If your office isn’t encouraging diversity and inclusion in the workforce, they’re missing out on all its potential benefits.
The connection between workplace diversity and company success has been hotly debated over the past few years, with most minds speaking in favour of building a team with a variety of backgrounds. So how do tech companies build that sought-after workforce diversity? More importantly, how can you convince the skeptics that it’s important to do so?
Events like Capital One’s Gift the Code Charity Hackathon, are a great example of the power behind technology to act as the ultimate connector. By bringing together diverse talent, over 150 passionate participants were able to work together to encourage diversity and innovation while creating solutions for charity.
When it comes to promoting diversity to your bosses, and other decision-makers, here are a few solid arguments that will work in your favour.
This is the easiest way to hook leaders in the tech industry: profitability. It’s been widely proven that increased gender diversity means increased ROI. McKinsey, a global management consulting firm that serves a broad mix of private, public and social sector institutions, reported that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15 per cent more likely to outperform against industry medians. According to a recent study by Morgan Stanley, the more diverse companies delivered better returns and were less volatile. So, the more diverse your team is, the more you’ll see this reflected in your bottom line.
To put it succinctly, your audience is diverse, so you need to be, too. If your ideas and your work stem from one group or one demographic, you risk isolating your audience and creating products that don’t address everyone’s needs. That means missing some big wins that could otherwise be in your reach. Without diversity, how can you relate to your massive, diverse audience? You simply can’t.
Innovation happens when you have the courage to shift away from the familiar. Diversity brings different thoughts, opinions and experiences to your workplace. When you bring together individuals with different experiences, views and skills, this cross-collaboration and vast knowledge base can lead to something unique and ground-breaking. No great innovation in history happened with a uniform group of people staying within the box.
For the Good of the People
Tech is the future. We are breaking ground in the tech industry and growing at the most rapid rate in history. What happens if this evolution is lead largely by (and the benefits enjoyed by) one portion of the human race? One gender, one race, one sexuality. It could mean that some groups’ needs are prioritized, while others are left behind. This is another reason why tech companies need to lead the charge for diversity.
Companies like Capital One set an example with events like Gift the Code, a hackathon that takes a diverse group of coders, data scientists, designers and other bright people and puts them together to work on tech-based challenges for charity. It’s a win-win — inclusive, diverse groups, working together in local communities for the greater good. This 40-hour Hackathon took place Friday November 3 to Sunday November 5 at Ryerson’s Mattamy Athletic Centre, with the winners having been announced on the final day.
We all know culture is an area that tech companies have been praised for, yet have also been heavily criticized for too. Regardless of the obvious, ethical reasons why diversity is important, it’s also important for company culture. Positive culture attracts top talent to the job and helps retain employees. If the tech industry doesn’t work on its culture issue, fewer women and people of ethnically diverse backgrounds will pursue careers in tech industries. Discouraging these groups from pursuing careers in this industry damages everyone involved as a result.
The tech industry is the most rapidly growing industry in the world. It has the responsibility to represent and include people from all walks of life, genders, races and sexual orientations — not only for the benefit of these individuals, but the benefit of the industry as a whole.