This past week, I had the opportunity to sit down with our Talent Acquisition Director, Gibson Smith, to discuss the value of having a team of talented, smart people in the workplace and what that means to the #WomenInTech movement.
1. How does a diverse workforce benefit a company? Employees? Customers? “It creates an opportunity for opportunistic expansion and opens a lot of doors across industries, platforms, verticals, and more instead of focusing on one particular area. We always want to be able to highlight the voice of our employees; not only for the vision of the company as a solution provider and digital consultancy, but as a desired place to work. We want this to be a landing spot for individuals to come and have a voice, experience growth, and drive their careers. We are not looking for a body to fill a specific job. We are looking for a contributor who wants to make an impact.”
2. What is the importance in having a diverse workforce? “I don’t think anyone has all the answers. Therefore, I think you need a plethora of insights, opinions, and backgrounds to create a mix that is going to be successful. we value the opinions of our employees and the offerings they bring to the table. We don’t want to be closed-minded. We don’t want any preconceived notions of who can succeed and who cannot based on a resume, or bio. We find the most success when we sit down and talk about what our employees want to do and what their career goals are. Being a small company, everyone can positively impact Avionos. There are jobs and there are opportunities. We focus on the opportunities.”
3. What is the value of having a team of talented, smart people in the workplace? “Having a team of talented, smart people creates opportunity for the organization and opportunity for the individuals. Most of all, it challenges us, as executives, to be able to create a value proposition for those individuals within the organization. Smart and talented across a number of skill sets is what we are always working to create as the standard for who we hire.
“You also need to take the “X” factor into consideration – motivation and drive. You could have the smartest, most talented people in the world, but if they don’t have the motivation to succeed, they are going to struggle. Grit is an extremely important factor in our hiring process.”
4. How can businesses invest in such talent, women included? “For us at Avionos, we don’t hire into one specific job or role. What we look at is a composite of experience to this point in time that we can leverage, but we want to be able to pivot and transform based on track record to move into different technology platforms, roles, and additional responsibilities. We are constantly building and growing our hires.
“As a business, you don’t want a low ceiling or a pigeonhole. You don’t want to create a silo. In terms of gender and cultural diversity, it’s important for the market place. We are looking further downstream for those who are excited about the digital space and get them pipelined into the right opportunities to create a very successful contributor to our organization.”
5. In your opinion, are there enough efforts/programs/attention being paid to technology skills gaps and gender gaps in the workforce? “I think more needs to be done. I think we need to continue to go further downstream to introduce technologies into high schools. That should include more STEM programs, while having more advocacies for women in tech, and minorities, too. We can always do more. People just need to get involved.”
6. What is Avionos doing to support closing these gaps? “Here at Avionos, we are supporters of women in technology. Some of our most valuable leaders here at Avionos are women and I think they bring unique and valuable perspectives. We are also very active in dev. boot camps (Web development boot camps) to find hidden talent. It’s places like that where we find people who may not have necessarily had the opportunities prior, so we are active in helping find that hidden market. Even so, we need to do more as an organization. There is always more to do. No doubt.”
7. What advice can you give to girls who are considering careers in technology? “Find a mentor. Find people in your network you can talk to. Seek opportunities and seek advice. We have seen in our organization female leadership that continue to grow and shape our company. Find programs in high school, college, wherever and go seek out those who you respect and those whom you want to learn from. Never stop learning.”