Diverse Minds, But Shared Values

Often, when we think of diversity, we tend to view it through the extremely narrow lens of gender, race, language. While these are certainly valid, the kind of diversity that truly matters for an organisation is diversity of thought.

Building a diverse organisation isn’t about ticking all the right boxes and meeting compliance requirements. A diverse team can bring in a unique set of insights that can create a positive impact on shaping your offerings and the way that you run your organisation. It offers a huge strategic advantage.

The most effective organisations are those that have the right mix of diverse minds bound by common values.

The ‘Gig’ Economy Promotes a Diverse Workforce

In a recent study, global job site Indeed.com found that 7.7 percent of all companies posting on the Indeed platform in India offer flexible work opportunities. In addition, 2.8 percent of all job postings on the site from India are for part-time or contractual roles.

The gig economy, or the growing trend towards temporary positions and independent workers for short-term engagements, can be a great driver for a diverse workforce. A full-time 9-5 job isn’t really everyone’s dream anymore. Today, it is not uncommon, even in India, to find someone who works part-time as a recruiter, writes marketing content for clients at other times, and teaches basketball to school kids on the weekend.

This gives organizations an opportunity to broaden their job descriptions to make them skills-driven, rather than defining watertight parameters such as educational degrees or years of experience. While hiring clones of yourself may be easier, it can also be rather short-sighted. Hiring people with diverse experience can broaden your own horizons and those of your organization too.

Diversity without Chaos

Of course, having people with different backgrounds and passions may sound like a simple way to build a winning organization, but it isn’t as easy as it sounds. There are certain factors that impact the success of a diverse organization.

  • Shared Values and Purpose

While diverse thinking is great, there needs to some common ground in the form of shared values and purpose, and clear understanding of organizational goals. Everyone needs to understand and appreciate the long-term direction where the organization is heading. This is especially important as the automation becomes more mainstream.

  • Strong Leadership

Bringing together a bunch of smart individuals with unique viewpoints is bound to result in utter chaos, unless there is a strong leader who defines the ‘why’ of the organization, sets goals, and assigns roles based on individual strengths.

  • Openness of thought

Most of us are conditioned since childhood to be wary of ‘other people’ who don’t look or act like us or speak a different language. This distrust needs to go if there is any hope of creating a common purpose.

Many a time, it is tempting to hire clones of ourselves – someone from the same school or college, similar professional or family background. After all, someone similar to you is much more likely to ‘get’ you, and there will be an easy camaraderie without anyone trying too hard. While all this is true, the benefit of a diverse organization surely outweighs any personal reservations. Diverse minds that share a common purpose will be the future.