How to build inclusion into organizations, projects, products

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Reasons why people came to this session

  • They are looking to hire/grow their organization and want to keep inclusion in mind
  • They have suffered the effects of exclusive approaches
  • They are interested in inclusion in different dimensions, from open source pull requests to organizational culture in big tech
  • Because inclusion is fundamental to every aspect of life, and because, when things are inclusive, they are happier


Success examples at a startup

  • Unconference session about how language matters led to the creation of a channel on Slack where people can opt in to ask questions or bring up concerns in a safe space
  • Successful push for training (and funding for training) on allyship and bias training
    • Consultant recommendations: Sage Sharp for code of conduct (including its enforcement), Frame Shift for allyship, Kanyon Konsulting for indigenous insight. [Bear in mind these are just a few mentions of many more that exist]
  • Off-site event included an unconference about race that has led to a racial justice project in company.


Complications and general questions to navigate

How to deal with opt-in vs mandatory initiatives, like bias trainings?

What’s going to work best for this company demographic?

How do we promote the idea of inclusion work as the form of professional development it is, and as a space for continuous learning?

How to include without being tokenizing?

How do we build inclusion in, rather than see it as an afterthought?

We want to engage with people who don’t already believe in the importance of diversity.

Actual implementation needs us to understand where the challenges are for each organization.



Specific instance: Inclusion in hiring and promotion

How do we check for inclusion values among new hires? Some tips:

  • Include info on inclusion values on the job description/open call.
  • Articulate the shared understanding of what people are striving for in your company in terms of inclusion
  • Ask in interviews what their experience is with inclusion and diversity in the workplace
  • Say what your pronouns are without asking what theirs are
  • See how they respond to women and men or non-binary people interviewing them


How to use promotions as a vehicle for diversity?

  • Incorporating emotional intelligence in employee survey/metrics?
    • Counter: Potential complications: internal bias in judgments about emotional intelligence; consider neuroatypicality and how it plays into this
    • We know Myers Briggs is arbitrary, but it’s gone mainstream. Can we come up with something similar to promote commitment to inclusion? Can see https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/


Specific instance: public documentation of organizational diversity and inclusion processes