The True Diverse Team
Caveat: this is my personal perspective, so read at your own risk.
The true diverse team is… [clue: more than your average “diversity hire strategy”…]
One that doesn’t have a single race, ethnicity or belief — it can’t be all white, all black, all Chinese, all Indians, all Bataknese or all Indonesians. Yes, even if it’s all minority. You can’t tell it’s diverse if you keep hiring the same people from the same group as you.
One that has a whole spectrum of skill maturity — it can’t be all senior, or all super-experienced, or all rock star. It will just make your job as a lead easier. It has to be a mix of skill levels. You want people to really learn from each others.
One that speaks multiple languages. I mean it. We can’t “shortcut” it to people who speak the same language (e.g. English) just to make “communication easier”. It doesn’t work that way. Find teammates who stutter in speaking English, as equal as possible to those who speak fluent English, for example. Then, truly empathise.
One that shares multiple perspectives. You can’t hire a “yes person” who always agrees with you.
One that shares multiple work ethics. I can’t stress this enough. I understand companies want to hire certain “standard”, but I tell you: you can’t hire people who share your work ethics. If you like to work the “extra mile” or on weekends, you don’t expect people to share that same work ethic with you. Period.
One that has multiple personal background or commitments. Hire more people who are married with kids, as equal as hiring people who are single or are intentionally kidless. Or, hire people who take care of their parents or families. I say this because a lot of the time people don’t have patience with employees who have kids or personal family commitments. We should change this. Employees who have personal commitments manage their time better, empathise more, and just care more about work-life balance.
One that has multiple nationalities. I find this amusing, it goes beyond multicultural understanding, which is quite important… but also about the challenges their face in terms of expectations, bureaucracies, and stuff. Life values, such as how they see work, life and family, matter. It can also be as “trivial” as travel freedom. One of my New Zealand coworkers thought Indonesians don’t need visa to travel to Ireland for business, so she thought we can just travel in a whim. The worst part? She decided to “lead us” through the Irish visa application procedure even though it’s just 1 week away. Of course, we didn’t travel.
One that appreciates each other’s differences. Genuinely. It’s easy to “hire a different candidate next time”, but without really showing appreciation of how different we are, it’s hard. It can be as simple as appreciating their biggest holiday in a year, or just the kind of joke they appreciate, or really, how they spend their weekend.
One that appreciates how one wants to be communicated to. I get it, we have a standard to make a good and efficient team. But really, I’d rather spend a team who is willing to talk through about how we could communicate more comfortably to each other, not only efficiently.
One that appreciates liberalism as much as preservation of beliefs. It’s okay to promote pronouns or other liberal rights, but we also need to understand some people want to preserve their belief. One can be religious, and can demand a time to pray as well.