To most, the strongest association with the word “inclusion” may be related to state schools and major political reforms. But inclusion is by no means reserved for students in a classroom. On the contrary, inclusion is absolutely crucial to creating results with diversity – that is, to motivate and retain different employees and lead diverse teams to success.
Diversity and inclusion were the particular areas of focus in our latest statistical study, which looked specifically at diversity below the surface. This article outlines the main points from the study, along with a number of good tips on how you can use functions in People Test Match to examine diversity and identify strengths, weaknesses and potential conflicts in both existing and future teams.
Diversity: A double-edged sword
Diversity is often described as a double-edged sword. On the one hand, increased diversity can lead to greater creativity, innovation and quality. Different personalities, competences and perspectives simply increase the quality of the task solution. On the other hand, these differences can also lead to conflicts and make work and decision-making processes more lengthy and cumbersome. For example, one study asked a very heterogeneous (diverse) and a very homogeneous (uniform) team to solve a variety of tasks. The results showed that the heterogeneous team was able to find the correct solution more often than the homogeneous team. However, the heterogeneous team took longer to solve the task, and there was greater conflict among the team along the way.
Is it worth the effort at all?
This, of course, raises the question of whether diversity is mainly beneficial, or plain inconvenient – and this is where inclusion comes into play. Research has repeatedly pointed to inclusion as one of the crucial factors in creating value from diversity. In the research, inclusion has been studied under various headings, such as culture, collaborative climate, management and psychological security. What the concepts all have in common is that the purpose is to create a mutual understanding and respect for each other’s differences, thus establishing a basic sense of security – a security that gives all team members the courage to bring their personal competencies into play and challenge habitual thinking, work procedures, ideas and motions for resolutions.
Several studies have shown that psychological security increases the quality of the task solution. In addition to this, it can also create awareness and dialogue when it comes to mistakes, which facilitates learning in the team. These results are also supported by years of research into high-performance teams, which clearly shows that diverse teams perform the best – although this is provided they are managed properly and that all team members feel included.
Diversity & Inclusion in practice
When working with diversity & inclusion in practice, you can benefit from using the team functions on the People Test Match test platform to study an existing team in the organisation – e.g. in connection with development and day-to-day management or prior to the recruitment of a new candidate who will be part of the team. You can also choose to add different candidates to the team to see what a future team might look like depending on which candidate ends up being hired.
You can use the functions on all our analyses. Our team tool, PTT (People Test Team), is particularly suitable for providing a quick and easy overview, which can be an advantage for larger teams in particular. You can even view an overall team profile, regardless of whether the individuals have completed a PTT or a PTP (People Test Person).
Once you have joined the team members in the profile, you can examine the degree of diversity and identify different points of attention in relation to the team’s cooperation. Here, you can see e.g.:
Where does the team have particular strengths? On which personal competences do the members score particularly high, and how does this contribute to the team’s quality when it comes to task solutions?
Which personal competences are represented less, and in which areas can the team be challenged?
How different are the members of the team? Are they generally close to each other, or do they score very differently?
In what areas can conflicts arise in the team, and what does it take to resolve them? Remember that conflicts can arise as a result of both very different scores (e.g. on Detail-oriented) or very similar scores (e.g. high scores on Autonomous decision-making).
- Teamwork and management
What does it take for the team to thrive and perform optimally? What is required of daily management, and how should possible conflicts be handled?
Of course, mapping existing and future teams in the organisation will not bring you across the line in terms of diversity & inclusion in itself – but it is an effective way to maximise the value you get from the analyses you already use in your recruitment.
Create results with diversity
This rounds off our series of articles on diversity, which offer you inspiration for working, and succeeding, with diversity. Here, we sum up the main points in the form of 3 specific recommendations:
- Avoid bias
… and discrimination based on e.g. gender or age. Unconscious bias is one of the biggest sources of error in the recruitment process and can greatly hamper diversity.
- Think deep-level diversity
… when recruiting new employees and composing or leading existing teams. Surface-level diversity can be important for e.g. CSR strategies or the establishment of role models, but deep-level diversity – i.e. differences in personal competences and behaviour – is what seriously contributes to innovation and quality when it comes to task solutions.
- Remember inclusion
… or diversity loses its value. Diversity can also lead to more conflicts, and driving a diverse team to success requires security and good management.