Having a team that comes from different backgrounds can have an impact on how a company performs. According to TechStar's report, founders see the real value that comes from building a diverse team, like enhancing creativity and innovation, improving problem-solving, and providing greater access to talent.
Having a team of people who come from different places allows you to validate how people will receive your product or service from around the world. It’s almost impossible to develop something that’s going to fit the needs of all of the types of people, so having more insights can have a huge impact on a product’s success.
“More diverse companies, we believe, are better able to win top talent and improve their customer orientation, employee satisfaction, and decision making, and all that leads to a virtuous cycle of increasing returns.” This results in teams with a variety of perspectives, which create conflict that drives innovation. In the end, having unique perspectives will help companies to refine their unique selling propositions and pivot when necessary.
Even though it's clear that having a diverse company comes with plenty of advantages, businesses still struggle to take action that would result in having a much more culturally diverse team. As we learned during one of our Talking Talent events, one of the first steps towards building a diverse team is to educate the team about how to create a more diverse team within the company and then put these learnings into practice.
Yet, it is also important to have a balance in the hiring process, since focusing just on diversity may result in some issues with people not feeling included. As Paolo Gaudiano wrote for Forbes.com:
[...] companies pledge to increase diversity by focusing on hiring “diverse candidates,” but then these diverse candidates find themselves in an environment that is unwelcoming or sometimes downright hostile, which ultimately results in decreased ability to attract and retain talent, decreased productivity, and decreased market share.
Diversity is one of the most important topics for all of us at ACELR8. We take on initiatives such as our recent event focused on diverse hiring and our video on Pride. We closely collaborate with our clients to help them embrace the diversity in their companies, on a recruitment level and beyond, but also keeping the healthy balance. We always do our best to create diverse hiring strategies and train each other, as well as our clients on what can be done to improve it and remove any biases.
Our team itself is also pretty diverse, but Michael, the CEO, never intentionally thought about making it like this in the first place. This is what he said about his approach to recruitment: "be blind and hire on people’s core values and do question your biases during the interview process". To better understand and be critical about the diversity of our own team, we ran an internal questionnaire focused on how we identify ourselves. Here are some insights!
How do ACELR8ers identify themselves?
Gender — most of our teammates identify themselves as a man, and women make 40% of the team.
Sexual orientation — 25% of ACELR8 consider themselves as part of the LGBTQ+ community.
Racial and ethnic identity — 78% of our team identify themselves as either European or White, and the remaining 22% is really diverse and includes East Asians, Africans, Hispanic/Latin, Middle Easterners, and Caribbeans.
Age — most of ACELR8's team is 26-30 years old, and we definitely lack diversity in that regard. According to the report from Jobspotting, Berlin Startups Jobs, and Aalen University, 40% of people working in startups in Berlin are in the very 26-30 years old segment, 20-25 and 31-35 take around 23% each. We want to do more by hiring people from a broader age spectrum.
Languages — 45% of our team are native English-speakers, but we also know 12 other languages! The most common ones are German, French, and Spanish. We also speak Dutch, Russian, Cantonese, Georgian, Latvian, Luganda, Mandarin, Polish, and Portuguese.
Nationalities — we come from 13 different countries: UK, USA, Netherlands, France, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Uganda, Brazil, China, Georgia, Hong Kong, and Latvia.
Religion — 75% of people in our company are not religious, and the rest are Christians, Buddhists, and Utilitarian Universalists.
Even though we are proud of the numbers above, especially considering the size of the team as relatively small, we believe that there is still room for improvement regarding building a diverse team at ACELR8.
We also work actively with our clients to show them the importance of having a diverse team as well as helping them in building one. With the progress of globalisation, moving to different countries becoming easier, and the fast development of the startup industry, it's crucial that we will keep on building more open companies too.