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Updated Oct 23, 2023

Which Gender Excels at Teamwork? Both … With a Catch

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Shayna Waltower, Business Operations Insider and Senior Writer

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Creating work teams comprised of more than one gender is the most effective way to get things done, new research suggests. Research reveals that the gender composition of work teams makes a difference in team effectiveness. Gender-balanced teams outperform both predominantly male and predominantly female teams, the research shows.

Gender-diverse teams are more effective

Scientific research backs up the idea that gender diverse teams are more effective. In a study, researchers analyzed more than six million science research papers that were published between 2000 and 2019. The researchers rated the papers based on impact and novelty. To measure novelty, they examined the citations the paper received and the types of research behind those citations. They classified papers used for unconventional and advanced research as high novelty. The analysts measured impact through the number of citations a paper received. 

The results showed that, on teams of at least six members, those with a gender mix were 14% more likely to produce high-impact papers. Gender-diverse teams were also 9% more likely to produce high-novelty papers than same-gender teams.

Researchers from three prominent universities also found that gender diversity is beneficial for teams due to increased learning opportunities and potential for task mastery. The research involved two studies that evaluated 67 teams in goal-oriented simulations. The results showed that the teams with greater gender diversity had better task performance and goal orientation.

Key TakeawayKey takeaway

Research has shown that gender-diverse teams produce more effective results, learning opportunities and task mastery.

Benefits of a diverse team

Many types of diversity can increase a company’s effectiveness and productivity. Fostering diversity in areas such as race, nationality, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion and age can bring several benefits to your company. Below are several ways a diverse team can improve your business.

1. It increases innovation.

Diverse teams bring a variety of experiences and perspectives to the table. A diverse team is able to approach tasks from multiple perspectives instead of from one way of thinking. As a result, these teams can more easily generate innovative and unique ideas.

2. It enhances decision-making.

With their varied backgrounds, members of diverse teams can approach datasets from their individual perspectives. Their takeaways are likely to result in different interpretations that can lead the team to consider new or alternative options. A team of similar members might not have considered these potentially game-changing routes.

3. It improves engagement among employees.

A diverse workplace is more likely to accept and consider the opinions of minority voices, helping these team members feel more comfortable in their workplaces. When they feel heard and respected, their confidence, motivation and engagement at work will often increase.

4. It attracts job seekers.

A Glassdoor survey found that about 80% of Black, Hispanic and LGBTQ+ job applicants say they highly consider a workplace’s diversity when evaluating job opportunities. The survey also found that 32% of job seekers would not consider working at a company that lacks diversity among its employees. A diverse workplace can improve your team’s performance while also setting you apart among job seekers’ many options.

5. It increases employee retention.

A 2022 Deloitte survey correlated Gen Z and millennial employee retention rates with employer efforts to create a diverse and inclusive working environment. Employees who feel happy with their employer’s diversity initiatives are more likely to stay in their jobs for at least five years.

Did you know? A diverse team of employees can bring several benefits to your company, including better employee engagement and retention, as well as enhanced decision-making.

Creating a DE&I program

Glassdoor’s survey showed that 63% of employees wish their employers made more efforts to increase their companies’ diversity. Implementing a diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) program can open the door to a broader pool of future employees. It can also show your current employees that you value and respect their need for diversity. It. Below are some tips to help you build a DE&I program for your company.

1. Set a vision.

It’s one thing to say you want a DE&I program at your company, but it’s another thing to know why. Your reason should go beyond wanting to reap the productivity and financial benefits of a diverse team. An authentic DE&I program starts with a true desire to elevate the voices of all types of employees in your organization.

Ask yourself: How does your team’s everyday work reflect your team’s structure? How does your company’s mission support diversity among your employees? Your vision and mission statements should clearly show what a diverse team represents within your organization.

2. Gather your leadership team.

Once you’ve identified a goal for your DE&I program, you’ll need to create a team that can oversee the program. This team should itself be diverse to reflect your goals and push your program in an effective direction. Consider hiring a manager or team member with a specialty in DE&I. After the leaders are chosen, the team can decide the specific roles each person will hold in developing and carrying the program.

3. Implement training practices.

With training practices, you can help your employees foster an environment that’s inclusive for all team members. These programs can include sessions on the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace. They can also focus on the roles that people play in fostering an inclusive work culture and communication skills that promote healthy conversations. Other session ideas include how to recognize and address unconscious bias, dispelling stereotypes and respecting alternate worldviews.

4. Track your progress.

Once your DE&I program has been in place for a few months, assess your company’s progress. This way, you can see how well the program is moving your company toward a true culture of diversity, equity and inclusion.

Conducting employee surveys is an excellent way to evaluate your team’s perceptions on your work environment. Ask your team members to share their honest opinions. Based on their responses, you can see where you might need to make changes to your DE&I program and improve your company’s culture.

TipTip

Ask your employees to share their opinions in employee surveys to gauge the progress your company has made toward an inclusive work culture. This approach can also help you identify new changes to move your company forward.

Creating a healthy work environment for all employees

Employees can have all the productivity, time management and collaboration skills they need, and it can still not be enough. Adding diversity to the mix can be beneficial for both your team members and your company’s outputs. 

A diverse work environment can help employees of all backgrounds and identities feel respected and comfortable working at your company. With an active and thorough DE&I plan, you can start fostering a culture that keeps current employees around – and invites others to join.

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Shayna Waltower, Business Operations Insider and Senior Writer
Shayna Waltower is a business journalist with a multimedia background. She spent years doing on-the-ground reporting in local communities from coast to coast before narrowing her focus to helping small businesses nationwide streamline operations, attract customers and improve profitability. Waltower, with her previous experience in storytelling across mediums (broadcast, social media, etc.), enjoys not only producing digestible guides for business owners that break down complex topics but also helping entrepreneurs competently convey their brand stories to consumers. Over the years, Waltower has developed expertise in a number of wide-ranging but critical business areas and topics, including POS systems, workplace management and cybersecurity.
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