If you’ve been following the news, you know there is a lack of women, and people of color in the technology industry. However, consumers of technology are from every diversity dimension. Lack of diversity in these organizations, means lack of different kinds of ideas, and can eventually be obstacles to new ideas and problem solving. Any company that wants to stay relevant and competitive will have more diversity at every level, and know how to use it for business success.
As an example, one of our best technology clients, was concerned about their lack of diversity, as they were planning on expanding to a more global market. The CEO realized that they needed more diversity of thought and experience, in order to develop and implement the right marketing strategy to grow the business.
When we began our work with him and his executive team, their focus was on “diversity metrics by numbers,” but not on “why, or expected results.” The CEO had the enthusiasm and the right intentions, but he thought that just hiring more women and people of color, was enough to generate new ideas and products. He didn’t know how to reap the business benefits or create a new culture of collaboration. We helped him develop strong diversity management skills, so he could bring the right people together, in the right way to create a synergy of innovation.
He realized that to get the results he wanted, he couldn’t just turn diversity over to Human Resources. They needed to hire a Chief Diversity Officer as part of the executive team We helped him see that diversity is not an HR program, a one-day training or a quarterly lunch and learn, but a strategy, a way of doing business and a leadership key.
Don’t fall into a numbers trap because you haven’t done your research or trained your recruiting team to see out hidden geniuses from diverse candidate pools. Look in the right places, develop relationships, see creativity, don’t look for thought clones and you’ll get the best people from a wider diversity of backgrounds and thinking styles.