Diversity and inclusion are two terms that we’re hearing more and more. This is a good thing because when it comes to adapting to a changing marketplace and rapidly advancing technology, more diverse thinking and creative communication can make all the difference in a team. However, many companies still struggle with this concept, and even while they strive to build a more diverse and inclusive workforce, find themselves fighting to achieve their goals. But the latest research out of Harvard shows that hiring more women on your team can lead to more collective intelligence. Here’s what that means for you and your business.
Understanding Collective Intelligence
There are many kinds of intelligence as we understand it. There is technical intelligence, there is social intelligence, there is even spatial intelligence that may greatly impact how your team performs. Collective intelligence is directly related to the performance of a team. According to this Harvard University study, it’s been shown that while individual IQs do not directly impact the success of a team, the inclusion of more women has shown to increase the collective intelligence of a group. They perform better when working together. In many cases, they may perform better than groups of just men. In the energy industry, a traditionally male-dominated workforce, having more women on your team may just give you the edge over the competition.
Social Sensitivity and Collective Intelligence
A fair portion of the findings around these studies speaks to the importance of social sensitivity in team performance. Women are generally better skilled at working together, listening to each other, and providing constructive feedback. The smartest team is not necessarily one full of the smartest people, but it really depends on how those people work together and how they respond to customer cues. These kinds of intelligence create stronger products and services and in turn generate stronger financial returns. Emotional intelligence is another critical element to a team’s collective intelligence because a happy team works together better and is motivated to work well together for the long term.
So what does that mean for your business or the industry? This report shows that there is some evidence to suggest that collective intelligence has a great impact at the organizational level as well as the team level. Some companies that do well at scanning the environment and setting targets also excel at managing internal operations and mentoring employees — and have better financial performance. Consistent performance across a variety of skill areas suggests an organizational collective intelligence, which could be used to predict company performance. Hiring for a well-balanced (not too homogenous, not too diverse) workforce is strongly indicated as a pathway to financial success. The goal is to enable your employees to do their best work with the people they work with. Their diversity and their intelligence matter in that equation, and psychologists are actively learning how and why to this day.
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