to see progress towards relationships, workplaces and societies that provide equally for all, leading to a brighter future for everyone.