D&I as a means to be better individuals, teams, and organizations – In conversation with Amitabh Jacob, Head of Cloud Partners and Alliances, Google Cloud

With Agilites from 4 continents working together to design solutions for global businesses, Diversity and Inclusion are non-negotiable for us. D&I was also one of the many key topics we discussed at Growth 2020, our internal conference. 

This new video series presents the best of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion panel discussion at Growth 2020 where Google Cloud leaders shared their views about the importance of diversity and inclusion.

The first episode in the video series features Amitabh Jacob, Head of Cloud Partners and Alliances at Google Cloud. The following are some excerpts from the panel discussion.

Question: How important is D&I to Google?

Amitabh: D&I just makes us better individuals, better teams, therefore better organizations or just a better human race. There has been a lot of research on D&I side. I think there’s many more coming forward.

I love data. So I kind of jumped into this a little bit. And it was pretty remarkable to see that gender diverse teams perform about 15% better than non-gender diverse ones. I think, ethnically or racially diverse teams perform about 35% better in general. Harvard did one of these studies. 

More inclusive companies have a better cash flow by about 25% as well. A greater representation of women in the workforce, particularly at the C-suite, gives a better shareholder return as well. And if you start pulling people who are typically job seekers, you find that for 67% of the job seekers, diversity is an important component when they make the decision of which company they want to work for. So if diversity is important to the company that they’re considering, 67% of them would say, “Yes, I’m interested in picking that up”.

A lot of this data points to the fact that D&I is important and no different for Google. We build products for everybody. So to do that, you’ve got to make sure that the people who are building them understand those perspectives as well. Otherwise, you won’t be able to serve the vast club of humanity that we have. So I think that’s pretty much it. It really translates to everything that we do. And that’s why I think it’s super important to Google, but even outside of Google, in all our lives. 

Question: How important is ‘Inclusion’ in Diversity and Inclusion?

Amitabh: You can have a very diverse group, which means from a diversity standpoint, you’ve got a tick mark there. But if they don’t feel included, if they don’t have the freedom to express the benefit of that different experience or background they come from, it’s really of no use because you’re not really getting the perspective that you need to get. Diversity is just a starting point, it’s not the end.

Question: What has been your experience with unconscious bias?

Amitabh: I am guilty of unconscious bias for many, many years in my life. I’ll give you one example. As I was hiring teams way back, ten or twelve years ago, there was a tendency to hire people like myself. I thought what I was doing was correct. I started hiring people who think like me, operate like me. And I realize the folly of that whole exercise because you don’t get diverse views. You don’t stretch beyond the boundaries you’re setting yourself. You don’t go to the next chapter because you are insulating yourself into a capsule, which doesn’t take you anywhere. 

Question: Any recommendations for businesses to be more inclusive?

Amitabh: I have two tips and I have to give credit to Google for doing this very, very well. One of them is education and it’s not a one-time thing. The other one is feedback. Again, Google does this really well. There is round the year feedback that you get as individuals from your peers, your reportees, and the organization in terms of whether you embrace diversity. 

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    We intentionally, deliberately, and pro-actively choose Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in all that we do. We are committed to removing all unconscious bias in our hiring process, communication, and operations.