On the occasion of World Women’s Day, I do not want to talk about the still alarmingly low number of women in management positions or as founders, but I want to speak out in favor of the topic of diversity in teams.

Learning from each other

Whether through the social imprint of a different gender, a foreign cultural or religious background or a completely different mindset and skill set – every person thinks, acts and reacts differently. Unfortunately, according to a study conducted by the Hay Group in 2014, managers tend to select candidates with a similar profile, presumably to make the behavior and working methods of a new employee more predictable for them. Diversity is definitely a challenge for a team, but even more so an asset. Every employee can broaden his or her horizon, reflect on himself or herself and question existing attitudes and patterns by working with other types of behavior.

Encourage creativity and innovation

For the further development of a company, the ideas of its own employees and internal innovation are essential. The more diverse the teams are, the more diverse the input to further develop the corporate strategy, the product or service portfolio and the company as an organizational unit. According to a study by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research from 2016, this potential can only be tapped if differences are taken into account and used in a targeted manner.

Meeting employee expectations

In a study by Hays in 2019, companies cited attractiveness as an employer as the most important success factor in the battle for skilled workers. According to a study by Egon Zehder from 2019, the Millennium once again named diversity as the most important selection criterion for their future employer. In times of demographic change, diversity must therefore become the focus of HR and managers in order to continue to acquire suitable talent and retain it over the long term.

Managing heterogeneity

The challenge of heterogeneous teams is to create interlocking work routines. This can only be achieved by creating a common basis of trust, open and respectful communication and a clear division of responsibilities. The basis for this is provided by an appropriate corporate culture. A company’s incentive system is a decisive key factor in shaping this culture. In addition, standards of conduct should be introduced, these should be integrated into the hiring process and managers should be trained accordingly. Correctly implemented team building activities and coaching can significantly support teams in overcoming this challenge. The result is the promotion of trust and the internalization of corporate identity.

 

Angelika Vits | Co-Founder & CEO at GREWP