Diversity – A Competitive Advantage
October 31, 2016
Recently, Austin HR was approached by a reporter from the Austin American-Statesman’s online 512tech site to provide a perspective on the topic of diversity as a strategic advantage. The thrust of the article was that more and more companies are embracing the benefits of a diverse workforce.
As the writer, Omar Gallaga, notes: “The argument that diversity isn’t just good for a company’s optics but that it has been quantitatively proven to bear out in the bottom line is one reason why the tech industry is taking the issue more seriously in recent years. Research last year from McKinsey & Company suggested that workplaces with more gender and ethnic diversity are more likely to outperform national industry medians. Companies in the top quarter in terms of racial and ethnic diversity that McKinsey & Company studied were 35 percent more likely to have returns about industry medians, for instance. It’s findings like this that have caused some of the movement in the tech industry to make diversity more than just a talking point.”
Austin HR has been training managers for years on the advantage of a diverse team leading to more creative problem-solving. The edge for a company is to bring in individuals who have life experiences significantly different than their colleagues.
The 512tech article goes on to note: “David Hughen, a principal and managing partner at Austin HR, which handles human resources services for many companies, says he frames the issue for company leaders a matter of strategic advantage. ‘Companies trying to differentiate themselves in the marketplace through their technology, products and services, they have to set themselves apart in meaningful ways,’ Hughen said. ‘It’s not a ‘nice to do’ or checking a box for diversity. You’re leveraging ideas you never would have if everyone looked and acted the same way. This is critical for a company.’ But seeking out that talent, Hughen says, ‘That takes more work.’ He does see change happening, particularly in the ways that tech companies are reaching out to organizations that promote people of color, women and non-traditional tech workers (some of whom may be older or have experience outside of tech).”