‘Diversity’ is on every organisation’s checklist when it comes to recruiting. We take it for granted that it’s now an integral part of every company’s ethos and mantra. But do we really know what it means? Is HR simply looking for a range of genders, ethnicities and educational backgrounds to ensure political correctness or have companies discovered that diversity brings with it a whole swag of benefits?
Diversity at Equiem goes beyond the surface level. The team at HQ identifies with no less than sixteen different nationalities, ranging from our Brexit Neighbours in the UK, to German, Filipino and Iranian. However, it is not the occasional lunchtime bratwurst or kebab that keeps office functionality at its peak. It is both the gene pool and the talent that demands miscellany. Equiem CEO Gab McMillan explains that the most “high-performing teams typically include a diverse cross-section of people and skills - different cultures, backgrounds and genders, as well as different ways of communicating and thinking”. Equiem’s cultural melting-pot offers a broad range of attitudes, experiences and language competencies that enhance creativity and complex thought processes.
Entrepreneur and investor Faisal Butt explains that traditional homogenous teams are currently being abandoned for diverse, multi-disciplinary compositions. Put simply, kindred people have similar strengths and weaknesses. In today’s competitive landscape, companies are striving to disrupt the market in order to better meet customer needs. Equiem maintains a competitive advantage and exemplifies this disruptive approach by placing value on composite team structures. CFO Steve Leong explains that “a lot of courage and thinking outside the box [is required at Equiem] to go against the norm, to create something that is unique...and to convince [consumers] to adopt it by changing their behaviours and habits.” Deloitte’s research underscores how diverse thinkers help guard against ‘groupthink’ and expert overconfidence and companies should harness the ‘diversity of thought’ (Diaz-Uda 2013).
Intrinsically, Equiem calls for divergent thinking capabilities. Homogeneous teams typically offer narrow perspectives when addressing multi-dimensional issues. As Steven explains, experimentation and collaboration are integral to Equiem’s forward-thinking culture. Its diverse, multi-disciplinary teams are more equipped to tackle market challenges from creative perspectives and are able to solve company issues that are complex and multifaceted by nature. For example, Equiem’s world-first integrated technology is managed by a Product Team comprised of disciplines ranging from psychology, to engineering to graphic design. According to research from McKinsey & Co, “gender-diverse companies are 15% more likely to outperform their peers and ethnically-diverse companies are 35% more likely to do the same” (Hunt 2015).
Justin Trudeau, everyone’s favourite world leader, recognises diversity as a source of strength. He believes that when people from different cultures interact, it opens the door to a truly integrated and high-functioning society. And he believes that this spirit should be embraced at school, university and the workplace to establish a society that deeply values collaborative thinking. This is because “strength lies in differences, not in similarities" (Stephen Covey 2014). International Food Day at Equiem Headquarters was a great opportunity to celebrate differences and multiculturalism. With over 15 countries represented, the team acknowledged its miscellany whilst cultivating a culturally diverse and inclusive workplace. Harvard Business School research explains that the more a network includes individuals from different cultural backgrounds, the more a company will be creatively stimulated by different ideas and perspectives (Chua 2011).
For Equiem, fostering a diverse environment was never about being a ‘good corporate citizen.’ It was about gathering together the brightest, best and most passionate regardless of gender or nationality. A team that has proven they can disrupt the market and promote novel ideas and concepts. So it seems that it is not diversity per se that has breathed new life into organisational structure; it is the diversity of thinking that has really boosted company performance.
As Google has demonstrated at their HQ, poets and philosophers are equally valued for their thinking skills as scientists and technologists. Throw in an assortment of ethnicities and educational backgrounds and you have a holistic approach, made up of multiple perspectives, to problem solving that reaches new stratospheres in innovative thinking. Ultimately, it is the diverse thinking power of its people that drives Equiem’s success.
Chua, R (2011) ‘Sharpening Your Skills: Organizational Design’ Harvard Business School
Covey, S (2014) ‘Reaping The Benefits Of Diversity For Modern Business Innovation’ Forbes
Diaz-Uda, A (2013) ‘Diversity's New Frontier’ Deloitte University Press
Hunt, V (2015) ‘Why Diversity Matters’ McKinsey & Company
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