15 Experts Weigh In On The Importance Of Diversity In The Workplace

June 27, 2019
Updated: July 3, 2019
Written by Built In Staff

Diversity and inclusion is a phrase used loosely in professional settings today, but to countless employees who bring value and new perspectives to the companies they work for, its importance cannot be overstated. 

To the people the initiatives are directed at, diversity and inclusion are far more than buzzwords — they’re indicators of acceptance in the workplace, and assurance that others like them will be met with open arms as well. In that spirit, we asked leaders at 15 tech companies to discuss why diversity in the workplace is so important to success.

 

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via Paro 

Paro

Paro is a platform that connects freelance finance professionals, like CFOs, accountants, bookkeepers and CPAs, to companies in need of on-demand, remote work. We spoke with Product Manager Kody Myers.

Why is diversity important in the workplace?

I came out five years ago. After I came out, it took time to be fully me in all aspects of my life, especially at work. Paro was the first workplace where I’ve been unapologetic about who I am and been embraced for it. I produce better ideas and state my opinion more frequently when I bring my full self to the table. When people can raise difficult issues, voice concerns, provide honest feedback and be celebrated for who they are — that is what leads to innovation and growth. 

 

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Via ShopRunner

ShopRunner

ShopRunner is a members-only service that gives consumers perks like free returns and two-day shipping when they shop online with the company’s 100-plus partners. We spoke with Rachel Kraska, Senior Manager of Talent.

Why is diversity important in the workplace?

Our product is used by people of all races, religions, genders and ages. We cannot be successful as a product if we don’t have people within our company who reflect our members.

Hiring and promotion processes aren’t fair. I’m lucky enough to have a job where I can do something about that.

In my 20-plus years working, I’ve been the recipient of discrimination based on my gender, religion and age. It doesn’t feel good, and it’s given me a large dose of empathy for everybody else who’s been there and experienced far worse than I have. Hiring and promotion processes aren’t fair. I’m lucky enough to have a job where I can do something about that.

 

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Via Sittercity

Sittercity

Sittercity helps parents hire professional caregivers for their children through an online marketplace. We spoke with Director of Engineering Jazmin Schroeder.

Why is diversity important in the workplace?

Our core business is to connect people, and we simply can’t be successful if we ignore our diverse member base. We strive to consider many different viewpoints at every step of the way in order to understand the people we serve. That means listening, not only to our own team members, but to families and those who come in for user research, conferences we choose to sponsor or attend, and guest speakers we invite.

 

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Via Vrbo

Vrbo

Vrbo helps people book vacation rentals, from mountain cabins to beach cabanas, in every corner of the world. This global perspective is an integral part of the Vrbo employee philosophy. We spoke with VP of Human Resources Ana Mitrasevic.

Why is diversity important in the workplace?

There are plenty of studies that show that diversity helps companies flourish financially. And it goes without saying that inclusive hiring practices help companies attract the best talent. We take it one step further: around here, we believe you can’t build great, innovative products without having a diversity of perspective that only comes from a group of employees with diverse backgrounds.

Making sure your culture caters to introverts and extroverts is something that many companies don’t think about.

We embrace a broad view of diversity that includes factors that are often overlooked. One example of this is communication diversity: making sure your culture caters to introverts and extroverts is something that many companies don’t think about but that can have a huge impact on employee experience and the free exchange of ideas.

 

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Via Ping Identity

Ping Identity 

Ping Identity works to build a unique security platform that keeps your information protected, yet accessible, wherever you go, based on your unique ID. We spoke with Software Engineer Anthony Dombrowski.

Why is diversity important in the workplace?

Diversity and inclusion are important parts of ensuring the tech ecosystem continues in the best way possible. Technology pervades nearly everything in our lives and is only increasing with time. Without diversity, there’s the possibility of unfairly favoring one group over another. Diversity and inclusion can help the tech ecosystem continue to provide benefits, and improve on them, for everyone if the people in charge of designing and building the technology are themselves from a wide range of backgrounds.

 

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Via New KNowledge

New Knowledge

New Knowledge uses the power of machine learning to help stop the spread of misinformation. We spoke with Lead Research Scientist Paul Azunre.

Why is diversity important in the workplace?

It translates into better solutions to hard technical problems, as one is able to draw on a breadth of perspectives that may be unavailable otherwise. It makes sure that the best candidates are available for every role. Indeed, it makes sure that the most important technical problems facing our society as a whole are being appropriately addressed.

 

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Via RetailMeNot

RetailMeNot

With its savings platform, RetailMeNot helps companies gain valuable new audiences while also helping consumers ease the burden on their wallets. At RetailMeNot HQ, exciting things are happening with regards to D&I, according to Director of Diversity and Inclusion Sharon Brogdon.

Why is diversity important in the workplace?

Diversity and inclusion efforts have an impact on every facet of business, including your consumer base, your ability to attract and hire technical talent, and your bottom line. Consumers today are becoming more deliberate about companies they interact with, and they want to support companies that support causes that are important to them. Moreover, applying the lens of inclusion to product design in order to meet the needs of various communities ensures that all end users have equal opportunity to participate.

 

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Via Uptake

Uptake

Uptake serves industries like oil and gas, manufacturing, transportation, and energy by providing predictive AI and IoT software to improve their efficiency, productivity and safety. We spoke with Director of Human Resources Alan Durand.

Why is diversity important in the workplace?

Groupthink limits a company’s ability to innovate. The more informed, unique opinions there are at the table, the better the output will be. Without a diverse workforce, you are limiting the creative potential of your company.

 

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Via 360Training.com

360training.com 

Looking to learn something new? 360training probably has a course for that. The leading online education station hosts more than 6,000 unique courses across 15 industries. We spoke with VP of Human Resources Mary Evans.

Why is diversity important in the workplace?

Recognizing the importance of different backgrounds, skills and abilities helps ensure the tech ecosystem is looked at from various angles. By having diversity, it allows us to challenge the way we think about our customers from varying viewpoints.

 

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Via MVF

MVF

MVF works with companies to bring them an audience that matters, when it matters. Through sales, marketing and tech, MVF helps drive growth to companies large and small. We spoke with Sales Team Lead Emma Stewart.

Why is diversity important in the workplace?

Tech is a very innovative sector and there is immense competition, so you have to have a wide range of perspectives to drive a dynamic culture and environment. Aside from simply being the right thing to do, your bottom line will also thrive if you have people throughout your business with varied backgrounds and experiences bringing new thoughts and opinions to the table.

 

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Via Datadog

Datadog 

At Datadog, a monitoring service for hybrid cloud applications, partnerships with organizations focused on diversity initiatives like Women in Sales, Tech Ladies, the Flatiron School, Out in Tech, General Assembly and Grace Hopper are crucial to moving the needle. We spoke with Recruiter Tabitha Upton.

Why is diversity important in the workplace?

Diversity in the tech sector brings diversity of thought. Each person has different perspectives based on their unique experiences and ways of thinking. This enables teams to tackle difficult projects better and faster. The key to this, though, is enabling employees to feel comfortable sharing their perspectives and opinions, which is why creating an inclusive and safe environment is so important.

 

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Via Markforged

Markforged

At Markforged, one of their employee groups, Woman at Markforged (WAM) has been hosting inclusive events: most recently, WAM sponsored an around-the-world potluck and the screening of the movie, "Hidden Figures." We spoke with Emma Plouffe, Head of People Ops. 

Diversity is an integral part of a successful and profitable company, with diverse companies generating 19 percent more revenue than their non-diverse counterparts. 

Why is diversity important in the workplace?

Diversity is the key to creativity, crucial for solving the engineering challenges of bringing new products to life. It's the heart of innovation, and a recent study by the Boston Consulting Group confirmed what we already suspected: diversity is an integral part of a successful and profitable company, with diverse companies generating 19 percent more revenue than their non-diverse counterparts. 

 

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Via Slalom

Slalom 

Business and tech consulting firm Slalom takes an active approach in creating a diverse workplace. Each market has a dedicated inclusivity and diversity ambassador, and six affinity groups that operate formally within Slalom, including Women’s Leadership Network and Unidos, an organization that advocates for the rights of Latinos. We spoke with Nancie Halfmann, Talent Acquisition Manager. 

Why is diversity important in the workplace?

The benefits of a diverse team are well researched and documented. As a consulting firm, it means that we are able to be more creative and innovative in finding solutions for our customers. We are able to approach problems differently and challenge each other to really think outside the box.

 

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Via SpotMe

SpotMe

SpotMe is an enterprise engagement platform that creates industry-specific mobile apps and support platforms for live events, and virtual and hybrid company meetings. We spoke with Senior Customer Experience Specialist Katharine Donohoe.

Why is diversity important in the workplace?

It is a true reflection of the world we live in and the people we interact with on a daily basis. It allows someone to become more empathetic and understanding of individuals from different walks of life, and I honestly believe that it’s beneficial to those who wish to be their best selves. Being able to hone in that understanding will boost the experience of those around, you both personally and professionally, and it will only lead to more success.

 

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Via Stride Consulting

Stride Consulting 

Every day, Stride Consulting helps engineering teams become the best they can be. While the agency works with a variety of clients to provide technical mentorship, they also maintain a powerful internal focus on diversity. We spoke with Founder and CEO Debbie Madden

Everything we do —  from writing code, to sales and marketing — gets better the more diverse our team becomes.

Why is diversity important in the workplace?

Diverse teams are smarter. It’s a proven fact. Reason being, when I sit across the table from someone that looks like me, I assume we align on thinking, and therefore I ask fewer questions. When I sit across the table from someone that doesn’t look like me, I assume we don’t align on thinking, and I ask more questions. More questions are better. Everything we do —  from writing code, to sales and marketing — gets better the more diverse our team becomes.

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