Emending Diversity at Google Using Organizational Development (OD) Concepts and Theories
Diversity in Technology Industry
Recently, there have been calls to consider more diversity in different corporations particularly the technology industry. Practices of discriminatory hiring is a common thing in numerous corporations such as Google and Apple. Despite the fact that there are movements to rectify such practices, there is still a need for leaders across different industries to spearhead new solutions in order to ensure equality, safety, and accessibility in their fields. Today, most of the technical jobs in big companies such as Google are held by men, with most of the technology workforce being Whites. Similarly, women comprise even less percentage in the technology industry (Rodriguez, 2015). There is a need to add depth to the technology pool for the benefit of everyone. Thus, this paper presents the Google case regarding diversity issues. It goes further to provide solutions using the change management concept.
Google’s Diversity Issues
Over the recent years, diversity and culture clashes in Google have dominated headlines highlighting issues of race and gender. Google being a technology giant, has been criticized for not considering diversity extensively like other companies such as Microsoft and Cisco. As a matter of fact, even employees of the company step up to challenge management concerning issues of diversity, a rare case for a company with such a rank and file in public as well as formal corporate setting. Among the reasons for the diversity problem is the lack of clear actions and policies that need to be communicated to advance inclusion and diversity with concrete accountability. Google has been involved in issues that concern diversity, gender, culture, and race.
Despite the fact that Google has always insisted that it longs to be an organization with more diversity, the numbers suggest that much success has not been achieved. In particular, according to the diversity report of the company, the organization has fifty-six percent white and sixty-nine percent male (Nocera, 2018). In addition, in engineering positions, white men hold 53 percent of such positions. 73 percent of males make the leadership with whites taking up 68 percent. On the other hand, African-Americans consist of 2 percent while Latino makes 4 percent of Google employees.
In the year 2014, Google released a gender and race workforce breakdown to be among the first technology companies to portray that most of its employees were male decidedly and white or Asian. However, a spate of recent lawsuits and incidents exposed the obstacles the organization has encountered as it has been forced into a national discussion concerning gender, race, and politics with the company’s workforce. Former employees are suing google for going too far with its efforts in diversity. The division of staff within the company was exposed in the year 2017 when a memo criticizing its diversity programs was written by a software engineer, James Damore (Nocera, 2018). According to the argument presented by Damore, the shortage of women in technical and leadership positions within the organization can be explained by the biological differences rather than the absence of opportunity.
Proposed recommendation to the diversity challenge at Google
Overcoming common challenges to diversity and inclusion at Google will result in accelerated business growth in the organization and blending the best minds. In order to achieve this, there are applicable definitive steps that Google sshould follow.
The first step is to have conversations on diversity, educating employees, and fixing the problem of culture from top to bottom. The culture of the organizations determines whether the employees are comfortable with their co-workers who have different backgrounds. Changing the organization culture will involve educating the employees on the need to mix their teams, this will require a change in the mindset which may seem awkward at first. For instance, when hiring, management may be biased while trying to look for “the right fit” for the job. The “not the right fit” excuse leads to the organization not accommodating different values because “they are not like us”. The change in culture should allow the organization to accept different values.
The next step is to ensure that when recruiting, Google does not only consider the traditional talent pools. For instance, the company should consider offering internships and job opportunities to individuals from different communities. Additionally, it should also consider hiring mothers who are returning to the workforce as well as other talents from different professionals (C Greer Jordan, & H Timothy Ewing, 2016). This will help the organization tap into the wider life and business experience possessed by other talent pools.
Google should also consider re-wording the job description in order to ensure that they do not limit the number of persons who will be interested in applying for different positions. For instance, instead of using words like ‘master’ or ‘experienced’, the organization should consider using ‘talented individuals’. This is essential in ensuring that the minority groups are attracted to apply for the positions.
Google should learn from other Tech companies such as Cisco and Microsoft which have better diversity and inclusion in their workforce. Ensuring diversity should be a team effort and should not be left to the executives to figure out ways to have inclusion (C Greer Jordan, & H Timothy Ewing, 2016).
Google should ensure that they adopt a flexible working process. Having a working process that is not tight and strict will enable the organization to attract individuals from a wider talent pool. This also helps in increasing the retention rate.
Implement executive diversity council (EDC) that will establish and monitor diversity as well as inclusion within the company. The EDC will be responsible for ensuring that minorities and women are well represented in different teams as well as in leadership positions.
To successful implement the proposed solutions into the work environment of Google, it is necessary to employ the change management concept. In essence, change management can be defined as the techniques, tools, and process to manage individuals’ side of change so as to achieve the standard results of business (Dievernich, Tokarski, & Gong, 2014). At the same time, it incorporates the tools of organization that can be employed to assist people to implement a successful personal transitions leading to the change realization and adoption. In addition, change management facilitates moving a company from a present state through a transition state to a required future state (Welbourne, 2014).
Importantly, Google needs to adopt key elements of change management so as to achieve diversity as well as inclusion effectively. First, it is crucial to address the human side systematically (Cummings & Worley, 2014). In other words, new leaders need to step up, certain jobs need to change, develop diversity capabilities, and new skills. This can be achieved by implementing the proposed executive diversity council. However, handling such issues on a case-by-case exposes results and morale at risk. Therefore, a formal approach should be adapted early enough that starts with the leadership team and then coming down to other employees. The approach of change management needs to be integrated into the decision making and design of the program, both enabling and informing strategic direction (Welbourne, 2014).
As it is known that change is inherently unsettling for some individuals in the organization, it is necessary to start at the top from the Chief Executive Officer and leadership. They have to model the required culture and speak with one voice. Another key element to consider is involving every layer as the transformation program needs to impact different organization levels.
Another important element to consider is to make the formal case by confronting reality as well as articulate the need for inclusion and diversity. It is also necessary to show faith and provide a road map guiding decision making and culture. Also, the leadership must create ownership and perform more during this transformation. Having assessed and changed the culture of the company the leaders need to understand and account for it at each organizational level, it should be addressed explicitly (Rothwell, Stavros, & Sullivan, 2015). It is difficult to complete a change program on schedule since acceptance will vary from individual to individual and thus affect the time taken to implement the change in the organization. Hence, it is critical to prepare for the unexpected as people might react in a manner that was not anticipated. However, this can be controlled by a continual reassessment of the change effect, the willingness of the company, as well as its ability to adopt the change process. Finally, it is a requirement to talk to the employees regarding what is expected of them before as well as after the process.
Diversity in the technology industry has been a major concern over the recent years. In particular, Google has been shown to have diversity and culture clashes that highlight issues of race and gender. Much of the workforce comprises of one race with males dominating the positions. Women are less represented in the company. Therefore, for Google to overcome these diversity issues, the company needs to employ the proposed solutions and have an executive diversity council. This can be achieved through the use of the proposed change management concept.
Brazzel, M. (2007). Deep diversity, social justice, and organization development. NTL, http://www. ntl. org/upload/BrazzelODSeasoningsDeepDivSJODSummer2008. pdf.
C Greer Jordan, P., & H Timothy Ewing, P. (2016). Diversity and Inclusion Concepts and Practice as Informed by Gestalt Training. Gestalt Review, 20(2), 188-200.
Cummings, T. G., & Worley, C. G. (2014). Organization development and change. Cengage Learning: New York.
Dievernich, F. E., Tokarski, K. O., & Gong, J. (2014). Change management and the human factor: Advances, challenges and contradictions in organizational development. New York: Springer.
Nocera, J. (2018, March 07). Google has a diversity problem and a lawsuit problem. Retrieved from https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-03-07/discriminating-against-white-men-isn-t-google-s-big-diversity-problem
Rodriguez, S. (2015, November 09). Tech diversity gets another conference: Tech inclusion 2015 brings Google, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest. Retrieved from https://www.ibtimes.com/tech-diversity-gets-another-conference-tech-inclusion-2015-brings-google-facebook-2093594
Rothwell, W. J., Stavros, J. M., & Sullivan, R. L. (2015). Practicing organization development: Leading transformation and change. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
Todd, D. M. (2016, July 01). Google’s diversity efforts show scant progress. Retrieved from https://www.reuters.com/article/us-google-diversity/googles-diversity-efforts-show-scant-progress-idUSKCN0ZG31K
Welbourne, T. M. (2014). Change management needs a change. Employment Relations Today, 41(2), 17-23.
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