Why a diverse team is crucial to business success

With almost 20 years’ experience working in real estate and technology, Jai Ivarsson is realestate.co.nz’s Head of Product and Development. Here he discusses the importance of building a diverse team. 

People are the backbone of every successful organisation. It’s a cliché, but it’s particularly true for teams who spend their days problem-solving and providing innovative solutions – something at the core of every technology company. 

Since our people are our biggest asset, I compare building and managing a team to building an asset portfolio. In particular, the concept of diversification. You’d be hard-pressed to find any asset management advice that didn’t, at some point, mention diversification. 

Likewise, when it comes to building a team, diversification can be a powerful tool.

A fresh perspective 

One of the easiest ways to diversify your team is to employ people from different backgrounds. Various genders, ethnicities, experience levels and social demographics can each contribute something unique to your business. 

A range of personal and professional experiences can play a big part in how individuals look at a problem. It’s amazing to see the many angles and approaches my team take when faced with a challenge – and the solutions that come as a result. 

Challenge assumptions

When you’re neck-deep in a problem, it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture. If you’re trying to churn through deliverables, it can be tempting to apply the same, tried-and-true rationale to each issue. 

A diverse team brings with it different perspectives which, if properly fostered, can help you challenge assumptions and find better solutions.

Of course, diversity isn’t enough

Just hiring a bunch of different people isn’t the answer. You need to factor in how the team will fit together and how different personalities will mesh. In any group dynamic, it’s important to ensure every member has an equal voice, so that dominant personalities don’t drown out others. 

Developing a culture of inclusion and giving everyone a platform to be heard is key. Different staff may require a different approach. For example, while some love the limelight, others may be reluctant to share in front of a group. Figure out how to bring out the best in each member of your team, so you can uncover great ideas and harness unexpected suggestions.  

It’s never done

The culture of an organisation is always evolving. As people come and go, dynamics will change. Diversity is one of our organisation’s core values, so it’s something we continue to work at and prioritise with every new hire. 

When recruiting, we consider what fresh thinking and unique experience a candidate might bring to the team. We’re always looking for people who can challenge the work we’re currently doing and can contribute in a way that’s unique.  

By introducing diversity of thinking into our team, we can ensure we’re constantly re-examining the way we do things, discovering new and innovative ways to solve problems, and challenging ourselves to deliver more outcomes, more efficiently.

Jai Ivarsson is realestate.co.nz’s Head of Product and Development. With experience working with successful start ups, Jai specialises in finding pragmatic solutions that allow for fast growth.

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