Diverse Teams Do Better. Here’s How to Build One.

Hiring people from different backgrounds spurs innovation and creativity — these companies are proving it.

Written by Avery Komlofske
Published on Jan. 05, 2022
Diverse Teams Do Better. Here’s How to Build One.
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Diversity is good for businesses — and the statistics back that up.

McKinsey’s Delivering Through Diversity report revealed that companies in the top quartile of gender and ethnic diversity in their leadership were 21 percent and 33 percent more likely to have above-average profitability, respectively. On the other hand, those in the bottom quartile were 29 percent less likely to outperform on profits. The power of a diverse team is especially evident to the companies that have achieved the most success. In a Forbes survey, 85 percent of participants — all of which were companies with over $500 million in revenue — agreed that a diverse workforce was necessary to foster creativity and innovation.

This all makes sense, as having a variety of different perspectives would lead to more creative solutions. And innovation is essential in the world of tech today — with the world changing as quickly and frequently as it does, it’s difficult to predict what new pain points will need to be addressed.

Knowing the necessity of a diverse team is one thing, but actually building one is another — and there is no foolproof technique to make that happen. Thankfully, there are plenty of companies that have accepted the challenge and prioritized improving diversity, equity and inclusion in 2022. To learn more, Built In Chicago spoke to employees from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and Home Chef to see what steps they are taking in the new year to improve the diversity of their teams — and the company as a whole.

 

Devin Patterson
Assistant Vice President, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion • Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago

 

What’s one way you’re committing to improving diversity, equity and inclusion at your company in 2022?

We are increasing the diversity of our workforce. Specifically, we have committed to increasing representation of people of color at the executive level over the next three years.

 

What do you plan to do to fulfill this commitment?

We plan on fulfilling this commitment through recruitment, sponsorship and leadership development. But a large part of our efforts around increasing diversity at the executive level is focused on retaining, growing and advancing our current talent who are people of color, while ensuring the organizational environment is inclusive for all employees. Executives and people leaders hold the lion’s share of responsibility in creating and maintaining an inclusive environment — their daily words, actions and decisions set the example, tone and expectations for their teams on how to operate successfully.

Big picture, increasing representation of our workforce is a business imperative.”

 

Why have you decided to make this commitment a priority this year? And how are you holding yourself accountable to it?

Big picture, increasing representation of our workforce is a business imperative. As a central bank, we serve and support a diverse range of communities and businesses across a multi-state region — to be effective, we must have a deep understanding of the issues, opportunities and obstacles faced by these groups. A diverse workforce ensures that we have a wide breadth of perspectives at the table when developing ideas and solving challenges, and an inclusive culture ensures we consider all perspectives — leading to better work outcomes and higher staff engagement.

Our focus on diversity at the executive level is two-fold. Representation of people of color at the executive level significantly trails the rest of the organization — and executives have the greatest influence over creating and sustaining a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment. This commitment will expedite achievement of our DEI strategy and goals.

One way we’re driving accountability is by being transparent with our staff. We’ve broadly communicated our organizational DEI strategy and goals to all employees, and we’ve shared the measures we’ll use to gauge our progress and committed to regular updates.

 

 

Jasmine Primm
Director of DEI & Employee Relations • Home Chef

 

What’s one way you’re committing to improving diversity, equity and inclusion at your company in 2022?

We are excited about what 2022 is going to bring at Home Chef! We spent 2021 preparing and educating our people leaders on what it means to be a leader who champions and leverages diversity in the workplace. Now, it is time to turn on the lights for all of our employees through engagement, culture, values and positive employee relations.

One of our biggest goals for 2022 is engaging our hourly employee population and doubling our employee recognition group membership by launching ERGs in our plant facilities. The goal is to reach 1,000 ERG members in 2022 — that will equate to roughly 25 percent of our employee population being engaged in conversations and events with DEI educational and engagement opportunities.

 

What do you plan to do to fulfill this commitment?

We are beyond excited about what this means for our people. This means that ERGs will be accessible to all employees — no matter what facility you work in, if you’re remote, what shift you work or if you are hourly or salary. Creating equity and access to ERG events is a major step. 

We wouldn’t be able to fulfill this commitment without the phenomenal work done by our ERG Leaders and plant liaisons. Their dedication to bringing relevant, real-time education and engaging subject matter, and leveraging technology to ensure accessibility is allowing us to take ERGs and engagement to the next level.

Our leadership team has fully committed their support — executives sponsor all of our ERGs and attend and engage in events regularly.

It's time to turn on the lights for all of our employees through engagement, culture, values and positive employee relations.”

 

Why have you decided to make this commitment a priority this year? And how are you holding yourself accountable to it?

Our 2022 commitment to engaging our hourly and frontline employees is a part of a larger initiative to continue to create memorable experiences within the workplace by engaging our largest employee population. Our plant teams make what we all do possible by executing on the culmination of our company goals and initiatives, and delivering fast, fresh meals to our customers.

2022 is all about keeping our customers first — internally and externally — and that means enhancing the employee experience. I have been working closely with our people, operations and benefits team to further enhance the employee experience in and out of the workplace with 2022 initiatives that span from our people team’s transportation initiative for plant employees to working through ESL accessibility to all employees for next year. 

We are excited to discuss how DEI and the benefits team will be partnering closely together for next year!

 

Responses have been edited for length and clarity. Images via listed companies and Shutterstock.

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