How companies are closing the gap
The elderly, ultra-Orthodox, Arabs, Ethiopians, people with disabilities and people living on the periphery often face discrimination in the workplace, even if having employees who reflect the composition of a population can actually be an advantage to an organization.
In today’s polarized and divided Israeli society, it is more important than ever to have a diverse, inclusive, tolerant and equal working environment for different populations.
Yesterday (21 May), as part of World Day for Cultural Diversity, a United Nations initiative to raise awareness of diversity in society, we looked at how tech companies encourage and enable diversity among their employees. .
The growing awareness among high-tech companies of the need and potential to diversify their workforce is due, in large part, to organizations like Tsofen, which for more than 15 years has provided Hundreds of companies with tools and opportunities to recruit software developers from underrepresented Arab society and make their workplace more inclusive. As a result, today nearly 10,000 Arab engineers contribute to the growth of the national high-tech industry.
Bar Lev High Tech Park
Bar Lev High Tech Park, located near Ahihud Junction, is an R&D center for high-tech companies; it hopes to become the Silicon Valley of the Galilee. The vision behind the park is to establish a cutting-edge high-tech center that will host local and international technology companies, encouraging the integration of excellence, creativity, innovation and growth. Today, there are 40 businesses in the park, and it will host up to 5,000 new jobs in the high-tech ecosystem for the Galilee’s diverse population. The periphery allows companies to take advantage of a greater choice of talent while creating social and professional diversity since the inhabitants of the region are a heterogeneous group of Jews, Druze, Circassians, Muslims and Christians. This diverse and unique human fabric drives innovative thinking and is the basis for bringing different approaches to creativity and out-of-the-box problem-solving approaches.
Salesforce’s corporate culture and vision is to leverage business influence to make a difference in the world; they want to achieve gender equality and diversity while giving employees a sense of pride and the opportunity to express themselves within a tolerant and inclusive company. The company strives to represent the country’s population in the organization and has three R&D sites in Israel – Tel Aviv, Petah Tikva and Nazareth, which employ people from all sectors.
These same values are what drove Salesforce to create equality groups: groups of employees who share similar life experiences or similar backgrounds to promote a common goal and/or the rights of different underrepresented populations. All active members of equality groups do so voluntarily, in addition to their official position in the company. They organize activities and workshops and collaborate with different organizations such as Tsofen which aspires to develop the high technology sector in the Arab community, KKL and other non-profit organizations.
Equality groups operate globally. In fact, in the global organization there are 12 groups and in Israel there is representation of 7 groups: Arabforce, Vetforce, Abilityforce, Earthforce, Faithforce, Outforce and SWN (Salesforce Women Network).
As Ayelet Hammer, VP HR at Incredibuild says, “Diversity, in all its forms, has an immense impact on companies and individual employees. She creates unique perspectives that allow teams to learn from each other, collaborate and grow. Incredibuild prides itself on having people from diverse backgrounds on its team. We employ religious and lay members of the Jewish, Muslim, Druze and Christian faiths. We challenge the typically male-dominated high-tech industry, with women representing 55% of the leadership of the Incredibuild team, including our CEO. All of our conference rooms are named after women leaders in technology – a constant reminder that women are, have been, and will continue to be at the forefront of innovation. We aim to inspire future generations through projects like Sophie Books, a series of books created by Incredibuild and available in Hebrew, Arabic and English to raise awareness, educate and inspire young people to get involved in entrepreneurship.”
GenCell, a leading provider of ammonia and hydrogen fuel cell energy solutions, prioritizes diversity and inclusion. One of the most important features of the Petah Tikvah headquarters and R&D center is the age range of the employees. For example, they hired a 21-year-old who joined the development team while still enrolled in college and quickly immersed himself in one of the company’s interesting projects. . On the other hand, the company is proud that one of its engineers is an 80-year-old man who worked on a Russian spacecraft in the past.
Soluto is a Tel Aviv-based company serving as the R&D and innovation center of US leader Tech-Care Asurion. As Adi Ephod, Head of Recruitment and HRBP at Soluto, said, “At Soluto, we fully accept and recognize the value of a diverse environment and adapt accordingly so that every employee can feel in the right place. 45% of our workforce are women, including 50% in senior management; we have a thriving LGBT community; we pride ourselves on hiring employees from diverse backgrounds, including those who are Orthodox, Arab, or from the periphery. We are constantly researching and finding ways to preserve our unique and diverse culture, including internal roundtables, inclusive language in our job descriptions, collaborations with communities such as LGBTech, she-codes; and more. We believe in providing a personalized experience for our employees, providing flexibility and allowing everyone to be themselves.
Vcita has a diverse corporate culture that includes a gender balance, employees from different communities (Ultra-Orthodox, LGBT, etc.), various religions and nationalities, and a wide range of ages. Nearly 50% of their employees are women, with about 40% in management positions. Nearly 40% of them also hold technical positions. Vcita works hard to maintain and improve these statistics by providing a work environment where every person, regardless of background, can thrive and excel – both personally and professionally. vcita believes that a diverse culture has a direct impact on the dynamic between employees, the level of openness and transparency, the degree of flexibility and, therefore, the degree of trust that exists between employees and their managers. Moreover, it is this diversity that encourages innovation and leads to original thinking, essential to the success of vcita.