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Diversity in the Workplace: Why it Matters and How We’re Working to Improve

  • 21 May 2021
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Diversity in the Workplace: Why it Matters and How We’re Working to Improve
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To raise awareness about Diversity Day (May 21), our People Experience Team published an insight in the Personio Blog.
I would also like to share it with you all in the Community so you can read it here too, as this is an important topic that matters every single day 
😊


The concept of diversity is a broad one, encompassing elements like age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, gender, and more. With the spotlight on International Diversity Day this week, we’re taking a look at why diversity and inclusion matter in the workplace, ways we’re working to create an inclusive culture, and the actions we’re taking to build a more diverse team.

While we’re certainly trying our best, it’s important to note that we don’t have all the answers. We acknowledge both the significant importance of diversity in the workplace and that we at Personio still have a long way to go. We’re making strides towards improvement, but we know there’s a lot of room for that improvement.

Our goal as an employer is to become the best tech employer in Europe, and to do that we need to continue building a diverse company where every single team member is safe, valued, and able to thrive.

 

 

 

Strengthening the Bottom Line Through Diversity

When viewed through a corporate lens, it’s clear that diversity is important to the bottom line. Multiple studies show that companies with higher levels of diversity are more likely to perform better financially than companies without that diversity.

One McKinsey report finds that “companies in the top quartile for gender or racial and ethnic diversity are more likely to have financial returns above their national industry medians.” Another from the Financial Management Journal measured innovative efficiency, suggesting that companies with “corporate policies that promote more pro-diversity cultures, specifically treatment of women and minorities, enhances future innovative efficiency.”

While these studies and others like them note that correlation does not equal causation, they do show that diverse companies are more likely to make better decisions, foster more creative teams, and have higher employee satisfaction than their less diverse counterparts.

 

 

Diversity and the People Experience

That said, diversity and inclusion are important from far more than just a financial perspective. After all, helping the bottom line is great, but the people are what drive any organization. Being around people – at work and in society – who have different perspectives and thought processes simply makes us better humans, helping us to grow and expand our own perspectives.

Perhaps unsurprisingly given diversity’s positive impact, a lack of diversity also has a proven, negative impact on employees. Harvard Business Review reports that in companies without diverse leadership, “women are 20% less likely than straight white men to win endorsement for their ideas; people of color are 24% less likely; and LGBTQ + are 21% less likely.“

Lack of representation is another consequence of homogenous companies. Having that representation – someone who looks like you, who has shared experiences with you, who can be a role model to you – is a vital part of feeling included and safe in any space. In another study, HBR notes that a lack of representation in the workplace decreases authenticity and commitment in the team. (And, if you need it, that same article includes a compelling moral argument for diversity at work.)

At Personio, diversity takes on another level of meaning. Our core purpose is to enable better organizations – to remove barriers for other companies so that they can provide better people experiences for their employees. And we’re more able to carry out that purpose when every single member of the Personio team feels welcomed, included, and valued.

 

 

How We’re Building an Inclusive Culture

 

We understand the importance of an inclusive culture, and our employee-led Diversity Committee is one way we’re working to build one at Personio. Within it are multiple sub-committees, focused on:

  • Cultural diversity
  • Sexual orientation and gender
  • Neurodiversity and health
  • Age and family friendliness

The goal of these teams is to make Personio a safe workplace across all offices by embracing our cultural, social and personal backgrounds independent of nationality, gender, sexual orientation, condition and age.
One way we do this is by helping to bring visibility, internally and externally, to topics around LGBTQ inclusion, gender neutral communication, and anti-racism. This visibility isn’t just purely educational, but also looks at how we can take concrete action for change – as a team and as individuals.

For example, in June 2020, as Black Lives Matter became a household phrase, the committee created a resource guide to help our employees self-educate on racism. The guide amplified Black voices, listing content like Tupoka Ogette’s book and podcast “Exit Racism” and Reni Eddo-Lodge’s book “Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race.” It also provided ways to support Black-led initiatives, financially and otherwise. The committee then followed up by organizing an employee-wide fundraiser, matched by Personio, and donated the money to Black-led organizations voted on by employees.

And while this provided an opportunity for us to learn and react as a company, we don’t just want to react to issues of diversity and racism. One way we’re being proactive is through #SocialResponsibility, one of our six core values, which we aim to live it out in our everyday lives.

 

 

Taking Action for a More Diverse Company

 

Having an inclusive company culture, and continually seeking to improve it, is our foundation for attracting and retaining diverse talent. However, we know we have a long way to go. While we have 67 nationalities represented at Personio and 50 percent of our employees are women, we recognize that we have few people of color, a fairly low average age, and that women are still underrepresented in teams like senior leadership and engineering.

Some of the actions we’re taking to build a more diverse team at Personio include attending hiring events that are specifically geared toward diverse talent and hosting our own informational events to help attract, for example, more women into our engineering teams.

In addition, we are challenging our end-to-end hiring process in order to avoid any discrimination. This involves using gender-neutral language in our recruiting outreach (which can be a particular struggle in some languages!), Providing anti-bias training and education for our Talent Acquisition team, and utilizing diversity-specific Boolean search strings to actively source diverse talent for job openings.

Our goal as an employer is to become the best tech employer in Europe, and to do that we know we need to continue building a diverse team. We know we have a long way to go, but we are committed to continuing to improve. We one day hope to be the example for other tech and startup companies across Europe.

 

💡​​​​What steps are you or your company taking to create an inclusive culture and build a more diverse team?
Feel free to share your insights or best practices from other companies too, so we can all learn from each other.


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