Behavioral Diversity, for DEI + Innovation
Diversity unlocks innovation and drives market growth, which is why leadership must continue to embrace the power of our differences in the workforce.
Behavioral science can give organizations the key insights needed to manage issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). How? The behaviors that block DEI can be revealed, measured, and organized. Behavioral Diversity – what we’ve been calling BeDi – focuses on an individual’s natural strengths and talents which, when understood, leads to better career choices.
When an organization employs a behavioral solution, it can lead to hiring the right talent for every role in the organization. And organizations have long known – at least to some degree – that paying greater attention to people and their behavior is necessary to compete and win (as an organization). What many may have overlooked: Understanding behaviors also can drive innovation as it addresses DEI issues.
Broaden perspectives, solutions
Lack of DEI tends to raise its head as subtle in-groups form due to bias or ignorance. People tend to be more comfortable interacting within their like-groups. Still, a group lacking diversity denies organizations the wide variety of talents, thought and experience that diversity brings.
And the reality is that diversity issues will persist unless managed. In that sense, DEI is complicated. Among other reasons, because it is dynamic – never static. Also because – as we have discussed here before – bias is often unconscious. That can make it “innocent,” but no less detrimental.
The prize of having diverse teams includes a broader span of thinking, enabling better preparation for decision-making and achieving results. In that sense, success equals alternative viewpoints and skillsets.
So, what can behavioral science bring to this? Using a validated behavioral discovery can uncover the natural strengths of the team, driving understanding of individual behaviors, collective behavior, communication styles and talents.
Teams can then be built to maximize a mix of skills and talents, each member having behavioral insight into themselves and into their colleagues. That knowing-me-knowing-you-knowing-us knowledge also helps them to understand how to work effectively together with greater focus on how differences improve productivity and financial performance.
Embracing diversity begins with acknowledging the issue and conducting healthy, inclusive conversations. These conversations should include the buy-in to use behavioral intelligence as part of the success formula.
Business leaders must approach diversity as a complex organizational behavior change initiative. With scientifically validated behavioral platforms, the starting point must be the hiring process. Hiring diverse talent is only the beginning and won’t solve behavioral diversity alone. Inherent bias must be revealed and managed, as such discrimination often begins at the hiring stage.
Mine the benefits of ‘different-ness’
Talent competition is fierce in today’s global economy. Companies already know (we hope!) that they must have plans to recruit, develop and maintain a diverse workforce. The ones that do will be rewarding themselves, their workforce and their customers with DEI – and innovation.
Still, there are no quick fixes, which is why an early-in-process introduction of a behavior-driven strategy will pay dividends that cascade through various processes and solution…including the opportunity for greater innovation, by leveraging diversity to magnify varied perspectives, life experiences, experiences levels and more.
We have conducted significant work in the hiring space and in scientific behavior to solve behavioral diversity issues. And it has become clear that as we together move through changes from an unprecedented pandemic to near-universal remote work, the so-called Great Resignation and more, we have a remarkable opportunity to bake BeDi – and its many measurable benefits – into the new formula.
Now is the time to introduce behavioral science. If you are measuring behavioral diversity and have lessons to share or if you want to begin leveraging BeDi, I’d love to talk with you. A fresh look at DEI and a new era of innovation are within your reach.
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.