Considering Technology Upskilling in Your DE+I Strategy

Jessica mitsch By Jessica Mitsch ● May 27, 2021
Considering Technology Upskilling in DEI Strategy featured

While learn­ing and tech­nol­o­gy upskilling efforts may have typ­i­cal­ly been man­aged sep­a­rate­ly from DE+I ini­tia­tives, now is the per­fect time to con­sid­er how to con­nect the two with­in one strate­gic plan, allow­ing both efforts to inter­act and cre­ate the most impact­ful outcomes. 

We want­ed to share recent thoughts on the link between tech­nol­o­gy upskilling and your DE+I strat­e­gy from Bran­don Miller, a sought-after thought leader in the Diver­si­ty, Equi­ty, and Inclu­sion (DE+I) space, and the chair of the Diver­si­ty Coun­cil at Clark­ston Con­sult­ing.

With many tech orga­ni­za­tions con­sid­er­ing how to move for­ward with a hybrid or flex­i­ble work plan, it’s a per­fect oppor­tu­ni­ty to make ben­e­fi­cial orga­ni­za­tion­al change when it comes to both tech­nol­o­gy upskilling ini­tia­tives, and DE+I inclu­sion efforts. Con­sid­er­ing the cur­rent tech tal­ent short­age, com­pa­nies may be real­iz­ing that they have loy­al entry-lev­el or mid-lev­el staff with the foun­da­tion­al hard and soft skills need­ed to devel­op valu­able tech tal­ent from within.

Why should busi­ness lead­ers con­sid­er upskilling in their DE+I strategy?

When con­sid­er­ing DE+I strat­e­gy, it is impor­tant for busi­ness lead­ers to dis­cuss how to effec­tive­ly meet all employ­ees’ upskilling needs. For a busi­ness with a het­ero­ge­neous group of work­ers with dif­fer­ent pref­er­ences for what career growth may look like, DE+I ini­tia­tives tied with train­ing can pro­vide a com­pet­i­tive advan­tage. Though busi­ness lead­ers have many pri­or­i­ties, sup­port for tech­nol­o­gy upskilling or reskilling has becom­ing increas­ing­ly nec­es­sary as an effec­tive tal­ent reten­tion strat­e­gy, active­ly work­ing to encour­age growth for all employees.

How does invest­ing in tech­nol­o­gy upskilling ben­e­fit employees?

Upskilling employ­ees enables them to progress towards career goals with­in their inter­ests, which is espe­cial­ly ben­e­fi­cial for tech roles, where new soft­ware and plat­forms are con­stant­ly going through iter­a­tions. Dur­ing these times of rapid dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion and the rise of automa­tion, upskilling your tal­ent not only instills a val­ue of hav­ing a growth mind­set, but also allows your tal­ent to pro­fes­sion­al­ly devel­op at the same rate as your organization’s inno­va­tion. While learn­ing and devel­op­ment may have typ­i­cal­ly been man­aged sep­a­rate­ly from DE+I ini­tia­tives, now is the per­fect time to con­sid­er how to con­nect the two with­in one strate­gic plan, allow­ing both efforts to inter­act and cre­ate the most impact­ful outcomes. 

There are mul­ti­ple quan­tifi­able advan­tages for upskilling employ­ees as well. New­ly trained employ­ees will be able to bring a val­ue-added com­bi­na­tion of both indus­try and tech expe­ri­ence to the com­pa­ny after their train­ing. The com­pa­ny can also demon­strate com­mit­ment to DE+I by upskilling and retrack­ing peo­ple from under­rep­re­sent­ed pop­u­la­tions into pro­fes­sion­al career tracks. Orga­ni­za­tions can build inter­nal loy­al­ty, decreas­ing both hir­ing expens­es for pro­fes­sion­al posi­tions and turnover costs.

Is it a lev­el play­ing field when it comes to tech­nol­o­gy upskilling?

There are numer­ous key fac­tors that can affect a diverse workforce’s abil­i­ties to com­plete tech­nol­o­gy upskilling pro­grams. Cer­tain mem­bers of the work­force may not have the same avail­abil­i­ty or time to spend on train­ing as oth­ers, espe­cial­ly if they have respon­si­bil­i­ties as care­tak­ers, or if they must pri­or­i­tize oth­er time-con­sum­ing activ­i­ties. Stud­ies have shown that the rise of automa­tion will have a dis­pro­por­tion­ate impact on women and employ­ees of col­or. It’s imper­a­tive that orga­ni­za­tions are for­ward-think­ing when it comes to their future of work, keep­ing diver­si­ty and equi­ty in mind, ensur­ing that you’re upskilling tal­ent for future oppor­tu­ni­ties is inte­gral to your lead­er­ship and DE+I strate­gies. Addi­tion­al­ly, some mem­bers of a diverse work­force are affect­ed by the doc­u­ment­ed wealth gaps relat­ed to race and gen­der, and may not have the finan­cial resources to cov­er the costs of a tech­nol­o­gy upskilling pro­gram, espe­cial­ly if they are sup­port­ing extend­ed fam­i­ly or are repay­ing debts such as stu­dent loans. It is impor­tant to help employ­ees feel sup­port­ed by the com­pa­ny, espe­cial­ly if they are part of a mar­gin­al­ized com­mu­ni­ty that has his­tor­i­cal­ly lacked effec­tive men­tor­ship, access to lead­er­ship oppor­tu­ni­ties, or struc­tured plans for career growth. Learn­ing dis­abil­i­ties can also impact some mem­bers of a work­force. All of these employ­ees’ needs should be eval­u­at­ed and inte­grat­ed when deter­min­ing a DE+I strategy.

More Than Just Pay­ing for Training

It is impor­tant to keep in mind that pro­vid­ing access to upskilling should extend beyond pay­ing for out­side cours­es to max­i­mize suc­cess. A true train­ing part­ner will adapt cur­ricu­lum to meet that com­pa­ny or indus­try’s needs and can lever­age expe­ri­ence in tal­ent iden­ti­fi­ca­tion and assess­ment to spot and cul­ti­vate can­di­dates from non-tra­di­tion­al edu­ca­tion­al back­grounds who have the skills it takes to suc­ceed in their new roles. 

Momentum’s pro­grams pro­vide oppor­tu­ni­ties for soft­ware devel­op­ment tal­ent to build and grow skills, con­fi­dence, and lead­er­ship. We’re help­ing vision­ary com­pa­nies deploy new and inclu­sive strate­gies to find, devel­op and retain the best tech­nol­o­gy tal­ent. Con­tact us today to learn more about how we can sup­port your team’s corpo­rate train­ing needs.

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