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How Startups Benefit from Diversity

Mar 19, 2018

In a blog from last year, we drew attention to some of the women at the forefront of Shoreditch’s innovative tech scene. However, despite their boundary-breaking success, women remain sorely underrepresented in the average London coworking space. In fact, only 17 per cent of the country’s current tech and IT workforce are women.

 

Now, the UK’s digital minister is putting forth a charter to major tech companies in an attempt to encourage them hire more women and promote greater diversity – but the principles of this charter are just as important for startups and smaller companies as well. Here, The Brew explores how every company can benefit from a focus on diversity.

 

A Wider Perspective

In 2014, a report by the US-based management consultants McKinsey & Co found that public companies with a diverse executive board enjoyed returns on their equity up to 95% higher than those lacking in diversity. The reasons for this are many and varied, but one of the most significant is the complex perspective that diversity can lend to a business’s outlook.

 

The presence of people from diverse backgrounds, each with their own unique set of experiences and perspectives, allows for greater insight into a wide range of demographics and potential audiences. A diverse outlook allows companies to significantly broaden their horizons of possibility – and this applies to startups and SMEs based in London coworking spaces just as much as it does in the boardroom of a public company.

 

In fact, you could argue that this particular benefit of greater diversity is even more effectively felt in smaller companies. The tight-knit nature of a startup ensures that each opinion and perspective is a crucial component of the overall decision-making process and direction of the business.

 

A Better Company Culture

The importance of company culture in the success of a business is all too often overlooked. Last year, a study into the effectiveness of workplace wellness schemes found that such schemes delivered their best results when they were focused on shifting and improving the overall culture of the company.

 

In response to the evidence of studies such as these, workplace trends are shifting away from rigid, hierarchical company structures that have proven inimical to the advancement of diversity within business. Instead, businesses are looking to more flexible office space solutions and the encouragement of team-based working environments.

 

The collaborative nature of coworking, and the free exchange and interplay of ideas and information that it promotes, has long been held as one of its defining benefits – and what better way to maximise these qualities than ensuring that the ideas being exchanged come from a truly diverse group of people?

 

From the largest corporations to the most cutting-edge startup, having a broad perspective and a positive, encouraging company culture are both vital drivers of innovation – as well as the sort of flexible, blue-sky thinking that powers the most successful and game-changing businesses. Achieving greater levels of diversity within our workplaces is, of course, something that we should all be aspiring to, and it’s also a goal that comes with real, tangible business benefits.