Why promoting team diversity will stand your business in good stead.
This guide approaches the topic of diversity, from the benefits of promoting a diverse workforce to how this can help you scale your business by establishing a considered diversity strategy.
We think diversity should be more about business opportunity, and less about ticking boxes. Our belief is that diversity is something that will be achieved organically as the industry continues to grow. For start-ups, we recommend fostering a culture of openness and inclusivity from day one as this is something you will benefit from in the long-term. As for larger organizations, we recommend approaching your diversity strategy with flexibility and by measuring hard skills against potential, equally.
As such, this guide will look at:
- What diversity looks like in additive manufacturing.
- How you should approach your diversity strategy.
- Why improving your diversity strategy could benefit you in the long-term.
What is diversity?
The Global Diversity Practice explains diversity as:
“Any dimension that can be used to differentiate groups and people from one another. In a nutshell, it’s about empowering people by respecting and appreciating what makes them different, in terms of age, gender, ethnicity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, education, and national origin”.
And if you visit our LinkedIn page you can also see what our consultants say on the topic of diversity.
But diversity is also more than this. Even two people from similar cultural, or ethnic origins will be very diverse, which means that diversity is more than just an inherent state of being, but also something that is acquired through our experiences. As such, it becomes even more important to be aware of diversity and how your organization looks to approach the topic.
For example, it is known in manufacturing industries that there is typically a large divide in the gender diversity of the talent pool, as engineering roles have traditionally attracted men in the past. With initiatives such as Women in 3D Printing, we see a strong effort in additive manufacturing to level this gender imbalance, done in a way which not only addresses the issue of gender, but does so through promoting diversity as a whole: inviting everyone to events regardless of gender, age, origin, background etc. This is the kind of inclusivity which we should aim to replicate in recruitment situations within the industry too.
Referring back to our initial comment that diversity strategies should be about business opportunity, let’s take a quick glance at some data shown on the Global Diversity Practice website:
So, we see, diversity – our similarities and differences – has an impact on the success and productivity of our businesses that far surpasses the social agenda of diversity initiatives. Now, let’s look at how you should approach your diversity strategy to start seeing these kinds of results.
How should you approach your diversity strategy?
If we look to reports on diversity in the workforce and its correlation with business growth and % market share, we find that the connection isn’t just evident, but prevalent. The Harvard Business Review reported on the impact of diversity in leadership and the workforce on the success of businesses, and they found that there were 6 behaviours that unlocked innovation in teams (which also nurtures diverse teams):
- Ensuring everyone is heard.
- Making it safe to propose novel ideas.
- Giving team members decision-making authority.
- Sharing credit for success.
- Giving actionable feedback.
- Implementing feedback from the team.
This type of culture is a must-have in any organization wishing to unleash their team’s value-driven potential. But not only that, teams which are diverse are more likely to have traits in common with different end-users, allowing your business to better understand segments of the market that you operate in.
At Alexander Daniels Global, we love the fact that we have such a diverse team. It is thanks to the philosophy and approach of our Founder & Director, Nick Pearce, that we are able to operate effectively despite, and due to, our different backgrounds. You can learn more about how Nick brought our team together by listening to or reading his interview on ‘Promoting Team Diversity’ here.
(Team Alexander Daniels Global, 2019, on a skiing trip).
So, when it comes to improving your diversity strategy in terms of recruitment, our advice is as follows:
- Consider addressing what constitutes a ‘right fit’ for your business.
- We often think of the ‘right fit’ when assessing the suitability of candidates. What we find is that the right fit doesn’t necessarily mean that a candidate must match the characteristics or skills of your existing team, but that they are the missing piece which fills a gap in your team and ties that team together.
- Address how you approach diverse hiring.
- Diverse hiring is about approaching a recruitment process free from biases related to gender, age, ethnic or cultural origin, sexual orientation, disability, or other characteristics that aren’t related to professional performance. Solutions you could implement include sourcing methods, altering the interview process, reassessing the personal criteria of your ideal candidate, eliminating or addressing unconscious biases and by promoting diverse company culture.
- Think about how to start eliminating unconscious biases.
- Unconscious bias is the process of having an automatic tendency or inclination to have a favorable or unfavorable attitude or belief about a particular category of people. The goal is to teach ourselves how unconscious bias can affect our perceptions, decisions, and interactions.
- You could start by having a range of stakeholders assessing CVs (if using a recruitment agency, they will be able to take care of this for you) or you could go as far as investing in anti-bias training for your teams and management.
- Ensure that there is cross-departmental collaboration on your company’s diversity strategy (across senior management, HR and marketing) to ensure that it is a company-wide agreed and accepted approach.
If you are interested in reading into some statistical data on diversity in recruitment, you can check out this great downloadable PDF whitepaper.
Why improving your diversity strategy could benefit you in the long-term.
In terms of employee engagement the results are unquestionable: The Bersin by Deloitte 2015 High-Impact Talent Management research report shows that companies in the top performance tier (10%) were more focused on building an inclusive talent system.
Companies in the top two performance tiers (29%) experienced over two times higher cash flow per employee, plus an increased likelihood of being change-ready and becoming innovation leaders in their market.
So alongside greater employee engagement and trust in your organization, we are also looking at added benefits such as:
- A larger pool of talent to choose from
- New perspectives and innovation
- More effective decision-making processes
- Overall improved company performance
- Stronger business results and profits.
Whether you are a start-up founder, HR manager, working in procurement or a part of senior management, we’ve outlined some tips and insights into why it’s important to consider how your organization approaches its diversity strategy. Diversity in the workplace fosters innovation and engagement and improves company and team performance.
From Alexander Daniels Global, we would add that it’s important in all of these considerations, to also look for opportunity and potential in the hiring process. Alongside that, tackling unconscious biases, improving your diverse hiring procedure and ensuring that your diversity strategy is a cross-departmental initiative will set you in good stead to make an impact in your organization.
Laying strong foundations will ensure long-term success.
Need help? At Alexander Daniels Global, we have a track record of placing long-term hires into organizations and advising on how to make the best, strategic hires into your business.