No Excuses: Achieving New Innovation by Making Diversity a Core Value
Let me cut to the chase: unless you make diversity a core value for your company, it’s not going to happen. I can hear you thinking…does this really matter to me or my business? My answer is YES, it does. Studies show that a diverse team 100% affects your bottom line. One of the main reasons that diversity leads to a greater variety perspectives. A greater variety of perspectives leads to a greater variety of input – the magic ingredient for out-of-the-box thinking. This wider range of input gives you a broader basis for innovation – the ability to make the unique creative connections that will vault your business to the forefront of the life-sciences industry, truly energizing those who work in and with your team.
Beyond that, and whether or not you believe in the importance of this source of innovation inspiration, the bottom line is that diversity is increasingly becoming an EU requirement. In the face of these international industry changes, we want to help you not only keep up with the times but thrive in our ever-more-diverse, ever-more-connected world.
Why YOUR Company Needs Diversity
Whether your company is a (specialty) CRO or another company operating in the pharmaceutical, biotech or medical-device industries, the field in which you work is constantly and quickly changing and developing. Diversity is the key to producing the fresh ideas and disruptive thinking needed to adapt to (or even lead) these changes. To not only help your business succeed, but also help to make our industry a better one in which to work. Luckily, more and more companies are recognizing that diverse leadership is a necessity to stay competitive in our modern world.
Business and world-saving concerns aside, being part of a dynamically diverse team feels good. Both women and men who work in organizations with policies and practices in place to encourage gender diversity report more positive feelings about their ambitions, pay and career opportunities. And it’s also just fun.
However, 72% of respondents to the 2016 Hays Gender Diversity report said that their organization did not have such policies in place, or that they were not aware of such policies. Another report found that, while 74% of companies report that their CEO is highly committed to gender diversity, less than half of the employees themselves believed that the CEO was committed, and only one third thought that this was a top priority for their direct manager. Clearly, many companies are still struggling with making (or at least communicating and enacting) diversity a priority – which is no longer an option with the advent of gender quotas.
The good news is that diversity is not hard to achieve, once you set your company mind to it. Many have done it already – including Seuss. The key is to make it a core value, incorporating diversity goals into your company’s overall mission and vision. If your company is led by these and your core values (as they should be anyway), putting the appropriate policies in place should be a matter of course. This doesn’t need to be a difficult or expensive process! It just requires a commitment.
Make sure you have the best people on your team to realize this ambition. Having launched our company with a diverse start-up team, for us diversity came easily. Of course there are challenges, but our experiences show us that being confronted by these and working through them actually leads to better outcomes. We’re a brand-led business with the core values of being decent, disruptive and fun. Note that we don’t explicitly state “diversity” as a core value, but it is inherent in the three values that we do express. It is what helps us stay both competitive and ethical.
Diversity also comes naturally to us because we ourselves have been on the receiving end of such pro-diversity practices, and we have seen the benefits of this to not only our own careers but to the companies who gave us those opportunities. For example, my co-founding partner Sabine Hutchison at first felt like a fish out of water when she, as an American, relocated to Germany and sought work there. Luckily for her (and her new employer), someone saw her potential and, furthermore, saw the potential benefits of hiring someone with a different background and set of experiences. Her can-do attitude served her, and her new company, very well. This was just the opportunity she needed to prove herself a leader in the life-sciences world.
By offering that same chance to other “non-traditional” candidates, we’ve been able to connect with a wider variety of audiences and generate the sorts of surprising ideas that really get our team excited and that have helped our “small yet mighty” start-up grow.
What we do not believe in at Seuss, is hiring diverse people just for the sake of being diverse. If we don’t feel that the candidate has more to offer us than that. However, we do believe in cutting through the politics – within the company or EU-wide – to simply recruit the best leaders overall: those who can manage people and tasks well, inspire innovation and, yes, offer the fresh perspectives that give a company that extra edge.