Diversity is a hot topic at the moment and companies are looking for ways to make their hiring process equal and open to all candidates. Indeed, diverse teams are 70% more likely to capture a new market audience and, according to a study from Boston Consulting Group (BCG), produce 19% more revenue. But are companies really thinking diverse enough?
When we think about diversity in recruitment, it typically relates to providing equal opportunities for everyone and building teams that reflect a range of backgrounds, ethnicities and genders. And that’s exactly how it should be, especially as 67% of active and passive job seekers say a diverse workforce is an important factor when evaluating companies and job offers.
But even companies that do manage to build a diverse team can still forget about one vital ingredient: personality. In trying to build a strong company culture and strategic approach, it’s too easy for founders and HR Directors to create a team of people who share very similar characteristics. That can lead to a lack of lateral thinking and corporate innovation – in short, things can get samey, very quickly.
Complementary skills and personality
The truth is, teams that include a range of voices and characters are set up to do better. Companies where employees feel confident to be themselves and have a voice, tend to succeed because they provide an environment for ideas to flourish.
A team filled with identical personalities may do well initially, but eventually the innovation will dry up and critical thinking will become stale. And it isn’t just about age, gender or ethnicity – employees with complementary skills and a good mix of character traits are better placed to think differently and work together to push the company forward.
This idea is backed up by the statistics, with a study from BCG showing a positive relationship between diversity and corporate innovation.
Proactive team creation
So what’s the right strategy to take? How do you develop that great blend of personalities? What can you do to build a balanced team that can both innovate and then deliver the goods in practice?
It’s about looking to the future and developing that all-important company culture, rather than focusing on hitting immediate targets. Having a team of A+ people can only go so far. Any clash of personalities will have a negative effect and that ‘A team’ will quickly become a ‘B team’.
In the short term, putting together a good group of people without thinking about diversity could see positive results for your business. However, for long-term success, you should look to be proactive in creating a team built around a range of different and compatible personalities.
Of course, having a talented group of people who bring a diverse range of ideas is one thing, but you also need to make sure that they’re in the right positions. If you’re going to get the most from them, getting employment placement right is essential.
When you hire someone new, it’s impossible to know for sure that they’re going to be an exact match for the role. And even when it comes to your existing employees, there will be team members who might be better suited to different positions in the company.
There’s no question that it’s critical to try and get the right people in the right role initially. But it’s also important to be flexible and get that diverse selection of characters who can move and adapt.
A recent Glassdoor survey found that 57% of employees want their company to do more to increase diversity. If you can do that, your challenge is then to get those people and personalities working together, so that they can do their best work and have a positive impact on the company.
Putting it into practice
Saying you’ll create a more diverse team is one thing, but actually doing it can often prove a little more tricky. So what practical steps can you take?
First of all, don’t be one of the 41% of managers who say they are too busy to focus on diversity initiatives. As with every significant change that you make to your company, if you want to ensure that it succeeds, you have to make it a priority. Don’t pay lip service to the idea of diversity – make it an integral part of the hiring process and get everyone on board with what you want to achieve.
In fact, a good first step might be to set up a diversity committee to put policies and practices in place – and then to review them over time. You could draw in people from across your company to ensure good representation and demonstrate the importance of a diverse team right from the off.
Learn more at the IHR Leaders Conference
You can, of course, learn much more about building a productive company filled with diverse personalities at Dean’s talk at the IHR Leaders Conference on 18th July. Our team will also be on hand to show off our award-winning Applicant Tracking System and other recruitment software products.
Contact us for a free demo.