Why Building a Diverse Team is So Important

March 1, 2018

Diversity can mean many things--including diverse cultural, racial, and social backgrounds. But we should also think of a diverse team as one where many different kinds of people come together to help shape and better each other’s understanding of and quality of work. It isn’t simply gender, age, and race. Diversity also has to do with personality, values, abilities and skills. And sometimes, it’s more important to hire people who come from different levels and backgrounds than it is to hire what might be traditionally seen as the “best.”

Ensuring that your team includes people with various skill levels, backgrounds, and interests will allow new perspectives to merge and work together on better, more creative projects. In fact, several years ago, Forbes reported that “the ability to integrate different points of view is what enhances  individual creativity.” Research included in the report shows that different perspectives coming together is actually what helps new ideas to pop up out of the blue.

Look around at your team right now. What are the demographics? Do you work with people who are all the same age, race, or who have had the exact same levels of education? If you do, it might be time to do some thinking about how you might improve your team and jumpstart new avenues for creativity. And if you’re working with people from different walks of life, are you putting in effort to consistently collaborate with and learn from each other?

There are many ways to build and grow diverse teams, including being mindful of what your company culture or team is currently lacking when interviewing for a position. Hiring a diverse team will ensure better problem solving. After all, if everyone thinks the same way, how can anyone ever bring unique perspective? “In effect, by creating a homogenous team, you are almost guaranteeing that the best answers will be found somewhere else. So instead of looking for comfort, you should be creating an environment where people expect to have their perspectives challenged by someone who looks, talks, and thinks differently,” says Harvard Business Review.

Diversity leads to creativity because working with people who are different from us, whether it’s in age, or cultural or social understanding, forces us to think about things from multiple angles. And that makes us more thoughtful and creative in our approach to work.

At the end of the day, creativity is simply multiple ideas coming together to form something innovative and exciting, and requires us to change the way we’ve traditionally thought about a product. Think about it--whenever you’re seeking a more creative solution or angle, you’re forced to diversify your limited knowledge or worldview. Working with others and discussing projects and approaches with them gets that job done for you by pushing your mind to explore its furthest depths. At Elysian, we’ve witnessed a number of teams thrive and grow to new heights when hiring managers are open-minded about the kinds of people they hire. We almost always suggest that our clients consider working with and hiring people who might be dissimilar to the ones already on their team--because ultimately, different people bring different skills, and a fresh perspective can make a world of difference.

More studies on diversity and creativity can be found here. The Elysian team is always happy to work with you to figure out how you can hire smarter and find more diverse talent. Contact us for a consultation or if you’re looking for career coaching to learn how to market your skills.

We’re looking forward to continuing to do work to contribute expertise to our clients to create better, more diverse and creative teams!

All the best