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D&I boosts innovation. You should invest in it

Diversity has become a trend, and for a good reason

Over the recent few years, more and more companies have focused on fostering diversity and inclusion. It’s not done merely for PR purposes or even promoting a more inclusive workplace. There is sound logic behind efforts to make the workplace more varied, and the case for more diversity remains solid and strong. 

A mounting body of evidence shows that companies with a more well-rounded workforce are generally more successful. According to a study from McKinsey, ethnically diverse companies are 36% more likely to outperform those that are less inclusive. Moreover, gender-diverse companies are significantly more likely to perform better than their more male-dominated peers. 

There also seems to be a direct link between D&I and innovation. A study from Harvard Business Review found that diverse companies had a 19% higher revenue from their recent innovations. This advantage helped those companies also display a better financial performance overall. 

How diversity can help a business

Diversifying a company offers multiple benefits. Perhaps the most important one is the fact that people from different backgrounds think differently, which can bring new outlooks to the table and lead to greater innovation. Having a larger pool of talents to pull from also means that businesses will have a better chance of finding competent employees in today’s competitive labour market. 

Because diverse teams include a large number of people groups, they also offer a better chance of unlocking untapped market potential. According to HBR, when at least one team member has some traits in common with the end user, the entire team is able to understand that user better, which can lead to the development of more user-oriented services and products. A team who shares a client’s ethnicity is 152% likelier to understand them than any other team..

Our experience

At Geeks, we realised the value of innovation for our business very early on. In 2012, we established Geeks Academy with the aim to educate an efficient and diverse tech workforce. Our traineeship programs are open to anyone who has a passion for the tech industry, regardless of their educational background, ethnicity, or gender. 

The program has been a huge success, and more than 130 trainees have successfully graduated from Geeks Academy so far. Many Geeks have stayed on and now hold leadership positions.

The notable thing is that our trainees often come from non-tech backgrounds. For example, Lindsay worked in law before becoming a technologist, and we have quite a few people who used to work in the tourism and hospitality sector and find them to have many transferable skills, especially in our client-facing roles.

On top of Geeks Academy, our #geekess initiative aims to challenge the gender imbalance in UK tech. With many tech influencers being men, it is not easy for women to see themselves as technologists or even know of the many diverse roles in the tech sector. However, the fact of the matter is that women often make for great, passionate ladders, and the businesses with more female leaders outperform male-dominated ones. 

The takeaway

The data is in and the logic is strong. It’s time for businesses to roll up their sleeves and get diversifying. Inclusion breeds innovation, and it may be what your company needs to grow. If you don’t put diversity high on your agenda, you may well find yourself falling behind.