Kim Peters -
January 17, 2017
Imagine a ring of chairs surrounding a new product. Discussing it are engineers and executives assessing the prototype’s features and market potential, but they’re only seated on one half of the circle. They scrutinize the product extensively from the front but ignore any potential flaws or opportunities for improvement in the parts of the design they can’t see.
Obvious as such an oversight would be, this is effectively what happens when tech companies fail to bring diverse employee perspectives into their decision making. Great Place to Work® recently ranked the country’s Best Workplaces in Technology. And while these standout organizations boast a number of traits that encourage new ideas, we felt it especially important to highlight relationships we discovered between inclusive organizations and innovation.
Across the companies we surveyed--which are all Great Place to Work-Certified--organizations where fewer employees report fair treatment in regard to race or gender tend to score lower on measures of innovation. That result refers to employees of all backgrounds. In addition, we looked specifically at surveys of historically underrepresented groups. And we found that women and employees of color who said they were treated fairly regardless of gender or race were five times more likely to report workplace characteristics linked to innovation. The employees surveyed in these groups also revealed that fair treatment has a significant impact on their levels of:
The most effective employers make a conscious effort to ensure team members of all backgrounds feel connected to the organization and comfortable being themselves at work.
“I feel diversity is just a part of work life, not a goal or a check-box, even though management talks inclusion frequently. I am an older female employee, a second-career engineer, and feel valued for my work experience beyond my engineering and leadership skills,” said one employee at Cisco, one of the Best Workplaces in Technology.
How does that kind of environment happen? There’s no easy answer, but the Best Workplaces offer some thoughtful places to start:
Even with the right programs in place, it takes effort, investment and patience to create a Great Place to Work for All (or #GPTW4ALL, as we like to say on Twitter). It’s well worth it, though, when leaders realize the potential for bigger, better ideas by including many different perspectives at the table. Great Place to Work for All (or , as we like to say on Twitter). It’s well worth it, though, when leaders realize the potential for bigger, better ideas by including many different perspectives at the table.
As an employee at one of the Best Workplaces put it, “The people make Expedia great! We have a diverse team where we value 'being and thinking different.' This gives us an edge in solving problems, as we do not fall into the traps of group think and 'it's always been done this way'.”
Kim Peters leads our Great Place to Work® Certification Program which offers companies the opportunity to measure and build a high-trust workplace culture, get certified and reviewed as a great workplace, and be eligible for all of our Best Workplaces lists, including the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For® list. Kim previously led the creation of Great Place to Work® Reviews, where she focused on helping job seekers understand companies’ workplace cultures. Kim has over 15 years’ leadership experience in the online recruitment industry.
Prior to joining Great Place to Work®, Kim launched and led a number of successful businesses in the recruitment sector including Workopolis.com, Canada’s leading job board, where she was founder and President, and Canwest Mediaworks where she served as Vice President of Online Classifieds and Eluta.ca, a Canadian job search engine combining reviews and job listings.
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