Thank you Gerhard Schweinitz, Director of Talent | Co-founder of BeerOps.
1. What motivated BeerOps to partner with TechDiversity, and what values do we share?
BeerOps is Australia’s largest tech networking event. Our mission is to bring our diverse tech community together in a fun way, where we can help each other succeed off the back of valuable connections made . When I met with the TechDiversity leaders they were engaging and extremely passionate about inspiring progress in our tech industry and providing opportunities for people of all backgrounds to succeed. Our values in relation to helping others and creating a diverse tech workforce were extremely aligned.
2. In what way do you support and promote diversity, equity, and inclusion within the tech workforces?
We welcome attendees of all backgrounds to come to our event and try to provide conditions where everyone can feel comfortable to attend. We actively seek to provide opportunities for our members across training, new employment and personal or company branding for new entrants in the tech industry. We have diversity targets at our event, where we are continuously seeking to have a balanced representation at our event, including a balanced leadership team.
3. What are some of the biggest challenges you have encountered when it comes to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion within the tech workforces, and how have you overcome them?
In order to promote a diverse workforce, I believe the tech industry needs to continuously welcome new people into the community, the younger generation is one angle, but there is also re-skilling a more mature workforce and bringing returning mothers into the tech workforce. The biggest challenge that I have seen is that many employers are looking for an expansive wish list of items in order to hire someone. In order to hire from a more diverse talent pool, the hiring managers need to highlight what can be upskilled and provide a support structure to enable that. The long term benefits is that they will have a more engaged and fulfilled person working for them.
BeerOps helps here I believe by bringing people face to face and not just employers seeing a person’s CV. Often when an employer meets the person they can see the potential in them better than they can just from a CV. There is also the opportunity for the job seeker to make their case in person, which is more likely to be successful when their CV does not have the expansive wish list. Our goal is for real face to face interactions and create a spirit of helping each other in our community.
4. How do you think BeerOps and TechDiversity can work together to encourage more young people, particularly those from underrepresented backgrounds, to pursue careers in technology?
I believe BeerOps and TechDiversity can provide a fun and welcoming environment for the younger generation to feel that they have a support community to lean on for help and guidance as they enter a new industry. Knowing that people have their back is important and we can do this together, I have no doubt.
5. Given the recent industry layoffs and the competitive nature of the tech sector, what are three strategies that you recommend for our community (HR, DEI specialists & business leaders) to retain valuable employees who may have been left behind by the layoffs, and how can these strategies help promote a more diverse, equitable and inclusive tech workforce?
Retaining employees, when there are layoffs happening.
• It is very important to be honest and transparent with your employees, if they feel that you are hiding things from them they can lose trust and will be more likely to leave. Building trust is key to retaining valuable employees as it shows you respect them.
• Continuous communication, understanding where they are at, what they are thinking, providing them the re-assurances you are able to provide and addressing the concerns you are able to.
• Ensuring you are providing a positive environment, despite the circumstances. It is important to keep investing in team building and having fun, as businesses need to restructure in many cases, but it is important to acknowledge those who are still there.