June was International Pride Month and to celebrate we had a breakfast at work where we got to listen to a colleague share what Pride meant to her and that got me thinking. I was thinking about how incredibly important it is to truly embrace and nurture each and every aspect of diversity within the workplace.
Diversity is the backbone of creativity, and if there is anything the Modern Work environment needs it is creativity! I wrote a blog not long ago about what being be a Modern Work Engineer meant to me. I focused on the need to be open-minded and curious about the technology world around me and how I could manipulate it to the benefit of my clients.
Looking back on that blog, I now realise that I missed a really important factor: team diversity.
One person is limited to the number of ways that they can see something, their creativity is always going to have its limits. Now the technology industry is always going to have its egos and people that liken themselves to Steve Jobs, but in my experience, they only ever get so far before they hit a limit and sadly can never understand why.
If the hub of creativity at your organisation is full of the same types of people, then you are limited to a narrow band of creativity. Therefore, diversity is the core of a successful Modern Work environment. It requires multiple individuals to tackle challenges from different points of view. People's point of view is a culmination of their life of experience, learnings, and personality. So, the more diverse your team the better you should be at tackling Modern Work challenges.
A team should equal more than the sum of its parts, and although one person of the team might not on their own look like a star, they might just be the person that brings it all together or offers the insight that you just cannot get from a subject matter expert.
I hope you see where I am going with this, and it is by no way limited to technology companies. Every workplace should be trying to improve the diversity of its staff and not just because it is the right thing to do (do not get me wrong... It is the right thing to do!) but because it enriches workplace creativity and makes for a far more rewarding place to work.
I can not understate the importance of safe spaces in fostering truly open conversations - and this applies to people of all backgrounds. If you feel like you can bring your full, authentic self to your workplace, you're more likely to float that weird idea, or challenge something you don't agree with, or get into a lively debate without fearing that it may be turned into a personal attack. True teamwork starts with trust and safety.
Creating safe workspaces that enable people to be their best, most creative selves needs to be of the utmost importance for everyone. I used to think, it does not matter who you are or where you are from. In reality, it does… but in a really positive way!