All over the world, diversity has become more than a mainstream business strategy. Engaging diverse social groups in your business not only characterizes your enterprise as the one sticking up for certain business values and open-minded. It also allows businesses to increase profit.
Reports and studies all agree that the more a company prioritizes diversity and inclusion, the more profits it makes. Amazon calls diversity the driving force behind the company and society. Yael Garten is Siri Director of Data Science and Engineering at Apple, said during a lecture at Stanford in 2017 that they would not have created Siri without a “mixed” team: “Unless the data covers the entire population, our program is no match for one person”.
But what do startups, whose resources are limited to specifically seek out and attract employees from different social groups, have to do? How to use the principles of diversity in their development?
Use a Diversity Approach in Every Recruitment Process
Diversity includes not only the usual criteria, such as ethnicity or gender, but also each person’s unique skills, understanding of the culture in which they grew up, access to education, intergenerational characteristics, and the historical background of their home country.
In the old days, it was usual to hire employees who were similar to the manager in temperament, personality, and education. It was thought that a common place of birth or the same university background and mindset would make a perfect team. But the moment you’re faced with adaptive challenges, that is problems for which there’s currently no ready-made solution, it is the diversity of perspectives that will help you solve them.
People with different backgrounds are not a limitation in recruitment, but opportunities to help enhance a business through different opinions and viewpoints. It brings more ideas, more creativity and easier brainstorming.
Make Your Company to Stand Out
Talk more often about diversity principles in your company. The more daring they are, the more opportunities you have to stand out in the marketplace and create a reputation as a modern-day startup. In negotiations, make it a point to hear a different point of view. Avoid agreeing. Prohibit the words like “I support the previous speaker”. Introduce principles that any opinion is important, even if it is not subsequently taken on board. Support those who find it difficult to speak out. Think of ways to make expressing an opinion easier: try using special letters, face-to-face meetings, and using the buddy system at the workplace. The more effort and time you put into this, the more effective the results will be.
Don’t Be Afraid to Invest in Diversity
For many companies, diversity is about investment. Sometimes, it seems silly to hire an employee without the right background, with a particular mindset and perspective. Go for that fear. There’s a reason why new professions are popping up right now. For example, a Chief Diversity Officer, who implements diversity strategies into company processes, or Cultural Broker, an employee who regulates multinational relations in a team. If you do not yet have the resources for such specialized positions, invest your own time to blur the lines of a homogeneous team and make it truly diverse. Check job openings for gender correct words, be friends with local and minority communities, and be careful to ensure that an employee’s identity does not become a reason for selection or non-selection for an appropriate vacancy.
A truly successful company shows a cross-section of society in the present moment. Not only should your product be contemporary, but your team should reflect the diversity of modern life and business. Even if you feel like you are making an extra effort now when you could be focusing on something more important, that time and that investment will more than pay off in the long run.