Diverse Ideas Make for Good Business
Industry Insight Increasing the diversity in your workplace can have numerous benefits including client loyalty and employee satisfaction.
TWG is a software innovation firm that helps companies unlock their potential by building the software they need to succeed. With offices in Toronto, New York, and Mumbai, TWG has built hundreds of products for a wide range of clients from innovation-driven enterprises to growth stage startups navigating the challenges of scaling their businesses. Build software with the people who help build software companies twg.io.
Toronto is one of the most diverse cities in the world. And yet, if you walked into the offices of many small and medium-sized companies — particularly in the tech sector — you wouldn’t know it. Toronto-based digital transformation studio (software and app developer) TWG has bucked the trend and has made a conscious decision to harness Toronto’s diversity in order to make it work for them. Today, they are eager to share their experiences and to show other companies how workplace diversity can provide advantages across all domains of business.
Mediaplanet spoke with TWG’s Managing Partner Chris Eben about the company’s diversity initiatives and the benefits they’ve already accrued from implementing them.
Mediaplanet: It seems obvious that diversity in hiring is good for society, but what direct advantages does a company see when they build diversity into their workplace?
Chris Eben: There are numerous studies that validate the positive business impacts that come from having a diverse workforce. More diverse companies are able to attract top talent, improve customer relations, drive greater employee satisfaction, and improve decision making. These are the fundamental elements that not only improve profitability, but also drive client loyalty, boost a brand’s reputation, and increase a company’s competitive advantage. TWG’s own experience bears this out.
MP: How does a diverse workforce change the products you build for your clients?
CE: For TWG in particular, we build software for our clients that impact all humans, not just subsets. As a result, having a diverse set of individuals involved in designing and building products, as well as a company culture that encourages people to challenge the traps and tropes of group-think means the software we build is more likely to be embraced by the widest possible cross-section of users — which is what our clients are looking to achieve and why they hire us.
MP: What are some of the challenges companies face in building a diverse workforce?
CE: From my perspective, the single greatest challenge companies face in building a diverse workforce is the evolution from representation to inclusion. Creating inclusive cultures and work environments where everyone can be their authentic self and where all ideas and contributions are sought after by leadership remains elusive for most employers. Training leadership on unconscious biases, assessing inclusion through the right measurements, and implementing specific strategies to improve inclusive cultures is the way to solve this challenge.
MP: What is Change Together, and how did it come about?
CE: Change Together is comprised of a set of 11 unique policies and initiatives that address hiring and retention. It works to support the success of underrepresented groups in tech and serves as a do-it-yourself on-ramp to help small to medium-sized businesses take steps toward diversifying their workplaces. The policies are the result of a year-long partnership between TechGirls Canada (TGC) and TWG. The open source project (found at changetogether.io) was designed to explore, test, and report on a set of strategies for boosting gender and racial diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace.
MP: Where do you see things progressing in the future in terms of workplace diversity, particularly in Canada?
CE: It is remarkable to me that we are still having this conversation today. But we are, which says things are not moving as quickly as they should be. Every workplace is unique and will face its own set of challenges and biases in building a diverse workforce. My hope is that more progressive companies can serve as models for others to follow and that a lack of diversity will stop being an issue and simply becomes part of the fabric of the way we choose to build and grow businesses.