We all know diversity leads to better talent, innovation and business performance. Research from McKinsey shows workplaces with more diverse workforces perform better financially. Gender-diverse organisations are 15% more likely to outperform more homogenous organisations. For ethnically-diverse organisations, outperformance percentage is even more significant: it is 35%.
For us, the heart of diversity goes far beyond or race. It’s about difference of thought and experience. It’s about putting humanity back into business.
The best innovations are a reflection of our audiences
Empathy is at the heart of great design: you’re more likely to empathize with your audience if you’ve been in their shoes.
When Apple launched the Apple Watch, it was a truly transcendent moment for wearable technology but also, healthcare. For the first time, people could accurately track their heart rate, calories burned, blood sugar and the metrics that you’re most interested in. But one thing Apple left out despite its expansive range of features is menstruation, something women have been monitoring for centuries. So how did something as fundamental as your monthly cycle get left out? This was in part due to the development team being all male.
These are great points on why the diversity of your customer base should be represented in your team. You’ll be able to catch your blind spots and ultimately build better products.
The best innovations can come from collisions
Melissa Andrada, learning strategist, encourages people to find the cultural (mis) fits, “people who create friction, people who don’t quite fit in, people who challenge the way everyone else thinks.”
The first collision at Proversity started between my cofounder Carl Dawson, an HR Director, and myself, a Designer Director. We share a common mission: to close the gaps between education and employment, but came from entirely different perspectives and backgrounds. This created friction, but ultimately, let to a better product that brought together the best of both of our worlds.
So how can we create more diverse organisations?
At Proversity, diversity is one of our most important values. We’ve worked with organisations like the Bank of England to recruit more diverse hires. We believe education is one of the most powerful tools for inclusion and equality.
“The Bank of England is a prestigious place to work, which seems like a good thing,” said Kate Temple-Brown, Early Careers Consultant, “But what happens is that a lot of people from diverse backgrounds self select themselves out of applying to the Bank.” We needed to inspire a diverse pool of students who may have never thought of applying for a job at the Bank of England, and help them really understand which roles would be the right fit for them.
This is a problem many prestigious organisations face. How can you make your company feel more open and inclusive to amazing talent who might not have the confidence or connection?
We partnered with the Bank of England to transform perceptions of the bank to reach young people of more diverse genders, ethnicities, orientations and backgrounds. You have start with the people inside. You have to reflect their stories in your story.
We collaborated closely with a diverse set of employees across levels and backgrounds to produce online courses that captured the work lives of everyday employees.
With over 233 participants across backgrounds, the Bank attracted a much wider breadth of candidates. They’re now much more equipped to prepare and evaluate their young recruits. After the first cohort, they boosted the number of offers made after a candidate interview, from 25% to 83%.
Learning can diversify your workforce
As we can see with the Bank of England, learning is a powerful tool for building a more diverse workforce. It enables us to go beyond tick boxes and CVs. It enables us to connect with applicants on a more emotional level, see the diversity of their future colleagues and equip them with the skills to be successful before they even start the job.