Building a Diverse Technology Culture

The university community is incredibly diverse, with every conceivable nationality, race, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, physical capability and socio-economic background imaginable. Numerous studies show that teams with varied backgrounds enjoy more effective problem solving and fewer service gaps.

In alignment with the university, Ohio State’s technology groups – the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO), the Office of Distance Education and eLearning (ODEE) and Enterprise Security – have a long standing commitment to an inclusive workplace. For example, according to Forbes Magazine, the proportion of senior business roles held by women stands at about 24% globally. In contrast, two-thirds of our technology leadership team – 66% of the leaders who report directly to the CIO – are women.

“To ensure we build inclusive teams, we need to ensure that a diverse base of job seekers view us as an attractive employer,” says Human Resources Director Laura Palko. “We are taking tangible steps to ensure we are deliberate in our efforts to attract, hire and retain a diverse team of highly-talented professionals.”

We have a three-phase approach to successfully achieve these goals. Phase one involves attracting a diverse applicant pool. To achieve this, prospective applicants need to be able to picture themselves working within our teams. We’re giving them insight into the diversity that already exists by creating an online recruiting presence that invites candidates to take a closer look at us. This includes personal stories from our team members as well as thoughts from our senior leaders about why talented, diverse teams naturally create a strategic advantage.

The second step is understanding how natural biases can impact the hiring decision process. Because many biases can be held subconsciously based on each person’s background, we are training hiring managers to identify any predispositions toward diverse candidates that they may not even be aware that they have. This phase of the process is a combination of training and communications. Training will be available to help hiring managers identify their own biases, with both in-person and online learning opportunities available.

Lastly, we need to ensure we actively sustain an inclusive environment in which all of our employees can thrive. Diverse candidates are more comfortable in teams that are widely inclusive. To retain our diverse talent, we are building a culture where we embrace our differences and welcome other points of view. The bottom line is that diversity is not just an initiative; it is how we do our best work.

If you have any questions about how we plan to meet these goals and lessons we have learned so far, contact Human Resources Director Laura Palko by email or by phone at 614-292-0556.

Our goal is to foster a community of professionals with diverse skills, experiences and backgrounds who actively collaborate to support the mission of The Ohio State University. We are committed to personal and professional growth of individuals as they achieve their highest potential and support others along the way. In an ever-changing technology landscape our employees are flexible, innovative and adept problem-solvers.

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