Building Inclusive Engineering Teams by Mekka Okereke

My notes follow.

About inclusivity:

  • There’s no one answer.
  • Best to widely share ideas for increasing inclusivity.
  • Goal that scales: “we want to make our team a place where hard working collaborative smart people from all backgrounds can succeed and thrive”.
  • It’s contextual (e.g. Black in US, Polish in post-Brexit UK).
  • What matters: behaviors that are punished and rewarded.
  • Need to be aware of when you’re on the powerful side of the scale.
  • Focus on things that are correct (fair evaluations of a situation) and discard the rest.

Actionable:

  • Consider context during reviews. Women get more comments on their PRs. Some women in OSS work under fake names to avoid this. Just being aware decreases this tendency. (Think: would I make the same comment if it were person X instead?) Similar effect on speaking time and perception of quality of decisions. (Watch for interrupting, etc.)
  • Make a culture of inclusivity. Act on the aberrant behavior with a nudge. Don’t worry about being PC all the time; the culture will help correct you (“not sure if that sounded like you wanted”). “Like kittens in a box.” When a kitten escapes, put it back in the box.
  • Share how interviews are done. Google does this. Stanford has an entire course on it. Sharing interview details helps with acceptance rate into Google.
  • Reduce the number of bullet points on your job posting. Men will apply if they qualify for 3 of N bullet points, but women will apply if they qualify for 85% of N.