Diversity Is The Key Ingredient In Our Secret Sauce

Carol DunniganFor a culture that inspires people to do their best work

Written by Carol Dunnigan, SVP of People & Culture at Compeat, for HR.com

Plenty of evidence supports that a diverse workforce is good for business. Research by McKinsey, Gallup and others have proven that a more inclusive environment drives innovation, business growth and overall better business performance.

At Compeat, we couldn’t agree more. And it’s exactly why we made gender equality among our leadership team a priority.

We’re a Rare Breed
As a technology company, this is extremely rare. But we know that diversity is the critical ingredient in our secret sauce.

In 2017, when we hired our first female executive, our leadership team made the strategic decision to aggressively pursue female talent to round out our C-suite. This wasn’t a strategy aimed at simply checking a box or to gain recognition—it was a calculated decision based on proven benefits that aligned with our goals to maximize innovation, enhance our product and service offering and drive company growth.

Why Diversity Matters to Us
Focusing on inclusion and implementing a diverse culture has helped us to become a more agile and customer-focused organization. Because we approach business problems with a more diverse perspective, we’re able to leverage a broader base of creativity and input, and our decisions are more insightful and thoughtful because we each come at the challenge or situation from a unique point of view.

And it can also be a powerful strategic advantage in some less obvious ways. It has substantially bolstered our talent recruiting and retention. Because we’re diverse, we attract and retain top performers who know they will fit in among our tapestry of genders, cultures, lifestyles, and interests. They come to us and stay with us, knowing they will be supported in their career and personal growth goals.

Our diversity also makes us a better place to work. Our employees know that work/life balance is important in our culture because they see it in action—even our CEO has to be out the door by 5 p.m. when it’s his turn to handle dinner, bath and bedtime duty. But that balance extends beyond traditional family/gender roles. We have employees who have trained for a marathon by asking to come in two hours late twice a week to get in an extra-long run during daylight hours, a dad who wanted to leave early one day a week to pick his child up from school, and a devoted daughter who needed a two-hour lunch break once a week to take her father to chemo treatment.

The Payoff
Our flexibility and acceptance of diverse lifestyles have come back to us in spades. In every case, these employees devote far more than the typical 40-hour work week to the company. They’re dedicated, conscientious top performers and this culture of support breed better engagement, job satisfaction, and collaboration. And, it attracts more top performers, which is a crucial differentiator for our company. I have no doubt that our people do their best work for us, even though it may not fit within a typical 9-to-5 workday.

For us, diversity and inclusion best practices are simple: recruit and hire the best talent from all walks of life and treat them as a whole person, not just as a worker. Model the work/life balance and flexibility that everyone deserves, as well as the dedication and commitment to achieving company goals.

The result is a culture that inspires people to do their best work, to develop and thrive as an employee and as a person, which in turn helps your company grow to its fullest potential.

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