Blog

GlueCon 2014 – Deconstructing Women in Technology: What is the data really telling us?

This past week, I was fortunate enough to be chosen as a keynote speakers at GlueCon 2014 in Broomfield, CO.

At Quick Left, I'm passionate about creating an environment for our developers that harbors creativity and collaboration, and believe incorporating women on my team is a key element to what makes our company work so seamlessly.

While the focus of my keynote was about the state of women in the computer industry, I truly believe that overall diversity is what makes teams work well, and this is why it's important to have a good mix on all teams.

Here are 7 ways to promote a better performing team:

1. Make a commitment.

You can't just add some women and check it off your list. Creating an environment where all team members can thrive and be creative is a commitment that should be discussed with board members and leaders at the company. Making a commitment to diversity explicitly is also very important. Hold yourself to a goal!

2. Host team building events during business hours.

If the only ways to talk to the boss or climb the social ladder at work are late nights at the bar, then you're going to make it hard to have an open culture for all of your employees. Host fun events at work so that people with family or other important things going on in their lives can still connect with the team on a fun level.

3. Provide ample outlets for feedback to leadership team.

Whether it be anonymous surveys, or one on one meetings; provide different ways for people to reach out and be heard. Sure, you can have an "open door" or no doors, as I do. But that doesn't mean people will always feel comfortable reaching out directly, especially with sticky situations. Giving people plenty of options can mitigate festering problems that could grow out of control.

4. Examine your hiring practices: from job posts to interviewing style.

When looking at our job descriptions, who weeds themselves out before they even apply? Language can have an impact on feelings of belonging. You don't need a rock star coder, you need someone who can ship software.

5. Examine your bonus and raise criteria – not everyone is good at asking.

Especially at startups, employees feel an immense amount of loyalty and accountability to the success of the company. They'll sacrifice their own needs whether it be weekends or money. I've seen some of my best employees–men and women–not ask for raises. But it's important for me to reward people as best I can, not just the great negotiators.

6. Having more women in leadership encourages more women in general.

Women at the top send a positive message about the status of women in the company overall. Not to mention, the diversity in leadership aids in the overall success of the company.

7. Your job is a place of business where adults work, but it can still be fun!

You may have started your company with your buddies or work with some of them, but you gotta keep things professional. That doesn't mean you still can't have fun, we sure do!

If you would like to see the stats on women in technology, and reasons why females aren't coming up the pipeline, check out my slideshare from the conference.