Over 4,000 black millennial, entrepreneurs and techies from various locations gathered together for the most significant black tech conference in the world, AfroTech. Held in San Francisco, the event indeed celebrated the excellence and meritorious works of young, black talent within the tech industry. As the pool of professionals flooded the Palace of Fine Arts, a wave of energy and inspiration was present. It was the kind of feeling that many companies are lacking. However, Uber makes a prized effort to exhibit this presence throughout its everyday business through the use of Employee Resource Groups. These groups are dedicated to furthering inclusion and thereof, engagement. Memberships in these ERGs (employee resource groups) across the company make up nearly 7,000 members. The said impact of them provides a sense of belonging to like individuals who would otherwise not be represented and heard accordingly.
Uber’s ERG – UberHue was a direct composition of the power of diversity within the tech industry. Their booth at AfroTech was full of employees who provided actual accounts of professional growth as a result of UberHue. The group mechanism offers employees an opportunity to be empowered through internal and external conversations. Those conversations transcend the typical office protocols and progressively promote black and brown people within the organization.
Many of the UberHue members stated that superior stakeholders at Uber have taken a vast interest in their needs. Accordingly, actions have been made to improve the companies diverse solidarity amongst other tech companies. Based on testimonials given at AfroTech, there was a general consensus that efforts of Uber to enhance diversity in the workplace are no temporary feats, but long-term investments into a culturally integrated business model. They are taking away the traditional tokenism methodology of diversity that we typically see. They are working towards a day when minority ethnicities make up an integral part of the tech workforce as a whole. Hence, their strong presence at AfroTech.
Attendees at AfroTech could easily meet industry-specific recruiters. Uber‘s staff included members from across the United States who worked in various parts of the business. The networking that ensued with job seekers and current staff was informative and strategically beneficial in that it offered the true perspective of what it is like to be a black employee at Uber.
Often times, black or minority candidates attend job fairs where they are isolated amongst a sea of job seekers that don’t look like them. One can’t help but explore the undeniable inquiry of what diversity looks like at a “said company” in this setting. The doubts emerge.
Will I be the token black person? Will they hear my concerns? What will upward mobility or promotion look like? How can I be my authentic self without repercussions?
These notions are precisely the reason why Uber is on the mission to diversify the industry through their ERGs. Uber‘s approach to recruiting top talent through UberHue takes merely the uncertainty of the organization’s interest in diversity out of the equation. Seeing people that look like you and can share experiences with you is essential in the conquest to be your best self in a work environment. It elicits energy that works twofold in that it increases collaboration efforts and creativity. Therefore, work productivity is at the level it needs to be at to thrive sustainably.
Having member’s of UberHue at Afrotech was the closest display of true workplace dynamics for black and brown techies within Uber making it easier for one to aspire to be a part of this movement. This delightful introduction to diversity is a for sure gamechanger in the tech industry as it transcends the usual diversity rhetoric and dialogue. One can only begin to imagine the long-term effects of this torch-bearing company. It seems like their truly invested in a diverse future.