Marketing teams: the value of diversity
Karen Lloyd employer, marketing team
Diversity – it is a bit of a buzz word in recent times and wonderfully, diversity and inclusion are a serious focus and significant challenge for all organisations these days.
Finally, the value to a business of a varied workforce is unarguably established. Thanks to the multiple studies carried out over the years, we have proven the success of diverse teams in terms of productivity, accuracy, innovation and financial success.
Still, there is much to do to meet this challenge, in effective marketing strategies as much as in your own marketing teams.
In my opinion for your marketing team to achieve true diversity, you as a hiring manager need to be confident in recruiting outside your comfort zone. As I discussed in my recent blog, there is a tendency for many Marketing Managers and Marketing Directors to recruit what they know. In other words, you end up with a team of “Mini Me’s” with similar backgrounds, skill sets and personality types. This is not necessarily a deliberate ploy, but a predisposition to stay within that comfort zone.
I understand that taking that step out can be daunting. So how do you dip your toe in the water?
Stepping outside your comfort zone
Initially I recommend spending some time understanding how your bias is affecting your recruiting.
Firstly, can you carry out a (relatively) impartial assessment of yourself? Are you an extrovert or introvert? Where do your strengths and weaknesses lie? How does your background contribute to your current role? What is your personality type? Are you an analyser or empathiser, a creative or a driver? If you struggle for objectivity, it’s a great exercise to sit down with someone who knows you well to get some outside input.
Secondly, review your current team.
Who did you recruit? Perhaps you didn’t build your team? They may be the result of someone else’s bias that you have inherited. Irrespective, can you see similarities that when added up become a trend? Look for introverts and extroverts, backgrounds, skill sets, gender, interpersonal skills, cognitive diversity. Are there strong trends towards one or the other?
If the answer is no, then congratulations! You have a relatively diverse team who should be effective and achieving your goals. If the answer is no and yet you lack effectiveness then it is time to look elsewhere for the culprit.
If it is a yes, then time to make a plan
Establish where the gaps are within the marketing team and where you could achieve a better balance. If you are fully staffed, then of course we aren’t expecting you to recruit over and above what you need now, but when it does come time to recruit, then knowing what you need to look for in advance is immensely helpful.
If you are ready to recruit, then I thoroughly recommend reaching out to colleagues to help build your confidence in identifying, recruiting and managing those individuals.
For example, as an extrovert, reach out to an introvert peer to understand how they add value to their team (they don't have to be a marketing team). Alternatively within the marketing team, approach others with different backgrounds to understand where synergies can be drawn from similar experience such as channel management, route to market, marketing campaign management etc.
Importantly, don’t hesitate to discuss your concerns with your Recruitment Partner. Whether an internal partner, or external consultancy; their specialist knowledge will help you navigate the minefield and build a strong, successful and diverse marketing team.