NCWIT Tips: 9 Tips for Creating Inclusive Corporate Websites


 

Your company’s website is an important tool for communicating commitment to diversity to clients, the public, and current and prospective employees. These tips will help you create a website that welcomes a wide range of people and promotes the meaningful role of computing within the company.

 


Emphasize the company’s commitment to diversity by using inclusive images and language throughout the website.

Choose authentic images that show a diverse range of people employed in a variety of occupations and engaged in meaningful work. Avoid images that reinforce negative stereotypes about computing or technology workplaces (e.g., male-dominated photos, programming alone in a cubicle). Also avoid images that appear to show women, men or women of color, or other underrepresented groups in predominantly subordinate roles.

Highlight how the company’s work or products contribute to society or to solving important problems. Call attention to the role collaboration and teamwork play in producing these solutions.

Research shows that having the opportunity to work with people and to make a difference are career priorities for many people. Feature the end results of the company’s work and show people working together, rather than showing only computers or machinery.

Consider creating a separate webpage for diversity efforts and resources, but make sure this isn’t the only place where diversity is pictured or promoted (see Tip #1).

Be transparent about company diversity goals (www.ncwit.org/announcingdiversity), statistics showing improvement over time, and programs that promote diversity. Publicize company sponsorship of diversity efforts and events.

Include explicit, carefully composed statements about the value of diversity.

Affirmative action and anti-discrimination statements can be problematic if they imply that diversity is a problem to be overcome. Boilerplate language or legalese can suggest that the company is more interested in compliance than true inclusion. Instead, describe how the company values diversity and views it as a strength or business advantage. Remember that most employees want to receive fair, but not preferential, treatment. For information on gender diversity and business performance, see: www.ncwit.org/businesscase.

In job advertisements, define qualifications as broadly as possible and avoid language that may deter diverse applicants.

Consider asking all applicants to provide evidence of their own commitment to diversity, how they function in diverse teams, or how their work has contributed to diverse communities. This not only shows that diversity is valued, but also connects it to business outcomes and fosters the development of an inclusive workplace. For tips on reducing bias in job ads, see www.ncwit.org/jobdescriptionanalysis and www.ncwit.org/jobdescriptionchecklist.

Use case studies and testimonials from a diverse range of employees to help prospective employees see themselves in your company.

Include personal information about the individual’s background and interests to highlight the varied paths and goals of successful computing professionals. Be sure to describe how these individuals have made a difference in society through their work.

Highlight a range of employee benefits that would interest a wide variety of potential employees.

These include flexible scheduling options, personal or family leave time, and anything else you offer that appeals to a broad range of people. Be clear that these benefits are for everyone, not just for women. Avoid prominently promoting benefits that perpetuate negative “brogrammer” stereotypes of computing, such as free beer and foosball. Make it clear that a wide range of activities and amenities are available.

Work with a website design expert to maximize usability and accessibility.

Make sure your website is appealing and easy to navigate. Consider conducting surveys or focus groups with your target audiences to evaluate whether the desired messages are effectively communicated. For tips on accessibility, see www.washington.edu/accesscomputing/tips/.

Be truthful. Don’t advertise conditions that don’t exist in your company.

If conditions are not ideal, focus on what you do have and what you are doing to improve the situation.


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