Workplace Cognitive Diversity

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Many companies and businesses like to almost tick boxes by having a demographically diverse workforce. This is a positive thing for any company. It is a good thing to have people from all types of racial, gender, ages and backgrounds. The question is, although there is a diverse mix, are the ideas from that workforce diverse? That is to say do you all think the same way and make similar decisions and unconscientiously encourage group think? 

A Harvard Business study in 2017 showed that demographic diversity alone did not improve problem solving.  Consistently they found cognitive diversity outperformed demographic diversity. Group think can happen unconsciously as early as at the interview stage. This because the person or persons doing the interviewing will have a fixed set of thoughts and will be looking for someone who has those similar thoughts and traits which conforms to the existing traits in a company. Therefore leading to group thought where everyone thinks the same although they are demographically diverse. The problem with this is that if everyone thinks the same the company will pretty much stay the same and lack creativity and innovation which leads to the company stagnating.

To prevent this happening it is good to be mindful at the interview stage and look for new recruits that have a different perspective from the interviewer and the company and is also strong minded and confident enough to express and voice their views. Equally their views must to be taken seriously and not simply ignored or under minded. To take it a step further the employer must create an environment where employees feel comfortable and safe to disagree with the status quo and will not be shunned or persecuted.  In fact disagreement should be encouraged if done respectfully and with facts to back up their views.  You may have these types of employees already in your company. They may be in another department getting on with their day to day job but could be useful in another role and have valuable ideas and constructive critique.

The advantage of technology is to have systems that are ubiquitous across the company that are easy to use so you can make the most out of innovative and creative ideas which will differentiate you from the competition.  A good order management software system can do this. If you are an eCommerce business selling online via multiple marketplaces. You life could be made easier if all your processes are automated and centralised. This will leave more time to think and be creative. Different areas in your company can see how each department contributes to the whole, thereby giving them an insight and ideas that can not only improve their own department but others also. As well as effectively solving problems.  This will make all employees feel engaged and an important member of the company.

By Andrew Smith eCommerce Marketplace Specialist

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