The Vulcans had it right with their saying “infinite diversity in infinite combination.” Because when you don’t limit your scope of potential combinations, the possibilities are endless.
To be the best at what we do, we want to build a company that values diversity. While discussing diversity can too often seem like a superficial corporate initiative, it’s very significant to us.
At Code Hanger, we believe it is important to be intentional about surrounding ourselves with diverse groups of people. It’s not just going to happen on it’s own.
Most importantly, the biggest reason we think it’s important to be inclusive and foster diversity, is it’s just the right thing to do. Everyone has a right to exist in this world with the same opportunities and freedoms as the next person regardless of their gender, race, sexual orientation, or religion. This is the world we believe in and want to live in, so it’s only natural we would do what we can to foster that within our own company.
It is reasonable to feel most attracted to like-minded people who look like us, and it’s difficult not to build a self-reinforcing echo chamber because of that tendency. To combat that, we know we have to intentionally surround ourselves with people we don’t automatically understand or relate to. Otherwise you just get yes men and stagnant traditional processes.
Intentionally building a company that values diversity takes concerted effort, but the benefits are worth it — and not just for us, but for our team, our clients, and for society at large. Here are just some of the most impactful ways we know that diversity benefits our company’s performance directly.
Diversity Fosters Creativity and Innovation
Teams that have a more diverse staff are measurably more creative and innovative. Homogeneous groups will tend to have overly similar points of view. Their spheres of knowledge will overlap, backgrounds and skill sets will be comparable which can lead to the same strength or weaknesses in a team. They can also share unconscious biases or normative presumptions of how the world works. Therefore, they will often reach similar conclusions.
In contrast, when there is a significant diversity of perspectives based on different lived experiences, teams can find a wider array of solutions to the problems they’re trying to solve.
This is because more perspectives lead to more ideas. When there are more ideas shared collectively, people are better able to tap into more innovative and creative approaches to problem solving as they connect new and interesting possibilities.
Exposure to only limited experiences and points of view can stifle ideas and stultify business processes — and, by extension, creativity — in employees over time. Of course it’s important to continually get stronger at various core skills or specialized areas of expertise. However, it’s also important to continually take in new ideas and ways of thinking and apply them in ways that can help us grow as professionals.
When there are a lot of varied perspectives on our team, we become better able to collectively see problems differently. We can mix and remix solutions proposed by different people and find ways to better serve more diverse customer bases. We collectively share our ideas with each other. This allows us to more efficiently pool them together in order to find creative solutions that hadn’t previously occurred to us.
Diversity Builds Company Confidence with Engaged Employees
We know that we all will do better collectively if we have a team of engaged individuals who work together towards our goals. That’s why we value transparency and openness at Code Hangar. However, in order to foster that transparency, we need to create a team where everyone feels like they have a voice.
One of the most important reasons for keeping an eye on fostering diversity on our team is to avoid echo chamber traps. When a company builds a culture of limited perspectives, it creates a space conducive for everyone to uncritically agree and validate each other, perpetuating status quo practices whether they’re as effective as they could be or not.
Yes, we all love that awesome feeling you get when you are validated. However, it doesn’t always lead to superior quality work. We want to offer the best solutions to our clients.
When everyone who surrounds you isn’t able to offer any significantly different perspectives because theirs are mostly the same as yours, it’s easy to assume that how things have traditionally or recently been done in the past must remain correct or adequately optimal. However, an echo chamber isn’t representative of the entirety of the real world or concerning any potential customer-base. Serious problems can too often result if incorrect assumptions are made in either business or personal relationships.
Disagreements aren’t a bad thing!
Differences are important and often offer crucial perspectives regarding more diverse ways to see and engage with the world. When we automatically choose to reject or exclude opposing points of view, this leads to ignorantly presumptuous and limited thinking.
Instead, we want our team members to feel confident that their points of view are valuable to the success of the team. When employees know their perspectives will be listened to and considered seriously, even if they’re not always agreed with. This way, they’ll feel much more able to be open and share potentially innovative ideas freely.
Diversity Attracts Better Talent and Builds a Better Team
It’s really important for us to build a company that values the people who work for it. However, we also want to attract the best talent we can in order to serve our customers as efficiently and effectively as possible. However, these two ideas are connected rather than at odds.
Hiring a new team member gives us the opportunity to bring a new voice onto the team. These new perspectives help remind us that there is more going on in the world than just what we see in our everyday bubbles.
A big benefit of diversity that affects Code Hangar directly right now is our team’s diversity of location. We have team members scattered all over the country and even the world. Because of this, we are able to see outside of our Central Florida and even America-centric bubble to provide a more global perspective to the work we do, and even our personal lives.
What these varied perspectives help remind us is that social issues don’t play out identically everywhere in the world. Costs of living, culture and customs, and even values vary. These perspectives are valuable and can strengthen our team when a new member joins.
New perspectives can push teams to grow. When we face differences in perspectives, we can become more self aware of our own behavior and how it might affect others. This allows everyone to build better relationships by becoming more empathetic regarding differences between us as well as overarching similarities across cultures.
This also means we always remain open to finding the best talent anywhere — so we don’t limit our searches due to misguided preconceived notions regarding who a new hire needs to be like.
Diversity Solves problems Faster
People with different backgrounds bring more varied ideas to the table. When a diverse staff is in a meeting trying to problem-solve solutions, different perspectives help more efficiently spot flaws with proposed solutions to problems or superior alternative approaches we might not have initially anticipated.
This can include big and obvious things like a new feature idea that helps significantly improve a product. But it can also include more subtle things like having better understandings of the current market or how users might more ideally interact with a piece of technology in ways that might have otherwise gone unnoticed and underserved.
Homogeneous ideas lead to greater possibilities of missing more ideal solutions a problem. In reality, it’s not just that diverse teams are preferable because of an ethic of diversity; they’re preferable because they’re more likely to come up with superior solutions to problems at hand more quickly.
This means that we can build stronger apps faster. Otherwise, a lot of extra time could be wasted releasing limited or presumptuous ideas to the market and waiting on feedback from a diverse group of users. Instead, a more diverse staff can better catch flaws or defects well before significantly more time would need to be invested in building features that ultimately don’t work as well as they should and finding out via customer feedback.
A Diverse Team can Avoid Mistakes Based on Lack of Perspective
A cautionary tale in this regard that always sticks out to us is the mistake and PR nightmare that HealthKit (produced by Apple) caused because they lacked adequate diversity on their team. While the HealthKit allowed users the ability to track health indicators like steps, height, and blood-alcohol content, it lacked a basic menstruation tracker. This missing feature in the design of their product left out a crucial health indicator for a huge percentage of the population, which meant that they weren’t being offered a product by Apple that actually met their needs as promised.
And the biggest reason for this hugely problematic oversight in design? It was because there wasn’t adequate representation of a diversity of people in the design phase of the project.
An important lesson can be learned from Apple’s public mistake where they lost out on potential customers due to such a glaringly missing product feature. While the mistake might seem obvious to some, it wasn’t when they designed the product. However, if Apple had better prioritized putting together a diverse design team, they wouldn’t have been in danger of producing a one-sided solution.
A Wider Customer Base is Serviced Better by Diverse Teams
We believe diversity is important: not just at Code Hangar, but in all of society, when it comes to better problem solving. It’s important to not deny the needs and viewpoints of marginalized people — or presume that the only important or most profitable priority is to serve what might be considered the normative point of view.
To us, it’s not good to build systems around edge cases or situations that don’t occur often. On a homogenous team, marginalized voices could be seen as these edge cases that don’t need to be addressed. Instead, on a diverse, open team, their points of view are valued as part of a broader and more pluralistically representative normative point of view where they also need to be centered.
It Makes the Most Business Sense to Build a Diverse Company
The simplest and most straightforward answer regarding why diversity is valued at Code Hangar we saved for last. Honestly, it makes the most financial sense to value and build a diverse team.
We highlighted this earlier by pointing out how time can be saved by avoiding onerous and costly mistakes — and how a stronger app can be built faster by having a wider variety of perspectives to offer creativity and innovation.
However, we also know that more diverse companies have tended to be more profitable, overall — especially those companies which have a lot of diversity among directors and other high level management positions.
With more diverse ways to get the job done considered, discovered, and implemented when warranted, we can learn how to be much more efficient in the work that we do. We can more easily access a wider pool of the best and brightest ideas and apply them to our company’s practices and technology stacks. We can design superior workflows and iterate toward all the best increasingly efficient techniques and approaches we can find.
That means we’re able to be more flexible, more effective, and to respond better and faster than the competition. This is a straightforward win for everyone: including our customers, our employees, and Code Hangar as a company.
Want to get started working with a software team that values diversity and transparency in order to build stronger products for you that can reach and appeal to a wider base of potential customers? Check out our 8-week MVP program or get a custom quote for a project today!
About Author: Code Hangar
Code Hangar is a software development company that builds amazing web, iOS, and Android apps for startups that are ready to launch ASAP. Are you ready?