Five tips for building diverse teams in Europe
As part of Samsung NEXT’s mission to drive diversity and inclusion in the tech industry, our Berlin-based team launched an intimate dinner series bringing together a wide variety of investors, founders and operators at relevant tech and D&I conferences to join in discussions on important D&I topics and themes.
The second event in our dinner series saw Samsung NEXT’s Christina Bechhold Russ and Ricardo J. Méndez alongside co-hosts Diversity VC bring together a group of speakers from The Next Web’s roster ahead of the conference in early May.
Themed around the topic of “How to build diverse teams,” speakers shared their thoughts, experiences, and learnings when it came to ensuring that teams are both diverse and inclusive. Here are the top five discussion points from the dinner:
Transparency is key
Companies must create a high level of transparency around their diversity numbers and inclusion metrics. Furthermore, any communication around goals and progress must be consistent and come from the top. Even when something like a major layoff is announced, leadership should share the numbers around the breakdown by diversity type
Age is just a number
Ageism in Europe was considered an important topic not given nearly enough attention, particularly when referring to employees in their 50s. More companies should strive to support workers regardless of age, not just young up and comers. Companies could materially benefit from those employees’ experience and skills in supporting and diversifying their teams.
Universities are a great place to start
Building a diverse team takes time, and companies can test the waters by recruiting university level interns from a broad spectrum of backgrounds and disciplines. Crucially, interns act as the perfect opportunity for companies to get a sense of the personalities that are actually a good fit as opposed to just experience described on a CV.
Inclusion varies greatly from region to region. In the Netherlands, particularly in Amsterdam, there are no “labels” put on people. That said, other regions (such as the Nordics) are viewed as more exclusive and seem to place less emphasis on developing inclusive work cultures.
Know your audience
Teams that are representative of a company’s users have greater connections and understanding that enable them to build better products. Someone’s utopia is someone else’s dystopia; cognitive and experiential variety is important if you want your product or service to resonate broadly.
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