How an inclusive culture fuels success at Zaizi
At Zaizi, diversity and inclusive culture are critical to our success.
For our clients, bringing together teams from different backgrounds and diverse experiences helps ensure we can design services which are inclusive and accessible to all.
Within the business, the diversity of our people brings a richness of insight and thinking that ensures we are more creative and make better decisions.
The fact that 49% of colleagues are from minority ethnic backgrounds and 37% are women, is proof that, for our business, diversity isn’t just an aspiration, it’s a reality.
Our approach has been recognised on social media recently, with individuals commenting on our efforts to foster a more inclusive and diverse workforce.
While we are proud of these figures and comments, which compare favourably to most tech businesses, we’re committed to pushing ourselves even harder on diversity in our business. Here’s how we are going about it.
More than numbers
Many conversations about diversity focus on numeric targets. While knowing where you are and where you need to be is important – you can’t manage what you don’t measure – we think that solely focusing on numbers can be unhelpful.
This is because targets are sometimes arbitrary and progression can be influenced by factors beyond our organisation. It’s also because a fixation on representation can drive the wrong outcomes.
We don’t want to be a business that overlooks one under-represented group because we are pre-occupied with filling a quota. Nor do we want to be the kind of business that puts all its efforts into hiring for diversity without thinking about whether those people feel actually included or valued.
So, at Zaizi the target that matters most for us is inclusion. By thinking and acting inclusively in everything we do, we have found that diversity in our business is the outcome.
The way we hire has the biggest direct influence on the make-up of our workforce.
While some businesses go to specific job boards or networks as a way of increasing diversity, this isn’t what works for us.
Our approach is focused on attraction: that is recruiting in a way that makes it clear that people who have walked different paths in their career and education have a place in our business.
As well as the usual requirements, we add a caveat to our job descriptions (shown in the post above).
”You don’t meet all the requirements?
Studies show that women and black, Asian and minority ethnic people are less likely to apply for a job unless they meet every qualification. So if you’re excited about this role but your experience doesn’t align perfectly with the job description, we’d love you to still apply. You might just be the perfect person for this role, or another role here at Zaizi.”
Why have we included this? If we hire candidates purely based on academic credentials and work experience, we limit our ability to attract a diverse range of candidates. We understand that not everyone gets the opportunities or privileges to acquire the qualifications and skills they want, despite their potential and ability.
That’s why we also make it clear that we hire based on attitude, values and potential — our company purporse is about ‘Realising Potential’. And we see different life experiences as an asset.
By doing this, we broaden the talent pool and provide opportunities to those who may have otherwise been overlooked. Our selection process is why our organisation has organically become more diverse.
Giving people confidence that they will enrich our organisation rather than simply fit into a pre-determined specification for a role is the best way of ensuring they choose to apply.
READ: Gender diversity in tech: How we’re building an inclusive workplace
An inclusive culture
A third area that contributes to diversity in Zaizi is our focus on building a culture of inclusion.
Critical to this is our commitment to ensuring that we provide equal opportunities for everyone in the business. We do this by providing dynamic and in some ways unconventional routes to progression.
Our people don’t need to wait around for outdated annual review cycles that can slow down their career. We have set criteria for achievement that are defined by our purpose and values. And whenever someone can prove they have met those criteria, they are promoted. The training, work experience and learning opportunities which accelerate that journey are on offer to everyone.
Our people first inclusive culture means that we think about how we’re being flexible towards our team. For example, how are we making things easier for working parents, particularly single parents? What are we doing to encourage return-to-work mothers? Zaizi understands that issues like school pickups, remote work, and family responsibilities are important to many of our people, so how are we considering all these things?
We don’t make assumptions about people and their availability. Also we determine how people want to work and then see how it fits our operations. We accommodate, whenever we can.
Most of the cohort in our apprenticeships program are women, including return-to-work mothers and career changers. That’s not because we targeted them but because they knew how we operated and applied to work for us.
The stories we share, from people who join and then progress through the business, on our internal and external comms channels are a powerful way of providing evidence of the extent to which a culture of inclusion isn’t an aspiration but something that’s in the DNA of our business.
Leadership and accountability
To move forward even further with our commitment to building an inclusive culture in our business we know we need to ensure that all the systems we rely on to hire, manage and nurture talent are aligned to that goal.
So a final area of focus at Zaizi is to identify and prioritise the areas we need to improve and then make ourselves accountable for making those changes.
While leadership from the top of the business and direction from HR colleagues is critical to achieving this goal, we believe that inclusion is also the responsibility of every individual and team.
That means helping us understand what we can do better and letting us know when we aren’t walking the talk.
If you’d like to find out more, or are interested in working for our team, please check our careers page or simply get in touch.
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