Blog post written by Caitlin Gould, Bluefruit Software Director
For all of its achievements in innovation and forward thinking, the tech industry still has a major problem with diversity, mental health, and addressing employee issues. Today, across the globe Google employees are walking out over the mistreatment of women within the business. I’ve also read posts on social media where women share horror stories of what they’ve had to put up with, just to keep their jobs in an industry dominated by white middle-class men. There are similar horror stories from people of colour and the LGBTQ community.
These issues have a lasting impact on the industry. There is a severe lack of talent, not helped by a reputation for exclusivity and a propensity for mental health issues such as burnout. There is also evidence in multiple instances that a lack of diversity is damaging project outcomes. From racists sentencing software to sexist recruitment AI, without a diverse and fair workforce the tech industry is only hurting itself.
It’s been proven multiple times that a happier and more diverse workforce produces better results. As a company who is always striving to produce the highest quality of Software, we believe that investing in our team not only makes Bluefruit Software a great place to work, it also means we have a higher quality of output.
5 things we are doing at the moment to try to improve diversity and ensure we are a great place to work.
1. Non-Biased hiring
When hiring new software engineers (and any roles) our HR team have worked hard to build in non-biased practices. We review every job ad to ensure we aren’t using gender coded words and we ask applicants to undertake technical exercises as a first step, instead of submitting CVs. When we get CVs we then remove names, ages and other indicators that might accidentally bias the hiring panel. We also ensure there is always equal representation of men and women on the hiring panel. The aim of all of this is to ensure that we are hiring for skills, not background.
2. Disability confident employer
Recently, we signed up to the Government Disability Confident Scheme. This has been designed to help businesses recruit and retain employees with disabilities and/or with health conditions, utilising their skills and talents and not limiting their potential to be valued members of our team.
3. Mental Health awareness
We’re investing in Mental Health training across our management team, so that we know how to spot and cope with any mental health issues that might arise. We also look for ways to decrease stress in the office, including letting people create their own work environment and providing an onsite gym. We never ask people to work extended hours or over the weekend and would challenge any team member who felt that was required. For us burnout is a real indication that things aren’t going well, and we do everything we can to try to prevent it.
Although there are laws ensuring that employers are providing flexitime for parents, here at Bluefruit we believe flexitime should be available to all. Offering flexitime across the company means that everyone can work around family, hobbies and many more things outside of work life without feeling like they have to make sacrifices for their job.
5. Investing in STEM ambassador training and Apprenticeships
We know that problems with diversity can’t just be solved at the application stages, we also need more diverse candidates and that comes from encouraging anyone and everyone to consider a career in tech from a very early age. At Bluefruit, we support a number of employees who want to actively work with young people to encourage them to go into software careers. This includes encouraging more girls as well as people from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds. We also take on apprentices and offer work experience opportunities. In addition to helping to grow homegrown talent in Cornwall, the opportunity to give back to the local community is a real positive for the members of our team who want to get involved.
Does it really work?
As engineers, we’re big believers in evidence, so over the next few months we will be sharing a number of personal stories from our team on how our actions are encouraging increased diversity and team happiness.
We’d love to know what you think about how Bluefruit are trying to tackle some of the diversity issues in Tech. Please feel free to leave comments or get in touch directly. And if you or anyone you know is interested in a software role at a company that actively practices what it preaches in regards to team happiness and diversity – we are recruiting!