‘I never am really satisfied that I understand anything; because, understand it well as I may, my comprehension can only be an infinitesimal fraction of all I want to understand’ – Ada Lovelace
Did you know that the ‘ada’ in Altada is an ode to Ada Lovelace, the Countess of Computing?
Born in 1815, Lovelace was an English mathematician primarily known for her work on Charles Babbage‘s proposed mechanical general-purpose computer, the Analytical Engine. However, she was the first to recognise that the machine had applications beyond pure calculation and published what is believed to be the first algorithm.
Ada was paralyzed as a child after a bout of the measles, and was bed-ridden for a year, while she also experienced severe headaches that obscured her vision, and at times physical ability. And yet, she has gone down in history – and in Altada’s name – for all she has done in instigating a world where we can make AI possible for all.
Lovelace – in the midst of her disability – understood the importance of solving problems, resilience, and the reality that learning is a continuous cycle. Which is why, at Altada, we acknowledge that diversity is a never-ending journey. We may never comprehend it in all its glory, complexity, and colours, and we don’t claim to either. But what we do have is the awareness to understand the importance of this journey, and walk the walk every step of the way, shoulder to shoulder, with our employees, our customers, and our partners.
At Altada, diversity is one of our values, and we encourage everyone to celebrate their differences, and we live this value daily through individual behaviours to ensure we put a lens of diversity and inclusion on everything we do in #TeamAlt.
We start at the beginning of the employee lifecycle by incorporating information about reasonable accommodation requests in our job descriptions, our interview and hiring processes. We know that 70% of disabilities are invisible, and we want to create a space where everyone can bring their best selves to work. But, we understand that the onus is on us as an organisation to create an environment whereby employees are comfortable to disclose and request the relevant accommodations so that we can excel together in Altada.
We also recognise and celebrate the creativity and innovativeness of our neurodivergent talent, and all the benefits they bring to our organisation, which is why we are on a journey to raise awareness of neurodiversity in the workplace by removing any potential ‘friction points’ in the hiring and onboarding process to support #TeamAlt to achieve their potential.
For example, we share our HR induction decks in advance of a new hire’s start date to give individuals time to digest the content at their own pace, and to help alleviate any extra anxiety they may be feeling on their first day. While we have also embedded alternative text in our slidedecks to support any new hires who use assistive technology or visual screen readers.
As we extend our global footprint, we want to make sure our actions extend into our hybrid working model and that the same lens is applied to Altada’s office buildings. We want our co-working facilities partners to ensure their offices are accessible, as well as provide ‘quiet spaces’ for those who may suffer from sensory overload and provide an environment in which they can thrive.
Disability transcends every background, ethnicity, gender, sexuality and religion, and at Altada we want to ensure that we can cater for the needs of our existing talent, as well as future-proof ourselves by being in the best position to attract the next generation of talent who are much more comfortable disclosing their true selves.
Our diversity programme to-date has covered Disability Awareness Training, Unconscious Bias Training, the incorporation of pronouns into email and social media profiles to ensure we are allies to our LGBTQ+ employees, partners and customers, as well as looking at a Gender Recognition Policy, and parenting, fertility and surrogacy policies.
We are also cognizant of the fact that we must do better to understand intersectionality and acknowledge that everyone has their own unique experiences of discrimination and oppression, across a diverse range or characteristics – gender, race, class, sexual orientation, physical ability, etc.
Our co-founder, Niamh Parker, is female and was recently shortlisted as a finalist in the Matheson WMB Female Entrepreneur Award Category, and who very much is a role model internally for the 32% of employees who identify as female. As it stands, 29% of our leadership team are female, and we are working hard on getting more female seats at the table through a variety of internal mentoring programmes and the creation of Shadow Board comprised of employees from different backgrounds, genders, age, religion, and sexual orientation, who will engage and advise Altada’s Board of Management on a variety of topics including innovation, patent creation, emerging technologies and markets, and much more.
We are conscious too that we have a multigenerational culture in #TeamAlt, and presently we stand at Gen Z (29%), Millennial (51%), Gen X (20%), and Baby Boomers II (1%), with employees living in 10+ countries, and speaking multiple languages.
We don’t claim to know everything about diversity and inclusion. We don’t claim to have all the answers. And, we don’t claim to have got it right. But, in the spirit of Ada Lovelace, we won’t ever be satisfied without learning more, and doing everything we can to create an inclusive culture in #TeamAlt.
People and Culture Manager, Altada Technology Solutions
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