Whenever a manager or someone in HR is hiring developers to form a new development team, the main focus remains on skills. Programming languages, frameworks, libraries, experience, past projects, and even soft abilities like communication and creative thinking are all considered when interviewing potential candidates. Yet, there’s an overlooked aspect that can contribute to your team more than you think – diversity.
Embracing cultural, ethnic, racial, and gender diversity is a smart move in today’s fast-paced and unpredictable world. Not only because there are tangible and measurable benefits but because there are other advantages too that can give your development team an edge over a less diverse group. Here are some of the reasons why you should be hiring diverse developers.
Image by Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE)
1. Diversity increases productivity and performance
As you surely know by now, development teams are always pressured by deadlines and requirements. This can lead to a decrease in the productivity and performance of a team, as the members might start to feel worn out as the project moves on. Though it won’t totally fix the issue, bringing diversity into the mix can shelter your team from the impact and have a beneficial effect on productivity and performance.
How so? Diversity ensures that you have different people with varying degrees of expertise, experience, and approaches to problem-solving that will guarantee different solutions. Additionally, people that don’t necessarily meet eye to eye in certain things (be it because of their cultural background or gender views) can foster a healthy and challenging atmosphere that brings the best out of everyone and prevents them from settling for the status quo.
Stat that supports this claim: businesses with above-average gender diversity and engagement outperform businesses with below-average diversity and engagement by 46% to 58%.
2. Diverse cultural backgrounds bring creativity and innovation
Not settling for the status quo is a key in development, as technologies are always evolving and changing. So, your team can’t afford to stick to a certain way of doing things that can quickly get obsolete. That’s why diversity is so essential for development, as different cultural backgrounds can bring new perspectives to see things differently.
If everyone in your team agreed on everything, then the ideas for the development of different projects might start to look the same. Diverse teams avoid this by hearing the different voices of their members, allowing to meet clients’ demands in new ways. As diverse people share their views, others can learn from them and start thinking outside the box. Exchanging ideas in a heterogenous group will often lead to uncharted territories and innovative solutions.
Stat that supports this claim: companies with higher-than-average diversity had 19% higher innovation revenues.
3. Different cultural backgrounds lead to a broader and more adaptable software
When developing new software, app or platform, developers need to think like users to bring out the best user experience possible. Your development team (which includes UX designers and QA testers) can greatly benefit from the cultural differences brought by its diverse members, as the resulting software can be more adaptable to cater to different audiences.
A diverse team will surely spot a gap in the market or in a particular software faster than a non-diverse group. That’s because each member will bring their particular knowledge, experience, and vision to the table, ensuring that the project exceeds the expectations of the client to satisfy the various needs of the targeted audience (which might be as diverse as the development team). That’s not all. People from different backgrounds can suggest changes to adapt a particular software to a new audience or to meet evolving consumer behavior, thanks to the insight each of them can contribute.
Stat that supports this claim: diverse companies are 45% more likely to get a larger portion of the market
4. Multicultural teams can open new markets
As said above, a diverse group can open new opportunities for you, as they’ll detect emerging trends and missed opportunities in their respective social groups. This can happen whenever new software is released and a certain ethnic group redefines its use to serve a particularly different goal from the one it is intended to. Or it can also happen when new software is about to hit a new market, be it overseas or in a radically different region within the same country.
In such a context, diversity can elevate your team to the next level by giving you local insights, cultural understanding, native language skills, and even local connections that can boost your software’s launch. This directly translates into smoother marketing that, in turn, can drive your profits up, a software coming from a diverse team is more likely to be a more rounded adaptation for that different market.
Stat that supports this claim: diverse companies are 70% more likely to have entered into a new market in the past year.
5. Diversity attracts and retains the best talent
Software development is a very competitive field that has companies poaching candidates from one another. The mobility for the top talent is high, as the very best are tempted by offers from lots of businesses that combine with their own aspirations. There are a lot of factors in play to attract the top talent and retain it, from payments to perks. In that scenario, diversity can work in your favor.
Creating a diverse team means you respect and value the differing opinions of everyone involved. It comes to show that you want everyone to bring their very best for their personal growth but also for the growth of the entire team. Ensuring you have a diverse group is always a great way to be enriched, both professionally and personally. Combine such an approach to team-building with a few additional perks, and it’s highly likely that talented developers will consider working with you first, as they’ll value working alongside globally-minded people.
Stat that supports this claim: 67% of job seekers consider workplace diversity as an important factor when looking for a job, and more than 50% of current employees want their companies to do more to increase diversity.
Though hunting for talented professionals by focusing on the traditional skills is something that you’ll understandably have to do, the modern scenario requires you to go beyond them. It’s not enough to just throw soft skills into the considerations you take when interviewing candidates. Now, you also have to take a look at what you have to offer.
Beyond the free snacks, the flexible hours, and the video game room, you should also ensure that your team is as diverse as possible. That’s because a diverse team can enrich all of its members, by bringing new insights, experiences, and values that might be overlooked in a more homogeneous team. Besides, the younger generations are looking for this kind of experience, so your chances of getting the best talent among them will increase.
What’s more – your business (and yourself!) will benefit from the inclusion of different perspectives. But not just in a measurable or revenue-focused manner but in a more substantial way: in how you see and understand the world around you. This, in turn, will surely translate into the software products you launch to the market.