“Diversity is greater than the color of our skin or our gender. Diversity is also about the cultures and communities we were raised within, the ways in which our minds work, the strengths we embody, and the skills we have learned. It’s about our past experiences and our beliefs that have been formed through our unique histories. And that’s why diversity is important in business and in life.” Ashley Cox, sproutHR
Have you ever worked on a project and gotten stuck trying to figure out one part? You kept working and working, but could never quite unravel the mystery of the project.
Feeling frustrated, you thought you had looked at the project from all different angles. Getting discouraged, you tried every idea you could think of under the sun – even the ridiculous ones. You may have even found yourself aggravated with the whole project.
But you just couldn’t seem to figure it out.
And then someone else came along and recommended a solution that worked in mere seconds.
Why is that?
Why Diversity is Important in Business
Over the years, I’ve found that many hiring managers rate candidates who are “just like they are” more favorably. The candidates they’re most drawn to often have similar personalities, backgrounds, and life or work experiences.
You’ve heard the old saying, “birds of a feather flock together,” right? Well, it rings true in hiring a team. There’s a sense of familiarity with a candidate who’s like you – or who you perceive is like you. And making that choice feels like a safe bet.
Hiring managers have told me things like:
- “We had so much in common! I could have talked to him all day.”
- “I really liked her. Did you know we were in the same sorority?!“
- “Man, what a great candidate. He’s just like me!!” (Insert eye roll.)
Yikes! These are not the kind of comments you want to hear after an interview.
People with similar personalities, backgrounds, cultures, and experiences tend to think the same way, act the same way, and see the world through the same lens.
It’s this “sameness” that helps to perpetuate stereotypes. It closes us off from learning new ways of thinking and experiencing the world, limits our abilities to do more, and stunts our growth.
Diversity is more than just gender or skin color, though. Diversity is also about the:
- cultures and communities we were raised within,
- way in which our minds work,
- strengths we embody, and
- skills we have learned.
Diversity is about how our past experiences have shaped our beliefs through our unique histories.
Today, I’m going to share just three of the many ways that diversity will make your business even more awesome!
Are you ready to grow your team with confidence and heart, but are having trouble figuring out where to start?
3 Ways Diversity Makes Your Business More Awesome
A diverse team helps you expand your perspective.
Our experiences form our beliefs about the world around us. Those beliefs are what helps us see things from different perspectives. Our experiences and beliefs are influenced by many factors – gender, age, culture, ethnic background, socioeconomic status, home environment, how we were raised, who raised us, and much more.
When you hire a team of people from different backgrounds, you gain the collective of their experiences. You have the opportunity to solve problems more creatively, develop products and services that are more appealing, and collaborate on projects that are more robust.
According to a study on diversity in the workplace by McKinsey & Company, gender diverse teams financially outperform their non-gender diverse industry peers by 15%. The study also found that racially and ethnically diverse teams financially outperform non-diverse industry peers by 35%.
A diverse team bolsters creativity and innovation.
Studies show diversity within a team greatly increases that team’s levels of creativity and innovation. Companies that embrace and celebrate diversity outperform non-diverse teams time and time again.
Harder? I don’t want my team to feel like it’s hard work! Let me explain…
When you work with a team of people who are alike and process information in a similar manner, it feels easy to reach decisions together. The team feels like it’s making progress quickly, when in reality their progress may be stunted.
As soon as someone joins the team who is different – whether by ethnicity, gender, experience, etc. – it becomes more challenging. Assumptions are questioned, different opinions are shared, and people are pushed outside of their comfort zones.
It’s this very situation that makes the team better. Their group-think is crushed and they’re challenged to process information differently, look at problems from a new view point, and develop more innovative ideas, products, and services.
A diverse team helps you serve more clients, better.
The most authentic way to get to know, understand, and serve a wide variety of clients is to hire people who accurately represent those clients and whom the clients will be able to relate to and connect with more easily.
That’s a pretty staggering statistic, especially in a world where we’re always trying to find new ways to connect with our clients.
People typically like to shop with companies who understand them. If you’re trying to appeal to an ethnic group, socioeconomic class, culture, etc. but you don’t understand that group to their core, then you’re likely going to miss the mark. Having a diverse team in place, however, will help you reach more clients, more genuinely.
Embrace and Celebrate Diversity
Diversity is important in business and in life. Diversity expands our minds, fosters creativity and innovation, and helps us serve more clients, better.
An article published on Forbes online, reads in part, “Successful companies are not the ones that build a business, then look at diversity as a nice-to-have attribute. Truly successful and innovative companies are those that build diverse teams when they are just starting out in their own apartment or their folks’ garage. Diversity is a mentality, not just strategic imperative.”
It’s not just enough to talk about diversity. And diversity isn’t something that you “just do.” Now is the time to truly embrace, celebrate, and integrate diversity into your small business.
Happy Sprouting! 🌱
Are you ready to grow your team with confidence and heart, but are having trouble figuring out where to start? Click here to grab your free worksheet: Who to Hire 1st & How Much to Budget!!