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Another Tech Company, Twitter, Takes Steps to Impact Inclusion

We recently covered news on the appointment of Denise Young Smith as Apple’s new Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion. Well, 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, hopefully, will be able to impact these percentages. She has years of experience in promoting diversity and inclusion efforts at major companies like Xerox and Motorola.

Her past experience doubtless has given her an appreciation of the need for diversity and inclusion in any organization. It’s not, as you know, just about meeting quotas in for new hires in general. That might get you a diverse frontline workforce, but what about diversity among mentors and leaders? Most importantly, diversity alone won’t impact the need for inclusion!

Tie Diversity and Inclusion to Business Goals

Diversity and inclusion aren’t just “nice” things to do. Our relentless drumbeat is “inclusion is a business imperative.” It’s about the bottom line. Inclusion really matters. Social media outreach can help. 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 those markets. If your company isn’t meeting the needs of these groups, someone else will, and you’ll lose out on market share among diverse groups which is growing every year.

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 this is an important step to eliminating those biases.

However, a “one and done” approach to training isn’t the right approach. We recommend a Learning Over Time® approach for ensuring a sustainable culture of inclusion.

It’s exciting to see cutting edge organizations like Apple and Twitter taking diversity and inclusion seriously. It’s exciting because these are for-profit companies. They aren’t paying lip service to the idea of diversity and inclusion; they’re not doing it out of a purely moral reason. They recognize that inclusion is a means toward an end—a way to boost profits by impacting the bottom line. Inclusion is a business imperative!

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