Like Courtney, only after I started working at Square Root did I fully realize how diverse this company truly is.
We hear all the time a company’s success and competitiveness depends upon its ability to embrace diversity and realize the benefits of increased adaptability, variety of viewpoints, and so forth. Still, in practice, often what we see in organizations is a highly uniform group of people who seem to keep hiring people who are just like themselves. In those companies you may see diversity between various teams, but with a lot of homogeneity within each team. For example, the marketing team might be all composed of American women from a certain age bracket and educational background, while the engineering team is mostly males who may have different nationalities, but all with a similar degree from an American university.
Diversity of knowledge and skills of culturally, ethnically, and generationally distinct colleagues not only strengthens our teams’ productivity and responsiveness to changing conditions, but also leads to many fun experiences.
For example, a sticky note (pictured above) left in the kitchen the other day suddenly gained multiple translations in the various native or second languages of my colleagues. And taking a break walking around our neighborhood may become an opportunity to learn how to properly say “hi, everyone” or “how much does this cost?” while visiting different countries. Being older than my two regular walking companions, I even learned that in Vietnamese I’m to be distinguished by the use of a different pronoun (a reflection of a culture in which the younger pays respect to the elder, who, in turn, protects and mentors the younger).
Every day at Square Root we witness how bringing different cultures, genders, backgrounds, and personalities to the table can boost innovation and creative problem-solving.
Until I joined Square Root as a product manager, I had never experienced things like engineers from different backgrounds asking useful usability questions during a product drink-along demo*, or offering to find me non-customers to interview as part of my customer discovery activities. In fact, at one of my last meetings the Scrum Master on my team, who is from Germany, even used the Stuttgart’s bauhaus architecture as an analogy for some of the work we’ll be doing**.
The literature is full of examples*** of how teams that include people from different backgrounds and experiences can come up with more creative ideas and methods of solving problems. And it’s easy to understand why. Differences in training, education, culture, and natural inclinations allow people to extract very different information from looking at the same data, interviewing the same people, and observing the same situations. For that reason, innovation is much more likely to happen in a diverse environment. I feel lucky to be working on a company that values diversity as much as Square Root does.
Are you interested in joining the diverse team at Square Root? Check out our open positions and send us your resume and cover letter today.
*At the start of our weekly Friday happy hours, all employees have a chance to pour themselves a drink and watch a demo of new features the product team is releasing.
**As the architects of the German project called for different innovative living concepts adjusting to the demands of the modern-industrial age, we’re now working on a more rational design for some of the components of our platform to improve the user experience.