Why Diversity Matters in the Workplace

Harvard Business Review (HBR) published a study showing how diversity in the workplace can unlock innovation and drive market growth. By surveying 1,800 professionals in leadership positions they concluded that companies that presented leaders with 2D diversity are 45% more likely to report a growth in market share and 70% more likely to capture a new market.

Do I have your attention now? Good.

2D Diversity

You might be wondering, what is 2D diversity? There are two types of diversity that humans can have. One is inherent (gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, etc.) and the other one is acquired (whenever you live abroad, interact with people different from you, etc.). In the HBR experiment, a leader with 2D would qualify if they had three traits of each.

They found that when a leader understands and values diverse employees, they are 3.5 times more likely to contribute out-of-the-box ideas which in turn creates a company that is twice as likely to unleash value-driven insights.

In another HBR article, Rock and Grant discuss how diversity makes teams smarter. They claim that by working with people who are different from us challenges our brains to think in new ways and improve performance. It’s been proven that diverse teams focus more on facts, process information more carefully and are more innovative. They tend to be less biased and challenge their assumptions even more.

For our readers who are familiar with Scrum and have taken part in a poker sizing session, your head might be nodding in agreeance right now. There are so many tacit assumptions around a user story that unless discussed and challenged, teams would never be able to arrive to a consensus around the effort involved in it. For those who haven’t adopted Scrum (yet!), here is one of the dangers of having a unilateral view on how much effort would be involved in delivering a “certain” solution.

If assumptions remain unchecked the result could be that infamous rubber tire hanging from a tree instead of the rollercoaster you’ve been dreaming of. Not to mention the very inaccurate effort forecast that will keep your Project Manager very busy updating the Gantt chart. In these cases, I am confident that you would feel more confident partnering with a diverse, capable and empowered team before your solution is built and delivered.

It’s no coincidence that the biggest economic hubs have diversity in common. Think London, New York City, Singapore, Hong Kong and Sydney. Studies like Nathan & Lee’s have linked diversity with economic performance and social benefits. It confirms not only that teams with diverse leadership are more innovative, but also they have a positive correlation with entrepreneurship and are more likely to reach out to a more cosmopolitan population as potential clients.

Here at ProQuest, we are a team of 24 professionals representing over 14 different countries. We might take a little longer to achieve consensus on the path to follow as we challenge each other and think of alternative ways of doing things. The results are innovative solutions to bring our customers’ visions to life by unleashing the power of Salesforce.

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