In its official blog, Google Vice President of People Operations Nancy Lee was at pains to explain that the global giant is, indeed, keen to diversify its workforce and working culture.
The company fell short of diversity requirement when it released the composition of its workforce a year ago, and promised to fulfil the gap to do more on it.
Going public with these numbers, given below, Google hopes to recruit and develop the world’s most talented and diverse people. Here are some basic figures on it website:
|White||Asian||Hispanic||Black||Other||Two or more races|
To begin with, Google has embarked upon embedding engineers at Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the US, partnering with Hollywood to inspire girls to pursue careers in computer science, building local initiatives to introduce coding to high school students from diverse communities and expanding programs aimed at employee unconscious bias training.
But the company these are only the tip of iceberg and more is going on behind the scenes. “If we’re really going to make an impact, we need a holistic plan,” says the company official in her blog, before explaining four key areas they are focusing on currently.
Hire diverse Googlers is one of them. In the past, Google’s university-focused hiring programs have relied heavily on a relatively small number of institutions, which are not diverse enough to fulfil the requirement.
For instance, while 14% of Hispanic college enrollment is at 4-year schools, Hispanics make up just 7% at the 200 most selective schools. In the past two years, Google has doubled the number of schools for recruitments to promote student diversity. This year, nearly 20 percent of the new hires will be from these new campuses, it said.
Fostering a fair and inclusive culture is another. Google wants to provide an environment where all Googlers can thrive and to achieve this, “We’ve raised awareness around unconscious bias—half of all Googlers have participated in our unconscious bias workshops—and we’ve now rolled out a hands-on workshop that provides practical tips for addressing bias when we see it,” said Nancy Lee in her official blog.
Google is now setting aside 20 percent time to enable employees to use their time at work to focus on diversity projects. In 2015, about 500 Googlers participated in Diversity Core, a formal program in which employees contribute as part of their job.
Expand the pool of technologists is the third program Google has undertaken. Making computer science (CS) education accessible to all, Google’s has made its CS First program that is designed to help anybody, whether a teacher, a coach, or a volunteer to teach kids the basics of coding.
To make the program more friendly for girls who think that coding is for boys, Google started Made with Code, a program developed in association with the entertainment industry to change the perceptions of girls and explaining what it means to be a computer scientist.
The other program Google has taken up on its shoulders to address diversity question is to bridge the digital divide.
To help more underrepresented communities, including women and minorities, to share the benefits of the web, and to have access to the economic engine it provides, Google has set up the “Accelerate with Google Academy”, a program that helps business owners get online, grow and drive economic impact.
Finally, Nancy was apologetic at the outcome of these programs saying in an organization of huge size, “meaningful change will take time”.
“From one year to the next, bit by bit, our progress will inch forward,”assures Lee in her blog.