Why Ditching the Quotas Is the Best Thing You Could Do
The New Business Case: The People Case
The simplistic business case for diversity and inclusion isn’t cutting it. A powerful argument can be made for embracing a set of hiring practices that ensure that the best people are hired for the job and a company culture that rewards employee contributions based on tangible results.
The arguments for diversity and inclusion are clear and compelling. Diverse companies perform better, hire better talent, have more engaged employees, and are better at retaining their workers (McKinsey, 2020). Even when the business case for making diversity and inclusion a core of our organization’s strategy is rock solid,- just doing the right thing isn’t enough. We have to do things right too.
Having built our global company on these principles, we have seen firsthand how this has strengthened our culture and bottom line.
The First Rule of Diversity
As Tyler Durden would have said, The first rule of diversity is: you don’t talk about diversity. Since 2015, we have been doing exactly that. At Big Bang, Diversity is not just a box waiting to be checked off. It is, however, a tremendous competitive advantage in a globalizing world. Having strict programs to force the desired outcome has never been the most efficient way to achieve our company goals and it’s because of how strongly we believe in creating a diverse workforce.
We currently have more than 150 employees and continue to hire new onboarding groups every month. We have a 60/40 ratio (men to women), which is a point of pride when considering the much wider gap in the tech industry. We hire people from all corners of the world, living in or coming from all 5 continents, with 60 percent of our workforce from underrepresented cultures and ethnicities. So how then, with the absence of hiring quotas, have we achieved a workforce that makes companies in our industry green in the face?
It’s not that complicated: we simply hire smart people that fit our company culture
The Why – Raising the Floor and Pushing the Ceiling
We are a global company with a workforce and client-base that is spread all over the world. When we combine our opportunistic approach to hiring and global expansion with a deep set of values around collaboration, inclusion, and employee empowerment, we are pushed into rethinking our common definition of diversity. Talking about skin color and gender is not enough in today’s fast-moving and globally-integrated world. There has to be more to the conversation.
Each of us is a unique product of religious, generational, educational (and an infinite amount of other) facets that make us who we are, and we capitalize on this authenticity throughout the hiring process. Our talent pool is everyone. From young graduates and students to working mothers looking to get back into the workforce, we believe in taking a chance on people who are motivated and skilled. This flexibility in our hiring process and working practices is what we thrive on, what creates a diverse workforce, and is the main driving force behind our success. By allowing employees flexible working terms and working hours, we widen the pool of talent accessible to us. If you take someone that shows promise and give them the tools to succeed, they will do wonders.
We don’t think in terms of ethnicity, location, languages spoken, or anything else. Instead, we hire for talent, potential, and culture fit, and the rest takes care of itself. The value derived from that must not be overlooked.
Want to learn how cultural diversity contributes to international operational success? Watch our workshop on-demand How to Successfully Optimize International Collaboration: Flexible Work & Diverse Cultures
We all need to belong to something larger than us and work together towards the attainment of shared goals that we value. If we are granted the freedom to experiment, make mistakes, learn from them, and document the process so that others can start stronger, we are allowed to be our authentic selves at work.
Generally, workplace diversity awareness initiatives take the form of increasing numerical representation through hiring (diversity) and mandatory training (inclusion – making sure that it is a positive workplace culture that provides a voice, power, and access to opportunities, etc.). Such initiatives are easy to set and forget. It looks good to customers and investors. But can these performative initiatives improve the workplace experience for everyone?
The How – Walking the Inclusion Talk
Building a diverse workforce can be achieved in several ways. At the core, we need a wide range of individuals with different backgrounds and experiences to provide us with new insights and ways of doing things.
The literature on diversity and inclusion in workplaces shows that increasing psychological safety is objectively better for everyone in the workplace. We believe in doing so by creating an organizational structure and design that ensures that hiring, promotions, and other opportunities are presented to people based on their objective skills and what they bring to the table. This trickles down into the culture.
We believe in being agents of change by creating a microcosm of how we envision our communities and wider society. The company’s purpose includes creating a positive impact on society and our community, alongside the business and operational impact. This is possible by including different perspectives from the bottom up implicitly – not as an afterthought or as a result of a well-meaning set of quotas.
Being genuinely valued involves more than a feeling of inclusion. Employees at all levels should feel empowered to help set the agenda, influence what work they do and how they do it. It is essential to the creation of a psychologically safe environment that everyone feels like their needs and interests are taken into account and reflected in the company’s mission. When you create a positive feedback loop where contributions are recognized and rewarded with more opportunities to contribute and advance, everyone gets the memo that it is not who you are, but what you do that matters.
Here are some concrete examples of our informal policies that may inspire yours:
• We hire based on personality and potential, not just experience or knowledge
• We offer global and equitable compensation
• We pomote employee development based on objective criteria
• We establish inclusive & comprehensive processes and goals
• We ensure access to training (certification and career development) and information (Guru, Google Drive, Mavenlink, Netsuite, Bamboo HR, Trello, etc.), referring in part to the cloud-based platforms we use internally.
• We foster a sense of belonging by organizing activities and team meetings, encouraging employee & organizational testimonials (via daily, weekly and monthly meetings and our weekly internal newspaper) as well as our multiple activities, such as our thematic 5@7 or team building initiatives.
• We encourage employees to travel throughout our different offices to experience local cultures different from their own!
Trust the People You Hire and Hire the People You Trust
We have to walk the talk and be willing to reshape the mechanisms and power structures within the organization. The business case rests on the people and impacts that our company touches with its policies. At the end of the day, it all comes back to trust. Embrace a broader vision of success for the company that encompasses learning, innovation, creativity, flexibility, and dignity and puts workers at the center of decision-making. Empower your employees by providing them with quality jobs, equitable and transparent ways to advance their careers and compensation, and real opportunities to contribute to the direction of the company. If we hired you, we trust your judgment and empower you to design your work-life in the ways that allow you to be your most productive and most authentic self.
Think you’ve got what it takes to work at Big Bang? See our available positions and apply now.