Our Journey Toward a More Diverse Workday

Today, Fortune ranked Workday #6 on its list of the “50 Best Workplaces for Diversity.”

Fortune and the Great Place to Work Institute developed this list after they studied the demographics of workforces at 630 companies, and surveyed more than 128,000 women and 69,000 minority employees at those companies about their experiences.

I’m honored by this recognition, which indicates that on the whole, women and minorities who participated in the survey are having positive experiences at Workday and feel they’re in an inclusive environment where they can grow their careers.

Yet diversity isn’t an end game, it’s a journey. So while we value this recognition there is still much work to do. I’m not alone in this view, as I think a survey of human resources and business leaders across the technology industry would reveal similar sentiments.

Why? First and foremost, every human being is born with the right to equal opportunities. But there’s also a very business-oriented reason: It’s a proven fact that diversity fuels innovation.

Smart companies know that fast, effortless consensus is the death of innovation. It’s impossible to think outside the box, if everyone is looking at the box from the same viewpoint.

In a September 2014 article in Scientific American, titled “How Diversity Makes Us Smarter,” the author writes, “Decades of research by organizational scientists, psychologists, sociologists, economists and demographers show that socially diverse groups (that is, those with a diversity of race, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation) are more innovative than homogeneous groups.”

People of different backgrounds bring new ideas to the conversation, but that’s not all. “Simply interacting with individuals who are different forces group members to prepare better, to anticipate alternative viewpoints, and to expect that reaching consensus will take effort.”

A group of very similar people will reach consensus faster. But smart companies know that fast, effortless consensus is the death of innovation. It’s impossible to think outside the box, if everyone is looking at the box from the same viewpoint.

At Workday, we are focused on creating an environment where everyone is encouraged to be themselves. We’re doing more every year to increase the diversity of our workforce through new employee recruiting, and we have a number of ongoing outreach efforts around diversity.

Just this past weekend, more than 50 youths participated in a day of workshops on Workday’s campus (see photo above) to learn about careers in the STEM and Arts fields. The event was hosted by The Talented TENTH, Workday’s employee group focused on inspiring African American communities about careers in software and technology, in partnership with iUrban Teen, an organization whose goal is to bring STEM and Arts education to minority teenagers.

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Members of The Talented TENTH, an employee group at Workday.

In addition, as a technology company we must always be thinking about how we can take the same innovative approach we use for solving customer challenges and apply that to improving our diversity efforts.

Using configuration capabilities and analytics built into Workday, we can look at how we’re growing employees’ careers across the company.

That’s why I’m excited about a dashboard we’ve created in the Workday system that will help our business leaders track diversity numbers in real time and identify trends around hiring, movement, promotions, departures, and more.

Using configuration capabilities and analytics built into Workday, we can look at how we’re growing employees’ careers across the company. Within individual departments and regions, are women and minorities getting promoted at the same rate as others? If not, why? The answers to these questions can help us make more informed decisions every day about how we increase diversity at Workday in the years to come.

The journey towards a more diverse workplace is inspiring, fulfilling, and sometimes challenging. Starting a dialogue and making diversity a top priority is critical for the technology industry. At Workday we are committed to improving employee diversity, and today’s recognition by Fortune gives me confidence that we are moving in the right direction.