Apple Takes a Big Bite of Diversity and Inclusion

September 19, 2017

Apple has been in the news recently. Not just for the introduction of the latest versions of its iPhone—iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, but for the appointment of Denise Young Smith as Apple’s new Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion. But Apple isn’t the only tech giant to add and fill this role. On June 27, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced – via Twitter of course – the appointment of Candi Castleberry Singleton as its new VP of Inclusion and Diversity. Shortly thereafter, CNBC’s Courtney Connley discussed “3 Ways Twitter’s New VP of Inclusion and Diversity Could Shape the Company’s Culture.”

 

Improve Hiring Practices from Top to Bottom

 

Connley points out that, “According to a 2016 diversity report, Twitter is 57 percent white, 32 percent Asian, 3 percent black, 4 percent Hispanic/Latinx, and 37 percent female.” Singleton has years of experience in promoting diversity and inclusion efforts at major companies like Xerox and Motorola.

 

This experience doubtless has given her the appreciation of the need for diversity and inclusion throughout an organization. It’s not just about putting quotas in for new hires in general. That might get you a diverse frontline workforce, but what about the diverse mentors and leaders? What about the inclusion of diverse opinions at the management level?

 

Tie Diversity and Inclusion to Business Goals

 

It’s our relentless mantra: Diversity and inclusion aren’t just “nice” things to do. They have a real, and really impactful, business impact. Obviously, to be successful, organizations must appeal to a wide array of individuals. Twitter certainly understands the diversity of its users. As Connley writes: “According to data from Pew Research Center, 27 percent of African Americans who use the internet use Twitter, 25 percent of Latino internet users use Twitter, and 21 percent of white internet users use Twitter.”

 

Failing to understand and reach diverse markets means potentially missing out on buying power of those markets. If your company isn’t meeting the needs of these groups, another company most certainly will. But to capture diverse market share you must understand those markets. Doing that is predicated on having a diverse pool of employees whose experiences and perspectives can provide important insights.

 

Expand Unconscious Bias Training

 

Connley reports that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced in 2016 that Twitter would be rolling out unconscious bias training to all employees and interns to help boost inclusiveness. This is key, and Singleton certainly understands as much. Even when people are well-meaning and don’t think of themselves as prejudiced or dismissive of diverse viewpoints, there is plenty of research and scholarship to back up the fact that most people are prejudiced and dismissive of others but on a subconscious level. Learning how to recognize our unconscious biases is an important step to eliminating those biases.

 

It’s exciting to see cutting edge organizations like Apple and Twitter taking diversity and inclusion seriously. Not simply for the sake of diversity, but because they understand—as we do—that inclusion is a business imperative. That’s a message that resonates with business leaders. 

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