Bad things happen when hiring managers hire in their own image.
It might be conscious or subconscious. "They'd really fit in here" vs. "I had a good feeling about that one". Either way, it can feel like the easy option.
Thomas Barta says: "We love the familiar, the recognisable, the known. And when it comes to picking a team member, many people are looking for a clone. Men recruit men. Creatives recruit creatives. Number crunchers recruit number crunchers. It’s easier to relate. It’s kind of natural."
What results is a group of people with similar experiences, education, background, interests, and. . . ideas.
"Male, white (golf loving) senior leaders. Finance teams that don’t get what customers want. Marketing teams that can’t do the numbers."
I've had conversations with clients who've said there are people in the business who 'don't get diversity'. As more businesses link it to their strategic objectives, I'm optimistic that I'll stop hearing that completely in the not too distant future. But, in the meantime, there are plenty of cold hard numbers to support the argument:
- McKinsey found that firms with diverse boards achieve 53% more return on equity, and 14% higher EBIT margins than the least diverse companies
- The FT reported that there was an 80% Improvement in business performance among those with high diversity levels
- Stephen Frost at KMPG said that “when gay people remain in the closet, they are 10 per cent less productive than when they feel able to be themselves.”
While recruiting diverse teams is the first (and very important) step, businesses get the most benefit from actively including current employees and those new in the door.
As Deloitte reported: “It is not enough to create a corporate version of Noah’s Ark bringing in ‘two of each kind’ . . . There is a clear argument for actively managing diversity rather than assuming we will naturally derive the benefits”.
Next time you pick a team member, give someone a chance who’s your exact opposite. Consider an extrovert, if you are an introvert. A number cruncher, if you are an artist. A trouble maker, if you accommodate. Your skills are already here. Clones will help you get the work done. Diverse people will help you reach new frontiers. Don’t just look for people who ‘fit’, look for people who ‘add’.