The Benefits of Having a Diverse Project Management Team

Hiring the best candidates is one on the most important aspects of the Human Resources organization. Having a diverse project management team simply means we have a group of people with different backgrounds, experiences and personalities.

Organizations try to hire a diverse workforce, which in turn results in diverse project teams. There are really two arguments for the business case for diversity.  The first is basic fairness and the second is the long-term business value associated with a diverse workforce.

A Diverse Project Management Team Helps You Gain Broader Perspective

Let’s start with the matter of basic fairness.  A company’s hiring objective is to always find the best person to fill an opening. But what does it mean to be the “best” candidate? Left to their own devices, a hiring manager tends to rate a person’s qualifications using her own background as a measuring stick.  After all, if a manager has a certain background and ended up in the position he is in today, doesn’t it make sense to look for those same traits in another person? This can tend to result in candidates with a similar look and background to themselves.

Companies, especially large ones, have tried to get away from this natural bias by standardizing the recruiting and hiring process in a way that allows each candidate to be judged based on the same set of criteria. The goal of the standard process is simply to ensure the most qualified candidate is hired.

Diversity also provides real business value to the company. Society as a whole is diverse and all companies exist and sell products in this diverse marketplace. Companies have discovered that a diverse workforce translates into being able to prosper in a diverse marketplace for a couple reasons.

  • Exploiting the marketplace.  It is hard, if not impossible, to effectively reach a diverse marketplace without a diverse staff. You need people with diverse backgrounds to be able to thrive in a diverse marketplace.
  • Making better decisions.  People from the same types of backgrounds can have a tendency to think alike and this can affect the decisions that people make.  Managers need a diverse set of opinions to make the best goals, objectives and strategies for the company.  Of course, some people are very creative, but it is hard to be creative in areas where you have no background or context.  Having a diverse management structure helps drive better company decisions in a diverse world.

Acquiring the project team is one of the responsibilities of a project manager. Sometimes this leads to hiring decisions. This discussion on diversity will help you understand why most companies feel that hiring a diverse workforce is important.

It is worth stating again that a focus on diversity does not mean that you hire inferior candidates. It is really focused on removing any conscious or unconscious biases so that the best candidate can, in fact, be hired.