Diversity is good for business – how can we overcome our biases?
There is a strong business case for embracing inclusion and diversity at the workplace. In their latest report (Diversity wins: How inclusion matter, 2020) McKinsey reinforces the link between diversity and company financial performance. Their research shows that gender-diverse companies outperform their peers by 25% and the most ethnically diverse ones by 36%. One is inclined to think these companies have learned to use inclusion and diversity as a source of competitive advantage, and a key enabler for growth.
According to the latest research, diverse teams are more creative and have better problem-solving capabilities than homogeneous teams. An inclusive company culture enables teams to incorporate diverse perspectives that strengthen the client impact. It also helps to attract and retain exceptional people.
What can we do – How can we create an inclusive company culture?
So, if diversity is good for business, the question is: How can we build a more inclusive company culture which embraces innovation? How do we, for example, overcome one of the main obstacles, our potential prejudices and biases (regarding gender, age, ethnic background, religion etc.)?
One way is to increase our awareness of our prejudices. We can start by observing how they impact the way we interact with other people. Learning to tell the difference between what is being said and who is saying it may take some time, yet is certainly worth it when building an inclusive company culture.
However, there is also another, possibly a faster way to help us to free ourselves from our biases.
It is about creating a peak experience, a defining moment of connection and meaning when collaborating with other people. These crystallizing moments have the power to liberate us from our prejudice, bias and other social stereotyping.
Why not start by tapping into positive collaboration experiences?
Most people can recall a personal experience from great teamwork, a situation when everybody involved was eagerly working towards a common goal. It did not matter who the other people were or where they came from – there was just a shared sense of purpose and connection. This experience does not have to be connected to work. It can also come elsewhere from hobbies, charity work, team sports or music making.
Wouldn’t it be great to transfer this great experience into the workplace – or, at least a part of it? Collaborate and innovate towards a common goal without the interference of hierarchy, silos or prejudice.
If we can create the right kind of moment where a positive experience is elicited, relationships can change in an instant, a growing body of evidence suggests.
We have also witnessed this phenomenon with our own eyes when people have used our virtual multiplayer platform AGILS.
AGILS – a level playing field for democratic dialogue and innovation
AGILS embraces diversity, inclusion and accessibility by breaking down barriers. It creates a level playing field for collaboration, innovation and learning.
Our clients´ results show the power of harnessing everybody’s brainpower free of hierarchy, prejudice and bias. A management team solved a challenging business problem which had been an issue for over a year. It took them only 45 minutes with AGILS. A team of senior consultants transformed their relationships with each other. They began to see each other with ´new fresh eyes´. This resulted enhanced client impact.
Initiating behavioral changes for building an inclusive culture doesn’t have to be hard or time consuming. A small, clever intervention can have an immense impact. It can start a snowball rolling.
This where we want to help. Our AGILS-platform is designed to accelerate behavioral changes and facilitate the engagement of diverse communities. It can engage unlimited number of participants in co-innovation, collaboration and creative problem solving free from hierarchy and bias.
Building inclusive organizations and communities is a core value to us.
Personally, I think diversity is good for both the soul and the business.