Have you ever looked around your office or job site and thought, wow we all look and think a lot the same…
It’s natural for people to gravitate to others who are similar to them. We seek the comfort of like-minded people who share our views, ideas and perspectives. It can make getting along and gaining alignment really easy! But there are drawbacks to being too homogenous. We may all be on the same page, but are we reading the right book?
So what does it mean to have a diverse team? A diverse team is made up of individuals with a wide variety of characteristics and backgrounds. Most of these characteristics are not apparent to the naked eye – diversity is much more than skin deep. It’s easy to get caught in the idea that diversity is isolated to what we can see when in reality, diversity encompasses so much more!
The real value of a diverse team comes from the diversity of thought that is driven by the experiences and backgrounds of the individuals. This includes factors such as their educational level and field of expertise, socioeconomic status, passions and interests, family and childhood, travel and cultural background and experiences, and more! For example, someone who has lived and worked in multiple countries could bring new ideas around how work is conducted based on the norms in another country. A team member who has a close relative or friend with a disability will ensure the work policies, practices and environment are accessible to all.
There are many proven benefits to having a diverse team:
- Increased Creativity & Innovation – more perspective = more ideas! In a world where we need to constantly change and adapt how we do business, the ability for people to “think outside the box” is essential.
- Improved Productivity & Problem Solving – which in turn leads to higher profits and better results.
- Higher Engagement – when everyone feels they bring something unique to the table, they are more inclined to add their perspective and ideas to the discussion.
- A More Inclusive Environment – Varied perspectives and experiences helps eliminate in- and out-groups and allows for the varied perspectives and backgrounds to catch each other’s dead angles.
- Better Customer Engagement & Commitment – Customer want to work with companies they can relate to and be proud to partner with. Diversity matters.
When I asked one of Harbr’s Founders, Ashley Kielbratowski, about the benefits she’s seen as a result of Harbr’s commitment to diversity, she shared that by building a more diverse workforce they have found the “secret sauce” for innovation.
“Harbr understands why having a diverse team is so important. The value of having a well-rounded team of all genders, with different experiences and a variety of cultural backgrounds without a doubt builds better products and builds an even better company.”
The construction technology industry has a lot of opportunity to leverage the benefits of diversity as the next generation of leadership moves in and more women leaders emerge. Now is the time for companies to make diversity a priority and stay ahead of the curve.
For a diverse team to truly be effective and unleash its power, it must be led by an Inclusive Leader. In next week’s post, we’ll examine what it means to be an inclusive leader and teammate.
To read more on the benefits of diversity in your business check out the articles here: