As a manager or HR representative when looking to build a development team, technical expertise should always be prioritised. Candidates should be assessed against a range of criteria, such as their knowledge of specific programming languages, frameworks, libraries, years of experience, previous projects and even ‘soft skills’ such as their communication abilities and creative thinking. Yet, the diversity of a team is often overlooked and could bring more to the table than initially expected.
In the current climate of rapid change and uncertainty, it is important to recognise and embrace the value of cultural, ethnic, racial and gender diversity in the workplace. It is not only beneficial in terms of inclusivity and equality, but a diverse development team can also provide a competitive advantage in comparison to one which is less diverse. There are numerous advantages to hiring a varied group of developers; some of the most beneficial are outlined below.
1. Productivity and efficiency both grow with diversity
It is evident that project deadlines and requirements can place a considerable amount of strain on development teams, which can lead to increased fatigue over time and detrimentally affect productivity and performance. While diversifying the team cannot completely alleviate the situation, it could be beneficial in providing protection from the negative impacts of stress and potentially improve their efficiency and effectiveness.
It is widely accepted that groups made up of individuals from diverse backgrounds and experiences are more likely to generate creative and innovative ideas and solutions. This is due to the wide range of perspectives that can be brought to the table, which can offer novel solutions to problems. Furthermore, the presence of different points of view can help to create a stimulating and motivating atmosphere as individuals disagree and challenge one another, thus avoiding complacency.
As evidence, consider the following statistic: When examining the fiscal performance of different companies, it has been observed that those with a higher level of gender diversity and engagement have a significant advantage of between 46% and 58% compared to those with a lower level of diversity and involvement.
2. People from different cultural origins are more likely to come up with novel ideas.
In this ever-evolving digital age, it is imperative to remain open-minded and not become fixated on a single approach which may become obsolete. As such, it is essential to have a diverse team of individuals from varied cultural backgrounds. These individuals bring with them a unique perspective that can enable new ideas and help to propel progress.
If everyone on your team were to agree on everything, the ideas for creating various projects can start to become repetitive and unoriginal. On the contrary, when working with a diverse team, there is more opportunity to listen to the specific needs of each client and gain multiple perspectives. This will encourage people to think outside the box and come up with inventive solutions, as well as explore new pathways for approaching problems. Ultimately, diversity of thought is beneficial when it comes to brainstorming and creating projects.
As evidence, consider the following statistic: A 19% increase in innovation revenues was seen for businesses with above-average diversity.
3. Having users from a variety of cultural backgrounds results in a more versatile and robust program.
When developing a new software application, app, or platform, it is essential that designers and programmers put themselves in the end user’s shoes. This will enable them to provide the best possible experience for those people. To make the software as versatile as possible, it is beneficial to have a diverse team of developers, including UX designers and QA testers, from a range of cultural backgrounds. This is because having a varied range of perspectives can lead to a better understanding of potential users from different cultures.
Having a diverse group of individuals within a team can provide a wealth of advantages in terms of analysing and developing a product or service. Each individual’s unique background, experience and perspective can be instrumental in ensuring that the final product meets the needs of the client and their intended audience, which may be varied and far-reaching. Furthermore, this diversity of thought can result in the product being more accessible to a greater number of users or better suited to the changing preferences of customers.
As evidence, consider the following statistic: Companies with racial and ethnic diversity have a 45% better chance of gaining market share.
4. New markets may be opened up by multicultural teams.
As previously mentioned, having a diverse team can be beneficial for identifying new opportunities, as the different perspectives of the group can help to spot patterns and gaps in the market which may have been overlooked. Whenever new software is introduced, there is always the risk that a certain section of the population may alter its purpose for something other than its intended use. This is especially true when the software is being released in a different market, either in another country or a different region within the same nation.
Having a diverse team with different perspectives, cultural knowledge, linguistic fluency and local contacts can be highly beneficial when launching a product in a new market. Such a team can ensure that the marketing efforts are streamlined, leading to increased earning potential. Moreover, software developed by a diverse team is more likely to be a comprehensive and suitable adaptation for the new market.
As evidence, consider the following statistic: 70% more varied enterprises entered a new market in the last year.
5. Diversity helps in attracting and retaining top people
Companies operating in the software development industry often recruit personnel from their competitors, as the most highly qualified professionals are frequently in demand. This is due to the fact that they are presented with a range of opportunities that match both their interests and their professional ambitions. Financial compensation and various other benefits are two of the main factors that influence their decisions when it comes to choosing between jobs. Additionally, diversity may be advantageous in this type of environment, as it can provide a range of fresh perspectives and ideas.
When constructing a diverse team, you demonstrate that you value and appreciate the individual opinions and experiences of each team member. This sends a clear message that you are committed to creating an environment where everyone can give their all, both to their own personal growth, and the collective success of the group. Having a range of individuals in the team can lead to a wealth of knowledge and creative ideas, and having the right incentives in place will make your team a desirable place to work for talented engineers, who will be keen to collaborate with individuals from a broad range of backgrounds.
As evidence, consider the following statistic: Research has revealed that two thirds of job seekers view workplace diversity as a major factor when looking for employment, with more than half of current employees desiring their companies to undertake more initiatives to promote diversification.
It is reasonable to start the process of finding suitable experts by assessing their core credentials; however, the current situation requires that this approach is broadened. It is not enough to only assess a potential candidate’s soft skills; it is now essential to consider how you can contribute to the process too.
The importance of having a diverse staff should not be underestimated in comparison to providing perks such as free food, telecommuting and a gaming area. In fact, a more varied team composition can benefit everyone on it, as it promotes the exchange of ideas, perspectives and beliefs that may not be present in teams with a more uniform makeup. What’s more, this type of expertise is increasingly attractive to the younger generation, thus widening your potential pool of qualified applicants.
Additionally, your organisation (and you) will receive distinct advantages from embracing other viewpoints. Not only in terms of figures or profitability, but also in terms of different outlooks and understanding of the world. This will, subsequently, have a positive effect on the standard of the software your company provides to the public.