TeamUP – Diversity in Recruitment Challenge - September 2019
As recruitment season rolled around at The Data Experience (TDx), a lack in diversity of job applicants was becoming more apparent. Although TDx wanted to hire a diverse range of people - there wasn’t a sufficient number of applicants. TDx’s problem became an opportunity to explore, and as our Challenge Sponsor, they became an invaluable source of customer information during the project. Two CIC interns spent the next four weeks probing the minds of a Brains Trust – a diverse range of people from TDx and the technology field using Amazon’s Digital Innovation methodology. Through this, we decided rebranding and reshaping what it means to work in the technology industry is a topic we should target and ‘TeamUp’ was created. TeamUp is an interactive augmented reality prototype that allows job applicants a new way of exploring people in a business, with the context of what diverse skills the applicant can bring to the table.
To understand the problem, we took time to explore scientific papers exploring diversity in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM), as well as newspaper articles, opinion pieces and websites. We concluded that there are many identified problems, but not an overall solution.
Diversity is still a huge issue across not just the technology industry, but the Australian workforce in general. For instance, 70% of Australian technology roles are filled by males, contributed by gender pay differences and lack of females in the industry who are in a position for others to look up to them. After conducting further customer interviews, we broadened out the problem statement to be around what we termed ‘diversity of minds’ – co-workers with different educational background, experiences and ways of thinking. This was shown as crucial to having a sustainable working business, as well as having a team that is intellectually stimulated by their co-workers.
At the Innovation Workshop, our Brains Trust were encouraged to think about how they came to work in the technology industry, discuss ideas about what makes this career attractive and what could have been done better to encourage them to pursue that path. It was identified that the term STEM was quite off putting for those who did not study a technical field. This was the idea that became the basis of TeamUP. Our overarching question for TeamUP is ‘How might we change the perception of the technology field for those with a non-technical background, thereby increasing the potential pool of job applicants?’. Targeting this question, we conducted a “Crazy 8’s” session, a discussion and reflection within the Challenge team.
We decided to use Augmented Reality to showcase the diversity of the TDx business as this would enable an applicant to truly envision how their existing skills could apply to working for TDx, as well as provide the opportunity to talk to those in the field in an interactive experience, all contained in their channel of choice - smartphones.
TeamUP provides a way for businesses to reach out to new, young jobs candidates in an appealing and applicant focused manner. The prototype celebrates an existing team’s diversity of minds and shows new potential job applicants how their skills will be valued and used. Removing technical jargon and terms and instead focusing on problem solving is at the core of the experience - giving someone from any background or ethos access to a field they may not have even thought of before.
The prototype is beneficial to both the TDx business and the applicant. Through the Augmented Reality experience of TeamUP, a business applies a method of reaching out and communicating with people who may not have otherwise been interested in a position at a technology-centred company, and a candidate gets to experience a business in a self-directed, interactive way that puts value on their skills and interests.
TeamUP’s prototype was the first step to forming an interactive experience that would be able to show job applicants that they have the potential to excel inside a technology-based company. TeamUP uses the diverse stories of current employees to explore how they have used their backgrounds and mindsets to ‘solve data problems’. This gives the user the opportunity to choose the skills they feel they possess or are interested in and allows the user to feel as if their skills are both valued and needed in this job market.
Jacquline Bondell, Education and Public Outreach Coordinator at OzGrav and an expert in the similar realm of Virtual Reality, strongly believes that “people come for the new experience, not the topic.” Getting people in the door and learning about the company is the first step to educating them about the business, and AR provides that novelty.
TeamUP aims to address a massive problem in the technology industry; the issue of diversity. By partnering with TDx, we were able to explore real issues people have faced while entering the field. Using Amazon’s methodology, we were able to research and create a working prototype that will help show people from many different backgrounds how their skills and interests could be used to solve problems in the field of technology.
- Joel Booker, Challenge Intern and Junior Consultant, The Data Experience.
- Khalia Chikulin, Challenge Intern and Junior Consultant, The Data Experience.
- Kim Anderson, Challenge Lead and Digital Innovation Lead, Amazon Web Services.
- Sarah Bahri, Lead Consultant, The Data Experience.
- Michele Martin, Co-founder and Lead Consultant, The Data Experience.
- William Davey, Co-Founder and Lead Consultant, The Data Experience.
- Philipa Wheaton, Junior Consultant, The Data Experience, Bachelor of Design (UX Interaction Design)/ Bachelor of Business (Entrepreneurship & Innovation).
- Marea Santino, Junior Consultant, The Data Experience, Bachelor of Computer Science (Data Science and Software Design).
- Myles Gaerlan, Junior Consultant, The Data Experience, Diploma of Software Development.
- Chris Dilger, Junior Consultant, The Data Experience, Bachelor of Computer Science (Data Science).
- Jacqueline Bondell, Education and Public Outreach Coordinator, OzGrav.