Purnima Sen on: how to walk the talk on DEI

Purnima Sen on: How to walk the talk on your DEI goals

  • 40 minutes
  • Diversity and Inclusion, Talent Acquisition
  • Ep 32

Everyone can agree on a conceptual level that diversity and inclusion is important, but finding the why for your organisation is key if you’re going to enact lasting change.

On this episode of How We Hire, we speak to Purnima Sen ,Sparta’s Globe Chief People and Compliance Officer. Purnima shares her learnings on what it takes to truly commit to your DEI goals, and hire people for today’s contemporary times. 

Key takeaways

  • - Why focusing only on culture fit might not be the best approach
  • - How to strike the balance between culture add-on and culture fit
  • - What inclusion with a purpose means in modern recruitment
  • -Tips and tricks on identifying gaps in your hiring process and closing it


On the show

Purnima Sen
Purnima Sen Chief People and Compliance Officer, Sparta Globe
Linnea Bywall
Linnea Bywall Head of People & Operations at Alva Labs

Purnima Sen

Purnima Sen is a the Chief People and Compliance Officer at Sparta Global Limited. With over 20 years of experience, she's known for helping businesses grow faster. Named one of the UK's top 50 aspiring tech women, she's a big voice in promoting fairness and inclusion at work. Purnima believes in inclusion with a purpose .and is known for her can-do-attitude and exceptional communication skills, making her a cherished thought leader in the HR space. 

Linnea Bywall

Linnea Bywall is a former NCAA athlete turned licensed psychologist – and Head of People at Alva Labs. Linnea was recently listed as one of the most inspiring women in tech by TechRound and was featured as one of the 22 Innovative HR Leaders to follow in 2022 by AIHR Academy to Innovate HR. 

From attracting and hiring to onboarding and growing Alva's employees, Linnea's main mission is to change the world of hiring every day by challenging biases in recruitment.


Show notes 

Top changes in hiring companies are undertaking today compared to a decade ago-7:13
Why focusing only on culture fit might not be the best approach-11:51
How to strike the balance between culture-add on and culture fit-13:49
How to differentiate between genuine culture fit and unintentional bias during the hiring process-17:47
Defining the concept of hiring into your digital skills gap-20:52
Tips on how to pivot your hiring strategy on what you lack so you can cultivate a more diverse workforce-25:49
Diversity at any cost- is that a strategy that more organisations should actually use?-28:43
The significance of inclusion with a purpose in modern recruitment-what it is and how to adopt it- 31:04
Sparta’s recruitment process and how they tackle DEI-35:31
Single most important change companies can enact when tackling their diversity goals-37:52

How We Hire Podcast Episode 32 Transcript

Purnima (00:00):

When we looked at Sparta Global when it was originally founded, I think very soon we realized that the traditional talent attraction is excluding, and you know this from your business as well. It excludes much of UK's highest potential business and technology talent because everybody's focusing on that two one, they're focusing on the degree. What university did you come from? People are hiring people like themselves. And so what we've tried to do with the model was innovate this hire, train, deploy approach was to solve that problem. But also I do believe that the future of tech talent must be reflective of society today. So it needs to be innovative, it needs to be creative, but it needs to be inclusive. And that is why when you say why is that the most important thing? But for me, I'm most passionate about the EDNI aspect because of the fact that we are passionate about bringing people from diverse communities, irrespective of their background leveling that playing field, giving them an equal opportunity to work in tech and digital no matter what their background. And so for me, ed and I, it's not about ticking a box. It's not about giving lip service. It's absolutely in completely beyond tokenism. It's about actually doing the right thing, putting that purpose way ahead of everything else.

Linnea (01:25):

Welcome to How We Hire a podcast by Alva Labs with me, Linea licensed psychologist and head of people. This show is for all of you who hire or just find recruitment interesting. In every episode, I will speak with thought leaders from across the globe to learn from their experiences and best practices within hiring, building teams and growing organizations.

Speaker 3 (01:52):


Linnea (01:52):

Guest on today's episode is Pima Sten. Pima is the sheep people and compliance officer at Sparta Global Limited. With over 20 years of experience, she's known for helping businesses grow faster. Named one of the UK's top 50 I aspiring tech women. She's a big voice in promoting fairness and inclusion at work. Pima believes in inclusion with a purpose and is known for her. Can-do attitude? The latter, along with her exceptional communication skills make her a cherished thought leader in the HR space. Welcome to How we Hire Pima.

Purnima (02:24):

Thank you very muchly. And that is a very kind introduction I must say. Thank you very much.

Linnea (02:30):

We got to set the scene here with who we have in the room. For the people that don't know you, would you mind just chief people and Compliance Officer Sparta Global? Can you tell us a little bit about your role and the company that you work for today?

Purnima (02:43):

Certainly, first of all, a big thank you for having me on your podcast. I am Pima Sen, as you said, chief people and compliance Officer. Really I think if we break that up into, I always break it up into two, two, but today I think I'm going to break it up into three chief people officer, very much about the human capital. The company is all about its people. We are a people business and for us, people come first and that involves everything to do with the human capital and human resources. From a compliance perspective, I'm really ensuring that the company is keeping up with its quality standards, the ISO standards. I'm also looking at legal contract side of things. But then now with the new ESG and corporate social responsibility coming in, that becomes really a part of compliance because for me that is not just risk management anymore, but it is about value creation.


So compliance a big thing, but I think my favorite hat that I wear within the company is as director of ed. And I really focused on that Ed and I piece. And to give you an idea of what Sparta Global does and why that becomes so important is Sparta Global is a HTD provider. So we call a very niche model called a higher trained deploy model. So as it says, we are hiring a diverse group of individuals, a diverse talent that could be graduates, nongraduates, returning to work, mothers gender diversity, ethnic heritage, diversity, neurodiversity. So really all those things we're hiring them in. We are then training them in tech and in digital. And then we are deploying them as it says, hire, train, deploy with our clients for two years at the end of which the client takes them on permanently. So this is a really good way of clients growing their diverse talent workforce right from the bottom and really planning that future workforce and also ensuring that while they do that, they're meeting their ED and I targets their ED and I strategies. So it was basically founded to promote and provide equitable access to technology careers whilst helping organizations to grow their talent pipelines, but doing it sustainably and responsibly. So we are very proud where the only B corp HTD provider, we are the top 20 employer of social mobility winner of the Princess Royal Training Awards. I could go on, but extremely proud of what I do. Extremely proud of what we do at Sparta Global and really thrilled to be working here.

Linnea (05:03):

Yeah, wow. How come the third aspect of your role is your favorite? Why does it make your heart beat a little faster?

Purnima (05:12):

When we looked at Sparta Global when it was originally founded, I think very soon we realized that the traditional talent attraction is excluding, and you know this from your business as well, it excludes much of you UK highest potential business and technology talent because everybody's focusing on that two one, they're focusing on the degree. What university did you come from? People are hiring people like themselves. And so what we've tried to do with the model was innovate this hire, train, deploy approach was to solve that problem. But also I do believe that the future of tech talent must be reflective of society today. So it needs to be innovative, it needs to be creative, but it needs to be inclusive. And that is why when you say why is that the most important thing? But for me, I'm most passionate about the EDNI aspect because of the fact that we're passionate about bringing people from diverse communities irrespective of their background leveling that playing field, giving them an equal opportunity to work in tech and digital no matter what their background. And so for me, ed and I, it's not about ticking a box, it's not about giving lip service Absolutely and completely beyond tokenism. It's about actually doing the right thing, putting that purpose way ahead of everything else.

Linnea (06:31):

Yeah, for sure. And I mean when you describe it, it's also, it's more than just as you say, tick the boxes for an organization. It's about what type of society we want to create. Who do we want to be able to impact that society moving forward? So it's important on so many levels and it impacts or has the potential to impact so many levels. One thing I find fascinating here, Pima, is that I mean you've witnessed firsthand the shift of recruitment over the years. So in your view, what are some of the more significant changes that we see companies doing, how they're approaching hiring today compared to say like a decade ago?

Purnima (07:13):

A very good example now is for example, Santander. They've dropped that whole piece where they want only first class students, only students with two one degrees. And I think a lot of companies are now doing that. They're realizing very quickly that their traditional recruitment methods have realized that when you look around, you have got exactly people like yourselves. You've got a whole room of white males and that there is no problem with that, but there is no diversity of thought. If you have, that's what you have around the table, that's what you have in your company. So companies have proactively realized that this is not sustainable. We need to bring a more diverse group of people into the business and to do that, we need to change the way we hire. We need to change, for example, how we use our job descriptions. Let's change the words that are some words that work for women that are some words that don't.


Women will self remove themselves from an application if they see certain words like powerful or go-getter though they're all of those things they remove themselves. So I think the companies, to answer your question, they've changed quite a few things. I think the way they write their job descriptions have changed the way they hire themselves have changed the way they use maybe psychometric tests and do much more, many more things that remove that unconscious bias. And that's the big thing that has changed. But some companies say they've changed it. Some companies say they don't have that unconscious bias, but I don't know if they have actually gone into detailed study and analysis and said, actually I think that we were not having unconscious bias, but the truth is we are and we need to change. So some companies absolutely ahead of the curve changing it. Some companies making small changes and some companies in the perception and in this dream world where they think they've changed it, but they've actually not changed anything

Linnea (09:09):

On that point. I think the change is fantastic, but it's too slow. And I always found it fascinating the gap in recruitment between theory and practice. I mean in the world assessments, we've often talked about meta-analysis being conducted in, I think there's one big one from 1989 and people say, oh, it's so old. How can we trust it when it's so old? But you still haven't done the change. So even though new ones aren't being produced, same outcome, but they're still not closing that gap. So I mean I agree that there is a lot of positive change, but it would be great if that movement was a pastor.

Purnima (09:50):

Exactly. And to add to what you've just said, I think people, and we do that at Smarter Global, we really focus on attitude, aptitude and potential and I think people need to focus on that. Does this person have the right attitude? Do they have the right aptitude because they might not have the right aptitude for a technology business and that's fine as well. And potential, where can we take them? I don't know if you've noticed Alinea, there's a huge shift now into trying and hiring, returning to work mothers, women returners. We are doing a big thing in that, but that's because suddenly people are not looking at the CV and going, oh, 10 year gap, what have they been doing? I don't want to hire them. Everybody's thinking differently or everybody should think differently and it should be about actually what does this person bring to my business?


They bring an experience of bringing up children, they bring an experience of definitely multitasking. How can I work on a laptop while giving my children something to do? They're definitely creative because they're having to find creative ways to entertain their children and they're efficient and they are organized, they're all these things. They bring so much to the table X forces, they bring an amazing amount of organization to the table. So instead of looking at the CB and saying, oh, they have no experience in this sector. They come from the forces, well guess what? They bring so much more to the table. So to your point, the change is slow, but there is many different ways of not focusing on the cv. And I think you say it all the time, it is you're so much more than your CV hire people don't hire cvs. You see that everywhere. I wonder if people are actually doing it in practice.

Linnea (11:30):

Yeah, for sure. Another thing that I find interesting in this discussion is this, with culture fit, a lot of companies will prioritize hiring for culture fit. We need someone that fits us and we're so unique. Why is it that you believe that this approach might not be the best for today's recruitment landscape?

Purnima (11:51):

A lot of people talk about, and this is quite common, I'm not saying anything new, but people talk about, oh, it should be about culture and not culture fit. I'm going to to be controversial. I'm going to say it's about both. Because when I talk about aptitude or potential, you also need to hire somebody who you know will be happy in that environment and that is also important. You need a culture add for sure, but you also need somebody who doesn't come in straight away and feel this is not the place for me to work. We need to set people up for success. And that could be two different things. It could be really talking them through the company or through the culture or through the values of the company, really understanding from them what they can bring to this. But also second most important, and this is where the difference between diversity and inclusion is diversity is hiring a diverse group of people access to the business.


Absolutely. But inclusion is belonging if you do not create that place, so you can bring in all kinds of people and say, oh, this is not culture fit, this is culture add. But if you're not creating that environment of inclusivity, you are going to have going to have zero retention. These people are going to leave. So it needs to work a little bit in both ways, but internally as well, we bring in culture add, but when we look at our culture, we also need to adjust that to make sure that when we are bringing in culture add, the person is completely not lost because we've actually got a very specific culture that we're expecting them to mold into to become chameleons. People are not chameleons. People need to be themselves, they need to be, I dunno, lizards,

Linnea (13:36):

We all could use the lizards every now and then. I mean I think that's interesting with you need both the culture ad and the culture fit. How does an organization strike a balance like in your recruitment process, how does one go about catering to both?

Purnima (13:49):

Yes. I think very good question actually. And I always say if you can't change the direction of the wind, you change the direction of the sail and that's exactly what we need to do. We need to make sure that internally you are actually creating that sense of value amongst everybody. You have buy-in from people internally to say, this is how we're going to work to bring in different people to bring in a diversity. And I know people have ERGs, employee resource groups, and there is a good place for somebody to go to if they're a particular type. I'll give you an example. We are really working on neurodiversity, bringing neurodiverse skills into tech. Now I call it culture, but it's culture of a different type. They need different things and I hate the word reasonable adjustments because I think all adjustments are reasonable. So if you have to interview them slightly differently, if you have to give them the questions beforehand, if they don't like to switch on their video and they want to do an interview without switching on their video, that should be fine as well.


We to make these adjustments to make the space that we are bringing people into the right space for culture add and for culture fit. And this is where we start by not changing ourselves but adapting ourselves, making that change internally before we bring these people. You have to support and train and nurture talent and diversity will foster growth and performance, but you cannot have that diversity if you don't make them feel inclusion. So tackling inequality in skills, empowering this next generation of leaders, advancing your own ED and I target all of this, that you have this mission, we have this mission to democratize. Digital will only come from really bringing that culture, adjusting the culture of the company to allow these people to flourish when they come in.

Linnea (15:40):

On that note, can I try and I hypothesis on you here in my mind it's also really, really important to be very transparent with what it's like to work here. For me that would be culture fit, not the organization. Letting the candidate prove themselves to be valuable to the organization and to therefore be a fit, but more of the organization showing who they are so that the candidate can decide for themselves if they believe that they're a fit or not. What's your thoughts?

Purnima (16:09):

You have absolutely hit the nail on the head, and this is in the long-winded way that I was explaining the previous answer was exactly that We all have a culture in the organization and we have to understand that. And for me you create that culture of we have values within Sparta Global. We want to live by our values. Our values say that we are collaborative, we're flexible, we must be innovative, we must be inclusive, we have diversity, we have drive, and we want to stick by those values. And so yes, you are absolutely right. I want to bring in people who feel the same values as me, that is a culture fit, not their ethnic background or their gender background. That's not culture fit. This is the right one because do you feel the same values? And then if you don't, then possibly this is not the right place for you because if your values are not the same, if you're inflexible, you're completely uncollaborative, empathy is the biggest values and you feel well I have no empathy, well that's then not the right space for you. As against I always turn it around into you are not right for us, but this is not the right environment for you. This is not the right space for you. This is not where you will flourish because you think slightly differently

Linnea (17:21):

And it's an empathetic way to view it. It's not you jumping through hoops to dle us and impress us. It's about finding that matching. I guess on that note to some extent, how can you differentiate between genuine culture fit and unintentional bias during the hiring process because well, I didn't look like you or you didn't look like me and therefore it's not a cultural fit. How does one solve that?

Purnima (17:47):

In my opinion, we got to start using AI a lot more. And then there's that also that question. Is AI empowering underrepresented voices or is it silencing them? That's also another question, but I think if we take away quite a lot of that work from individuals from whether you like it or not, whether I like it or not, there is an unconscious bias. I start having a conversation with you, I start interviewing you. I love skiing. You talk about skiing straight away in my mind, oh my gosh, we have so much in common

Linnea (18:20):

And we're friends now.

Purnima (18:22):

We're friends now. So it doesn't matter, even if you're doing the most simple thing of just finding out what are your hobbies, what do you like to do in your spare time, what book are you reading at the moment? I ask that question all the time, what book are you reading at the moment? And if they're reading the same book as me, am I going to go, oh, that's perfect. They're exactly like me, I like them already. So I think we need to take away quite a lot of that. Initially I do believe we have taken away photos, for example, from our cvs, we have requested to take away things like he she, so not using pronouns. So it's really difficult to tell who the person is. We want to go a step further. We want to also take away educational background because again, that tells you which university you went to.


So it's not about naming the institution, but it's just saying what did you do in your background? It's much more about your experience through your education. That is what is important, not where you got that education. Your experience through your education could be you were leading the treasury or the student's union that says so much more about you because it shows your skills. And then I think really working on how many people are into doing is it one person deciding? But for me, those tests and people have a problem sometimes with psychometric tests and it's not just psychometric tests, it's just not personality tests, it's just having something that is completely not biased and looking at people through an absolute clear glass and saying, this person for this role actually is right. It's the person and the role really not the educational background that fits in it or their social economic background that fits in it. And if that works and I think then we take it to that final stage of interviews because by now that actually these are the right people. The shortlist looks like they're all the right people. They can all do the role, they all fit in beautifully. They would all love to work here, they would all thrive here. Now it's a question of having a conversation

Linnea (20:25):

And it sounds like measuring what matters, like sticking to what's actually important for the role, setting aside the book or the skiing or the Institute of education you went to, it's about sticking to what's actually relevant here. If we dive even deeper into recruitment strategies, can you help me here define the concept of hiring into your gap? I think that's a fascinating topic.

Purnima (20:52):

Yes, the digital skills gap is something that everybody has been talking about for years and we have been talking about it a lot and we were really focused on closing that digital skills gap. But also I think that when we wanted to do that, we wanted to do so sustainably as I said, but we also wanted to make sure that we were doing it for everybody. We were really bringing people that could have the potential, the attitude, the aptitude to work in digital, to work in tech no matter what their background. And it's very complex, isn't it? Identity can be very multilayered. For example, with each layer being a complex based on the intersectionality, I could be a woman but from an ethnic black background, but I could also have a neurodiverse condition. And so I'm suddenly now the intersectionality of it. I think everybody has something amazing to add in the tech and the digital space.


Everybody does. If we're creating products for the world as a whole and everybody to use, how can we then allow only a certain group of people to be part of creating that product? Because if the product is going to be used by a woman, a woman from a minority black heritage or from somebody who is also has a DHD, then we need to create that product that appeals to that person as well. So closing the digital skills gap is one thing, but really not only using that opportunity to bring in that diverse emerging technology talent becomes incredibly important. And for me, we do two or three different things and I think that becomes really important. Grassroot level, working, closing that skills gap as you call it. All companies must work at the grassroot levels, working with workshops in schools, bringing more girls into tech, showing them what it can be.


I saw something very interesting recently where what is the common thing between football and tech? And apparently it is that girls lose interest very quickly because we don't tell them what they can achieve in it. And I think that skills gap, and again, I'm not just talking about genders, but I'm talking about really bringing together passionate people, tech-driven approach to innovation, deep commitment to your clients helping to unlock that value of technology, the power of democratizing digital and bringing in those people into the tech space who suddenly realized that actually I love the space and for me that purpose goes beyond profit and that is really important. You need to have a purpose as a company to say, we really want to democratize digital. We want to make sure that there is an opportunity for everybody to come into digital, and that's the only way we will not just close the digital skills gap, but close it authentically, genuinely and with purpose.

Linnea (23:57):

And it's almost, I always get this saying wrong, but it's almost two birds, one stone. Ah, I got it right. Whereas it's both about giving the opportunities to a more wider audience, but it's also about solving the lack of talent because if we open up the space to different types of talents, we will no longer have that shortage of talent that everyone is struggling with. So it's an interesting dynamic how it can tap into both these aspects and solve huge problems.

Purnima (24:30):

Yes, absolutely. Ly, you work with talent all the time. This generation of people, I'm now talking about just the young people coming into the workplace. They have a very different idea. They have a very different way they want to work. And I talk about this all the time, but I talk about the Maslow's hierarchy of needs and it's changed for the youngsters these days. At the bottom is your compensation and your benefits. In the middle is your wellbeing and health, but the top is purpose. They want to work for companies that have a purpose and that's why by doing good, all you're doing is attracting really good talent. Because talent, good talent wants to work for good companies. They want to work for companies that have a purpose and then do good, and companies want to work with companies that do good. So all of a sudden you've got that whole big chain happening where if everybody has a purpose and says, well, I'm going to do the right thing for attracting talent, for bringing people into my space, into my company, and giving them that opportunity, you just pay it forward. It just works well.

Linnea (25:34):

Yeah, it feels like we're solving world problems here,

Purnima (25:37):

You and me. Absolutely.

Linnea (25:38):

How can companies pivot their hiring strategies so that they can focus on what are they lacking and in turn, cultivate a more diverse workforce?

Purnima (25:49):

I think I probably stated the obvious linear by saying, really look at your hiring practices. Do not have a perception of them that they are working or they're okay. And that comes from data, that comes from data analysis. Look at your entry level people. What are you attracting most? Suddenly you'll find, oh yes, actually we're only attracting male or we are only attracting a certain ethnic background. Look at your middle management. Who are the people who are getting promoted? Who are the people who are actually getting great performance reviews? Again, you'll see a trend. Really look at yourselves, look at your board, look at your senior management. Once you've got all that data, you will have sort of, I call it diagnostics, you can call it needs analysis or you can call it triage. You've then triaged yourself to say, okay, well here are the problems.


You look at your problems, think about how you can change that. I am attracting only male. Okay, does my job description, does my advertisement on the job board, can I look at that? What is the process I'm going through to hire? What sort of psychometric tests am I using? If I'm using a coding game, if I'm using a coding test, is that putting off some females? If I'm using a coding game, is that attracting more male colleagues because they love that, but the females don't. Who do I have on the interview panel? How have I described the role? Everything needs to be looked at, and then you change what you think needs to be changed, make small changes so you know what's working. And at the end of it, analyze again, analyze again, and say, yes, that's worked. This has really worked. Using these tests has worked better than using these tests. I'm going to start using these. This is helping me really bring in a diverse workforce. This is bringing me, helping me bring in a diversity of thought. That's what I'm going to do. And sometimes it's easy to say, we don't have time, we really don't have time. Sometimes make sure you've got somebody in your company who's constantly looking at that, make them responsible for it and it'll

Linnea (27:56):

Change. I think that's surgical precision with the use of data is such an important aspect. One thing that I find difficult to almost discuss is that I think most people will agree that diversity is great, inclusion is great. Let's aim for that. Then the reality, again, the gap between theory and practice, but is it diversity at any cost where quotation, is that a strategy that more organizations should actually use, or is it more of like, let's make sure that our processes are good enough so that we open up the opportunities? How far should we go here? I don't know. Can you wrap your head around this?

Purnima (28:43):

I think that, and again, this is from experience of what we've been seeing. Yes, everybody says, oh, the key to unlocking tech innovation is hiring a diverse talent today, but you are exactly right. How does that work and what is the actual ways of doing this? I think quotas are something that people could give lip service to because you can say, well, I have a quota, I've got to hire into that quota. But I think having targets is not a bad thing because if you have a target, then you are forced to look at your hiring practices and change them slightly. At the end of the day, everybody wants the best person for the job, and that is fine as well. There is no harm in saying, I want the best person for the job. I have a target. How do I make both of those things work?


You will absolutely find the best person for the job and you will be able to meet your target if you change the way you hire, if you change your hiring practices and you change your processes. So what comes first? In my mind, I think it is about setting those targets across the company and saying, we really need you to have a diversity of thought within this area, and this is the target that you have. You need to re-look at how you're hiring, and that will force people to actually have a look at their hiring practices, their processes. I feel that it'll all come with that. I think it's about knowledge and it's about wisdom, isn't it? Knowledge is, there's a very famous saying, I might get this wrong but I'm going to try. Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit, tomato, tomato. But wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad. So it is about knowledge and wisdom, two different things and having the knowledge that actually I need to do something about it. Having the wisdom to actually doing it right. Really important.

Linnea (30:37):

I love that. And let's not put tomatoes in a fruit salad. I think you make it sound so easy and simple, but it really is about getting everyone on board and understanding what is it, what is it not? So that we're fighting for the same cost. And I think another super interesting concept that you champion is inclusion with a purpose. Can you shed some light on this and its significance in modern recruitment?

Purnima (31:04):

I think that, again, as I said earlier, I think purpose comes purpose beyond profit. For us, that is really, really important and that is what drives us forward in Sparta Global because we don't just want to close the digital skills gap through the provision of say, quality and diverse emerging technology talent, but we want to add social value. And here is where I talk about inclusion with purpose because I think that companies must focus on social value and what is that social value? I think supporting nurturing talent, tackling inequality in three areas really in literacy, in skills, in employment, so you are training them, you're upskilling them, and you're employing them in all of those things. That is the true mission that one has to really focus on. And if you can have partners that you work with, and that might be suppliers, that might be clients have that same purpose, it works really well.


So it is inclusion, not just diversity and not just inclusion for the sake of, again, meeting your quotas or meeting your targets, but with a purpose to bring in that diverse talent, upskill them, grow them, give them opportunity to grow within the business. And suddenly you will not have to consciously look at your quota and say, oh, my target is that the middle managers 50% need to be female. You'll find that that's happening because you've actually nurtured that talent. You've given them that upskilling, that training, that helping them out. That's where you're bringing them. There's a topic that these days, which is talked about quite a lot, which is menopause and why has it become such an important topic? Because all of a sudden people are finding that their senior 50 plus women, senior managers, are suddenly facing a big health issue and let's address that health issue because otherwise you'll start to lose that talent.


Let's support them, let's help them, let's help them be healthy during that time and let's support them through that process. Because by doing that, guess what? All of a sudden you are meeting your target and your quota of senior managers who are of a certain gender. So there are little things that we all need to do to not just bring that talent in. That's the first point of call, but there is a lot to do to keep going, to make sure, and then government has targets on, if you're a listed company, how many women you need to have on the board. You know what? That will happen organically while what's happening right now is people are hiring in female senior leaders, senior managers, they're hiring them in because they're realize, oh my gosh, we haven't been able to promote all these wonderful women, so we'll just hire somebody in. But you don't need to. You nurture your talent internally and organically. Suddenly you'll find you don't have to worry about those things. It's happening.

Linnea (34:01):

You know what I love about that? I think it's that you need to find your why. Again, everyone can agree on a conceptual level that diversity and inclusion is important, but finding the why for your specific company or for you personally is going to make both the work itself much more enjoyable, much more important, much easier and just more aligned. I think something that I will take with me is defining why is this important for us to make sure that we actually stick to it and it's not just a tick in the box.

Purnima (34:35):

Exactly. And I think if I can just add to that one more point, it's as that happens and as you have more senior managers, leaders, as you have a diversity on your board, there are other people within the company who will automatically think, well, this is possible. Very famous saying again, you can't be what you can't see if they can see a woman of color, female woman of color, mother of three that's had three children, mother of three is on the board. There are some entry level amazing women who think or returning to work, mothers who think, but this is possible. It's possible in this company. It's possible in Sparta Global and suddenly role models, having those role models to show people that we're not just talking about it. We have this within our company, and it's possible for you. It's absolutely possible.

Linnea (35:23):

Yeah, representation matters. What are you most proud about when it comes to the recruitment process at Sparta?

Purnima (35:31):

I think we feel, and I use this word often, I'm not passionate about what do at Sparta. I'm obsessed and I think it makes me so very proud to be part of that company that is got a mission. It's got a mission to not just transform the lives of young people, to transform the lives of women returners, to transform the lives of people who did not otherwise think they had an opportunity in tech, we have career changes. We've got a couple of people who used to be Uber drivers. There was a fisherman who came and decided to train and then go into tech. And I just feel, and it absolutely raises the hair on the back of my head, and I'll tell you a really good story. I was in the tube the other day and somebody knocked me on my shoulder and he said, oh, I'm a Spartan.


Do you remember me? We have a thousand Spartans. So I felt really bad and I said, oh no, just remind me. And he had come to us and is a young trainee with a background from a third year university in history and really wanted to get into tech everywhere. He got the same answer, you don't have computer engineering degree, you don't have any experience. And he's gone through our training process, worked for us for two years, worked for a government agency. A part of that final project was with one of the big five consultancies and they've taken him on permanently and he said, I'm now working for a big five consultancies. I would've never dreamt about it. And he explained to me, he's one of six children's single mother living in a counselor estate. And I said, that's amazing. Your mother must be so proud.


And he said, yeah, the only problem is she's so proud. She's throwing a party. She's decided to call the whole counselor estate to do it. And he said, and I'm paying for it. So just stories like that. That is what makes me so proud of what we do at Sparta Global. So happy because we are focusing not just on our people, we're focusing on our communities, we're focusing on the wider planet, as I call it. We need to think about all of those things. Now, if you want to be, these are not good to have in the business anymore. These are business imperatives, and we have really put that purpose on top of everything we do,

Linnea (37:34):

And I think that's goosebumps. If there's one change or adaptation that you would recommend other companies to make regarding their hiring process or their ED and I work, or we've discussed culture, fit, culture add, what would you recommend organizations doing to improve?

Purnima (37:52):

I think start at the very bottom to me. Bring in that diverse group of talent and nurture them. Bring them from the beginning, upskill them, help them, nurture them. And you will see that diversity will not be an issue, will not be a conversation, because that's what you will have because you've actually nurtured that group of people. So to me, it's about starting right at the bottom, grow that diverse talent pipeline. What you are doing is basically growing your future talent leaders. What you are actually doing is really answering that future workforce question. That future diverse workforce question starts right at the bottom.

Linnea (38:29):

I think that's a fantastic way to end, a fantastic episode, Pima, it was so inspiring to listen to you and to hear about the work that you've done at Part The Global. Thank you so much for joining How We Hire. I hope we can invite you back again soon. But thank you so much for joining us,

Purnima (38:46):

And thank you for having me, Linea. I've listened to so many of your episodes and they are absolutely worth listening to and they're all inspiring. There are so many people out there who have such nice and important things to say. So thank you for making it happen.

Linnea (39:00):

Well, thank you and to our listeners, hope you will join us for our next episode. And until then, take care.