In recent years a body of research has revealed another, more nuanced benefit of workplace diversity: nonhomogenous teams are simply smarter. Working with people who are different from you may challenge your brain to overcome its stale ways of thinking and sharpen its performance. Let’s dig into why diverse teams are smarter.
They Focus More on Facts
People from diverse backgrounds might actually alter the behavior of a group’s social majority in ways that lead to improved and more accurate group thinking. In a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, scientists assigned 200 people to six-person mock jury panels whose members were either all white or included four white and two black participants. The people were shown a video of a trial of a black defendant and white victims. They then had to decide whether the defendant was guilty.
It turned out that the diverse panels raised more facts related to the case than homogenous panels and made fewer factual errors while discussing available evidence. If errors did occur, they were more likely to be corrected during deliberation. One possible reason for this difference was that white jurors on diverse panels recalled evidence more accurately.
Other studies have yielded similar results. In a series of experiments conducted in Texas and Singapore, scientists put financially literate people in simulated markets and asked them to price stocks. The participants were placed in either ethnically diverse or homogenous teams. The researchers found that individuals who were part of the diverse teams were 58% more likely to price stocks correctly, whereas those in homogenous groups were more prone to pricing errors, according to the study, published in the journal PNAS. Diverse teams are more likely to constantly reexamine facts and remain objective. They may also encourage greater scrutiny of each member’s actions, keeping their joint cognitive resources sharp and vigilant. By breaking up workplace homogeneity, you can allow your employees to become more aware of their own potential biases — entrenched ways of thinking that can otherwise blind them to key information and even lead them to make errors in decision-making processes.
They Process Those Facts More Carefully
Greater diversity may also change the way that entire teams digest information needed to make the best decisions. In a study published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin,
Katherine Phillips of Northwestern University and her team divided sorority or fraternity members into four-member groups, each of which had to read interviews conducted by a detective investigating a murder.
Three people in every group, referred to as “oldtimers” in the study, came from the same sorority or fraternity, whereas the fourth, the so-called “newcomer,” was either a member of the same sorority or fraternity or a different one. The three oldtimers in each group gathered to decide who was the most likely murder suspect. Five minutes into their discussion, the newcomer joined the deliberation and expressed their opinion as to who the suspect was.
It turned out that although groups with out-group newcomers felt less confident about the accuracy of their joint decisions, they were more likely to guess who the correct suspect was than those with newcomers who belonged to the same group.
The scientists think that diverse teams may outperform homogenous ones in decision making because they process information more carefully. Remember: Considering the perspective of an outsider may seem counterintuitive, but the payoff can be huge.
They’re Also More Innovative
To stay competitive, businesses should always continue to innovate. One of the best ways to boost their capacity to transform themselves and their products may involve hiring more women and culturally diverse team members, research suggests. In a study published in Innovation: Management, Policy & Practice, the authors analyzed levels of gender diversity in research and development teams from 4,277 companies in Spain. Using statistical models, they found that companies with more women were more likely to introduce radical new innovations into the market over a two-year period.
In another study, published in Economic Geography, the authors concluded that increased cultural diversity is a boon to innovativeness. They pooled data on 7,615 firms that participated in the London Annual Business Survey, a questionnaire conducted with the UK capital’s executives that asks a number of questions about their companies’ performance. The results revealed that businesses run by culturally diverse leadership teams were more likely to develop new products than those with homogenous leadership.
Though you may feel more at ease working with people who share your background, don’t be fooled by your comfort. Hiring individuals who do not look, talk, or think like you can allow you to dodge the costly pitfalls of conformity, which discourages innovative thinking.
In a nutshell, enriching your employee pool with representatives of different genders, races, and nationalities is key for boosting your company’s joint intellectual potential. Creating a more diverse workplace will help to keep your team members’ biases in check and make them question their assumptions. At the same time, we need to make sure the organization has inclusive practices so that everyone feels they can be heard. All of this can make your teams smarter and, ultimately, make your organization more successful, whatever your goals.
Now what could one face while working with a diverse team yes, there is going to be both advantages and at the same time disadvantages working with diverse groups again the advantages are not without challenges.
CHALLENGES OF DIVERSITY IN THE WORKPLACE
Communication – Cultural and language barrier are one of the most important factor and it needs to be overcome in order to succeed diversity programs. An ineffective communication of the key objectives which would reflect in confusion, low morale and lack of team work.
Resistance to change – This is one of the most important aspect as change is bound to happen and there are employees who would refuse to accept the fact that cultural and social makeup of workplace changes. The “we’ve always done it this way” mentality silences new ideas and inhibits progress.
Implementation of diversity in the workplace policies – This can be the overriding challenge to all diversity advocates. Armed with the results of employee assessments and research data, they must build and implement a customized strategy to maximize the effects of diversity in the workplace for their particular organization.
Successful Management of Diversity in the Workplace – Diversity training alone is not sufficient for any organization’s diversity management plan. A strategy must be created and implemented in order to create a culture of diversity that permeates every department and function of the organization.
BENEFITS OF WORKPLACE DIVERSITY
So what benefits by having a diverse workforce that organization’s success and competitiveness depends upon its ability to embrace diversity and realize the benefits. When organizations actively assess their handling of workplace diversity issues, develop and implement diversity plans, multiple benefits are reported such as:
It is believed and I would also agree on the fact that organizations employing a diverse workforce can supply a greater variety of solutions to problems in service, sourcing, and allocation of resources. Employees from diverse backgrounds bring individual talents and experiences in suggesting ideas that are flexible in adapting to fluctuating markets and customer demands.
BROADER SERVICE RANGE
Well having a diverse collection of skills and experiences (e.g. languages, cultural understanding) allows a company to provide service to customers on a global basis.
VARIETY OF VIEWPOINTS
A diverse workforce would feel comfortable communicating varying points of view provides a larger pool of ideas and experiences. From the organizational perspective it can draw from that pool to meet its business strategy needs and the needs of its customers more effectively.
MORE EFFECTIVE EXECUTION
It’s more common that companies that encourage diversity in the workplace inspire all of their employees to perform to their highest ability. Company-wide strategies can then be executed; resulting in higher productivity, profit, and return on investment.
Here is Belbin’s approach in working with a diverse workforce, he believes that diverse teams would perform better or achieve great results because having people from different skills set and clubbing all opinions and ideas would definitely help in improving and taking the performance of the team to the next level.
Just imagine a team with people of the same skill set and thinking in the same line with no difference it could just be one person instead of it being called as a team but in same line imagine a team with different skills set like one of the team member could be a plant: innovative in nature and this person could help in getting new ideas/thoughts and different way of working making things east due to his/her uniqueness and having another person who could be a resource investigator trying to find opportunities for expansion plans may be and another person where they could be an implementer of the plans being organized. thereby, by having a look into number of factors while working with diverse workforce, it’s definitely beneficial working with diverse workforce apart from the challenges. But those challenges could be responded as an opportunity