Gender diversity works, I know this for a FACT.
This FACT is based on observing some of the great companies we are fortunate to be involved with. From birth, each has focussed on hiring the BEST people, irrespective of gender....and amazingly when you approach recruiting with this mind-set, you get outstanding teams and companies flourish. Case in point, four of our best:
- Wix - 40% women, 60% men
- Lesara - 55% women, 45% men
- Walkme - 40% women, 60% men
- JobToday - 40% women, 60% men
These companies all "live and breath" hiring the BEST. They understand that this is the only way start-ups achieve greatness and accept that while men and women are different, it is precisely the search for divergent complementarity that matters. This complementarity is ingrained in their corporate culture and permeates everything they do, not out of idealism but because it yields results. Of course, this does not come without managerial challenges, but these companies have come to realise that it is a bedrock of their success.
So the question is why has this not become the norm? I think the answer lies in fear. So to all those afraid of trying, here are three reasons why you simply can't afford to build your company without gender diversity in mind:
You will build better product. Given the addressable market for your company is likely to include women, a gender diverse team will make you build better products. Simply put, the broader the perspective the more likely your are to "nail it". Sounds obvious? It is.
You will make better decisions. I have observed the decision-making process in many of our companies and often wonder why they can’t think more “out-of-the-box”. My conclusion is that the founding teams struggle to get past their own biases and hire people in their own image. Focussing on gender diversity helps break this mold and becomes a forcing function for change and creativity.
Your corporate culture will be better. Observing group dynamics in these companies suggests that gender diversity is one way of making your company a nicer place to work. Case in point a story of exceptional open-mindedness from Walkme: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/business/.premium-1.786131. Ask yourself, would your corporate culture nurture this type of behaviour?
I am certainly not suggesting that gender diversity is the only path to success, but I encourage you to consider the virtues of building your company with sound building blocks. One of these blocks, gender diversity, has proven to work in many of our most successful companies. This is FACT, not idealism.