Our Approach to Diversity
We’re proud to say that Mudano has just won an award in the Diversity and Inclusion category at the UK FinTech Awards 2020.
The reason we’re telling you isn’t to show off about our shiny new award (well, it’s not the only reason!) but we thought it would be an opportune time to share some of the benefits that diversity brings to our business.
Our approach may not be the right one for every organisation, but we think it’s important to share how we approach diversity to at least be a starting point for others.
Beyond a business case
The business case for diversity has been made ad nauseam with a stack of studies showing how a diverse workforce can help businesses in a huge number of ways, driving diversity of thought, innovation, progress, visibility and growth.
For example, a Boston Consulting Group study found that companies with more diverse management teams have 19% higher revenues due to innovation whilst a 2018 Hays Asia Diversity and Inclusion report pointed to improved company culture, leadership and greater innovation as the top three benefits of diversity.
And the business case will only grow as workforce demographics shift. By the year 2025, 75% of the global workforce will be made up of millennials and a 2018 Deloitte Survey shows that 74% of these individuals believe their organization is more innovative when it has a culture of inclusion. As HBR says: the business case is clear. So act.
The importance of a workspace
We wholeheartedly believe that diversity of thought makes for more innovative organisations. And the proof for that is in the way that we know how by only listening to one type of person, we’re only going to hear one voice. And that stymies innovation, experimentation and growth. Oh, and, quite frankly it is simply the right thing to do.
You need diversity to bring different voices to your organisation. But even when you’ve got a range of voices to choose from, organisations can wonder how to get the most out of listening to them. It can sound a little bit Catch-22, but to reap the benefits, you need a workspace (or the potential for a workspace) that feels agile and culturally enabled, that respects and connects different people across the organisation. In a nutshell, that is what being diverse is. But it doesn’t happen overnight.
And that’s why it’s okay to be transparent when setting out on the journey towards diversity. There is no problem saying, “this is who we are – we know we need to do a lot of things better.” In fact, sharing the journey and opening up about problems that you’re having along the way can build trust amongst your own workforce and external stakeholders. By being honest, all stakeholders will know that you’re seeking diversity for the right reasons. So, let them in.
The diversity of diversity
A vital step towards diversity is to define what it means to your organisation, given what you do and how you work. Every organisation will be different. Each will benefit in different ways.
Whatever the ideal outcome is for an organisation, it should be able to chart a path towards it. This journey should involve a range of people in the planning and decision-making process. The course shouldn’t just be plotted by those at the top of the tree or considered as a ‘side of desk’ activity for others in the organisation. It needs to be a priority for everyone.
Diversity of thought means an immense amount of value to the organisation. It’s always an organisation-wide pursuit, as that is the only way everyone will benefit.
Diversity to us
Our core values at Mudano reflect teamwork and a clear mission. We take risks, which breeds trust. We flatten our hierarchy to avoid creating cultures of HIPPO decision making. As a result, we promote innovation and encourage people to do things like ‘idea time’, like to encourage us all to set aside a portion of our work time to cultivate and pursue innovative ideas that excite us. And that’s just one example but the point is to strive to build a culture of collaboration and connectivity, a culture which works for everyone.
Underpinning these values is the idea that we rarely want to work in silos. By breaking free of bubbles and introspection, we know we can access a breadth of thought and opinion that will benefit the company over the long run. That is not to dismiss leadership, both from a general point of view but also the leadership of each individual diversity community. Leadership drives passion and commitment which lifts the entire diversity message across the company. In short, if more diverse opinions are brought to the table, if different people are included in the conversation the the ultimate outcome will be better.
Realistic but ambitious
When setting out to become more diverse, organisations must be realistic. There is no silver bullet that turns an organisation into a diverse melting pot of opinion and thought. Rather, it’s a slow and steady process that should be measured in terms of successes and accomplishments.
Awareness can be enough. The point is to embrace diversity and to be inclusive. This can start small but it must be active and dynamic. It can’t be side-step events, or things that people don’t feel part of. It must be driven by working groups and allow people to speak openly, connecting a diversity of thought and of debate in a trusting environment to flow and flourish.
You’ll be amazed at the confidence and creativity it brings to those that are involved and the value that starts to percolate throughout other value-driven areas of the business. All it takes is the willingness to start.
And despite now being award winning, we still have a long way to go and that’s okay, but our North Star is to be a truly inclusive and diverse organisation for the benefit of all.