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Anyone who owns a company or runs a hiring process has the power to help bridge the opportunity gap that has been created through years of institutional discrimination of marginalized groups. There are also countless advantages—to your company, to candidates, to your industry, and to your customers—to embracing and supporting diversity. The rules of business-building have changed. Building a technical product today requires enormous adaptability, creativity, and global reach—all of which improves with diversity.
Research extensively and consistently bears out that diversity positively correlates to better financial performance.* McKinsey has conducted some of the most robust, oft-cited studies on a direct correlation of diversity and better business outcomes. Among their findings: “Gender-diverse companies are 21% more likely to have better financial performance. Ethnically diverse companies are 33% more likely to financially outperform their counterparts.” A 2013 report by Harvard Business Review found that companies that had more diverse workforces were “45% likelier to report a growth in market share over the previous year and 70% likelier to report that the firm captured a new market.”* Researchers also found that more diverse companies announced, on average, two more products a year.*
In addition to correlational studies, diversity seems to have a causal relationship with innovation. Numerous psychology studies have shown that diverse teams shine a light on organizational blindspots, solve problems faster, and are more creative.** Diverse teams have the ability to see and solve problems that might otherwise be missed or mysterious, and increase returns for the business by doing so. In early 2019, Pinterest released a widely applauded inclusive search feature. Development was driven in large part by feedback from employees and diverse members of their customer base who were looking for beauty tips for a wide range of skin tones. When it comes to the business argument, the research is conclusive: diverse teams are more productive and effective at making decisions,* and diversity is markedly better for a company’s bottom line.
Finally, as a recruiter or hiring manager, expanding your hiring pool gives you an advantage in an increasingly competitive market. When you’re no longer competing with Google and Facebook for the same set of people, you have the opportunity to find more candidates in general, adding volume along with diversity to the top of your hiring funnel.
Whatever your role in recruiting and hiring, diversity and inclusion present a complex, multifaceted challenge. The goal of this section is to provide enough background and perspective that you understand the issues, can have thoughtful conversations with anyone else involved, and can make an impact on your company’s hiring processes. This is a difficult and nuanced subject to tackle, so we’ll start with the basics (what is D&I?), and then move on to cover many of the myths and pitfalls you may encounter along the way. Finally, we provide practical tactics you can implement at your organization to improve the hiring process for everyone involved.
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