"I don't care if it's a man or woman, I just want someone who's qualified for the job," one entrepreneur said.
It's time to stop thinking about your job candidates' qualifications as they are reported on paper. Entrepreneurs in search of new hires also need to consider their existing team's collective intelligence to create a diverse balance of creativity, empathy, logic, experience, and skill.
Studies dating back into the 90s reveal that a diverse workforce is more productive, creative, and profitable. Today, I'm specifically addressing gender diversity. It's clear that having both men and women on your team will take your company further and faster. A hiring decision that includes consideration of gender diversity is simply a smarter decision for entrepreneurs.
This is not strictly about equality; mixed gender groups simply make better decisions. The teams that take social sensitivity, as well as other substantive issues, into consideration come up with ideas and solutions that promise the most beneficial outcome.
This Gallup study of more than 800 business units in retail and hospitality found that gender-diverse companies have better financial outcomes than those dominated by one gender. The study found that retail units that are diverse and engaged have a 46% higher increase in comparable revenue. Similarly, diverse and engaged units in the hospitality company have a 58% higher net profit than single-gender and less-engaged units, the study says.
Whether your company is comprised of mostly (or exclusively) men or women can have a significant impact on its future. Finding the sweet spot in gender balance holds greater promise of profitability, innovative expression, and growth. The fact is, diverse teams can develop more innovative ideas. When people from different contexts work together, their unique perspectives often lead to better results.
How to balance your culture successfully.
This is not a matter of hiring an equal number of men and women, it's a matter of evaluation first, inclusion next.
The entrepreneur, a woman, to whom I referred in the first paragraph of this article has a company of eight employees: seven men and one woman, who is in a clerical role. In a situation like this, hiring a woman for another clerical position will not achieve the balance that entrepreneurs should look for. Overall diversity is important, but it must be throughout the company, including higher-level positions, to offer a significant impact.
As you evaluate the position you are filling be sure to consider how high levels of emotional intelligence could benefit your company. Many of the qualities responsible for creating the winning balance are found in women. This includes, but is not limited to, social sensitivity, intuition, an ability to read non-verbal cues, and an understanding of what the female consumer or customer is most attracted to. Men are exceptionally good at focusing, getting rid of extraneous data, taking greater risks, and pushing full steam ahead.
This is not to say that both sexes cannot bring these qualities to the table. However, the differences between men and women are strongly shaped by socialization and the way we are raised. Men and women have vastly different life experiences to draw upon. Too few, or too many, members of either sex on your team will not give your customers or your team a complete experience. In my opinion, this is especially true in marketing. I marvel at how many ads completely lack feminine appeal; an important quality considering the purchasing power of the female demographic.
Develop a culture of inclusion.
According to this Gallup study, employees in inclusive environments feel appreciated for their unique characteristics and are therefore comfortable sharing their ideas and other aspects of their true and authentic selves.
To create a thriving culture, give equal consideration to everyone's opinions and input, even if at first you are tempted to reject them. Oftentimes, an entrepreneur's judgment comes from preconceptions of their own, this is a great opportunity to expand your mind.
Bonus: Overall diversity will attract more applicants.
In a survey of 1,000 respondents, Glassdoor found that 67% of job seekers look at workforce diversity when evaluating an offer. In today's world, a culture of gender diversity and inclusion makes your company more appealing to both sexes. The survey found that 72 percent of women and 62 percent of men consider workforce diversity important.
The next time you review the qualifications you've included in your job descriptions include these soft skills. It may take a bit longer to find your ideal candidate, but if you don't, it may take much longer to achieve your next level of success.