How inclusion ignites innovation and prosperity: Diversity in IT

Sasa Popovic Categories: Business Insights Date 07-Dec-2022 7 minutes to read
How Inclusion Ignites Innovation And Prosperity Diversity In IT

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    We are a product of our environment and if we're constantly surrounded by people thinking and acting the same – we might (un)intentionally become like them. But, when we seek diversity, engage with people from various walks of life with different ethnicity, gender, age, and educational backgrounds and listen to their viewpoints, we can gain a different perspective. Consequently, that might enrich us and propel to make better personal and business decisions. 

    In recent decades, higher innovation rates have occurred in organizations with better diversity. So it's perfectly understandable why it's essential to work on bringing in new, diverse talent to the IT industry if we want to be at the forefront of development and create game-changing ideas. 

    Even though you wouldn't tell it from the outside, IT tends to be one of the industries that are very homogenous and often non-inclusive. Even Google reported in 2020 that they are not diverse enough. And that's a problem. Homogenous groups at work tend to think and work similarly, while a shot of fresh, different perspectives can bring creative solutions you might not think about otherwise.

    Moreover, diversity in the tech industry is essential to stay relevant and on the edge of the discovery of new approaches; and when you hire for diversity, you gain a unique insight into consumers because your company can relate to their specific needs and preferences, which might be overlooked. 

    Another incredible benefit of companies opening themselves up and embracing DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) initiatives as part of their DNA is access to the larger talent pool. From a global viewpoint, the millennial and Gen Z generations are the most diverse in history, and both are looking for a workspace where they will encounter similar diversity. An understanding employer and a decent salary are no longer enough for a new generation of employees. They crave a workplace where they will feel safe, be seen and heard, where their opinion will matter, and where they can grow and impact the world. Ultimately, a place where they will feel like they belong.

    Now, more than ever, IT companies worldwide prioritize DEI and invest resources to ensure their teams are equipped for business success and the success of us as a society and humanity.

    Let's explore how we strive to create a more diverse culture in Vega IT. 

    Diversity in Vega IT 

    Recognizing the importance of diversity and the benefits it brings to our company, the clients we work with, and overall job satisfaction - from the early days of Vega IT, we focused on consciously building diversity within our teams. 

    Of course, we must consider that Balkan countries are relatively homogenous, and some aspects of diversity will be tough to achieve. Therefore, on our DEI journey, we strived to bring variety in terms of gender, language, sexual orientation, education, religion, and culture. 

    Diversity is not something that happens overnight – it is an initiative that needs to be carefully built over time, through fairness and transparency, and with a systematic approach so none of the company members feel overlooked. 

    While doing that, we focused on promoting openness and increasing representation in critical and leadership roles such as CPO, CMO, CFO, or a Digital Director… Women have also become partners in our company.  

    Research has proven that companies with more than 30 percent women executives were more likely to outperform companies where this percentage ranged from 10 to 30. We can proudly say that our financial outperformance confirms this year on year. 

    Regarding diversity, I can honestly say Vega IT is - a pioneer. We are lucky to have employees with diverse backgrounds - with different nationalities, religions, sexual orientations, education, social status, marginalized groups, and people with disabilities. One of our recent activities includes becoming one of the first members of the "Equality Business Alliance" whose focus is on better workplace inclusion of LGBTQ+ community. We are also strongly focused on discovering new ways to improve our employees' workplace and create a psychologically safe environment. 

    How can diverse teams affect business? 

    Everyone can agree that it is pivotal that IT attracts the best talent there is. Therefore, someone's background, gender, or cultural heritage should always come second. 

    During an economic crisis, having a diverse team matters more than ever because it opens up numerous perspectives that can help the company develop new services or approaches and positively impact the bottom line. Additionally, elusive Gen Z generation that has already entered the workforce tends to show higher employee satisfaction if working in an inclusive company.

    Key advantages of diverse workspace

    Advantage #1: Reduced employee turnover 

    Establishing a connection between diversity and employee retention rate might be challenging. However, experiences worldwide prove that an environment that is accepting, accessible and nurturing creates a more positive and comfortable workplace. In such a company, employees feel at ease - they are accepted for whom they are and valued for their skills. In turn, they are motivated to stay with the company and show increased loyalty.

    Advantage #2: Diverse teams lead to higher productivity

    Multiculturality and diverse employees have been the focal point of a report published by Research and Markets. Showcasing companies such as Deloitte and PwC, the report demonstrated that more diverse companies have 2.5 times higher cash flow per employee and inclusive teams are more productive by over 35%. Even though DEI initiatives tend to be challenging to implement, the resulting agility and productivity speak for themselves.

    Advantage #3: Diverse teams are directly correlated to higher profitability

    Diversity brings higher profitability because different individuals have different thinking patterns and ways of solving complex problems. By ulitizing employees' unique skills, the company can access a diverse set of out-of-box thinking from which it can pick what works best for the company at that given moment. And this approach can be used for any challenging task - for instance, how to automate a specific process or shorten the development cycle to increase profitability.

    Advantage #4: Access to diverse candidates 

    Also, it's essential to consider that many talented IT engineers cannot afford or do not want to live in tech-oriented destinations like the Western countries or Bay Area. And when you consider that, you begin to understand that your company is probably missing out on engineers that could bring incredible value to your team - either as employees or as a near-shored team. People from diverse cultures and backgrounds in terms of education and way of thinking can be outstanding contributors, especially if they belong to Millenial or Gen Z. 

    Advantage #5: Creativity and innovation 

    Harvard's study discovered the precise impact diversity has on innovation, taking into account inherent and acquired diversity. Inherent diversity is something we are born with - our race, gender, and culture; acquired is something we are exposed to during our lives. When both sides are adequately developed, they impact free-associative thinking and innovation potential. Companies that encourage diversity are the ones that tend to perform better.

    Winning through inclusion and diversity

    Change happens on the top. When C-level executives recognize and embrace the widespread benefits of DEI initiatives and implement them in the company's core values, this will positively impact the organization and enact the change. Key departments will be able to develop specific approaches to reach potential employees that can bring valuable experiences, skills, and mindsets to the table. 

    I believe that when C-level executives recognize and embrace the widespread benefits of DEI initiatives and implement them in the company's core values, this will positively impact the organization and enact the change. That way, key departments can develop specific approaches to reach potential employees that can bring valuable experiences, skills, and mindsets to the table. 

    Ultimately, it's a win-win situation for everyone - employees with diverse backgrounds will be included and heard, customers will receive better products, and the IT company will ensure its growth for years to come.

    Sasa Popovic Partner and CEO

    Strategic. Creative. Practical. Sasa is the supervisor for every project that the company takes on.