what quantitative value does diversity bring?

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Aug 28 51 Comments

I am legitimately curious... as someone who fits in a diversity category, I tend to laugh when it gets brought up so often at events. Always just figured its a marketing buzzword at this point but i have never felt that me being diverse impacted my value to the company at all. After all, it doesnt impact effort, educational standing or mental capacity.

So I want to understand its quantative value more. Is its only quantative benefit for recruiting purposes?

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TOP 51 Comments
  • Facebook / Eng msus33
    Hiring diverse people brings diverse backgrounds and points of view. The key impact for me is being able to make better decisions (and products) because the company will have fewer blind spots.

    As an analogy, consider a group of rich white engineers, equipped with their $3000 laptops and high speed internet, building a features that should work and appeal to people in rural India.
    Aug 28 5
    • Insight / Project
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      Again.. it’s an anecdote and that’s qualitative. That does not mean that those rich white engineers couldn’t devise a plan to better serve the people in rural India..

      Especially they had more experience and a better education than an Indian from the area (assuming that Indian has less experience, education or work reputation)

      The fact they are white has nothing to do with the problem that you presented
      Aug 28
    • Facebook / Eng
      JomaTecch

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      Those rich white engineers built WhatsApp and sold it to Facebook. With the help of more rich white engineers, WhatsApp is growing in popularity in rural India.

      Source: me
      Aug 28
    • Insight / Project
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      My point exactly.. diversity gives you zero advantages in being able to provide a solution. It only gives you an advantage in identifying the problem
      Aug 28
    • Facebook / Eng msus33
      Exceptions exist everywhere. Don’t become a rule though.
      Aug 28
    • Facebook / Eng
      JomaTecch

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      @msus33 can you provide a concrete example where bringing diversity helped to improve a product or project?
      Aug 28
  • Bank of America / Product Quacky
    It doesn't impact YOUR value. People of diverse background and cultures allow you to see issues or solutions from different perspectives, that's the main selling point outside company culture (better talent, retention, etc)
    Aug 28 14
    • Insight / Project
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      Demoo.. I know it sounds extremely corny. But you could have a voice enhancer that gives everyone the same voice.. it eliminates gender and accent..

      Only your speaking tone and speaking capabilities can be analyzed
      Aug 28
    • Insight / Project
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      @airbnb, that is very unfortunate. Candidates shouldn’t be fought for in the name of diversity
      Aug 28
    • Microsoft
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      Diversity of opinion is more important when it comes to seeing things from different perspectives.

      Your opinion has very little to do with your race/gender/sexuality which is what diversity initiatives tend to focus on.
      Aug 28
    • Coinbase 13371337
      You can’t say that diversity of opinion is more important, thats tech and Bay Area wrongthink and you’ll just get fired
      Aug 28
    • Bank of America / Product Quacky
      You can and should from a risk management perspective.
      Aug 28
  • Akamai Technologies VmQQ44
    Easy answer... None unless it is diversity of thought.
    Aug 28 0
  • Microsoft Teslanos
    Progressives prefer to not have quantifiable or measurable performance or success.

    See: diversity, central banking, fiscal stimulus, etc.
    Aug 28 1
    • Insight / Project
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      I get that diversity tends to be tied with progressive ideology but I think we have a legitimate question that can be answered without political bias
      Aug 28
  • Tesla / Eng 🐉⛈
    Potentially could add millions to a company's bottom line, take Cheetos for example: https://www.cnbc.com/2018/03/27/a-janitor-invented-flamin-hot-cheetos-and-became-a-pepsico-exec.html
    Aug 28 7
    • Tesla / Eng 🐉⛈
      His Mexican heritage is what helped him create a new flavor for Cheetos. The quanative value is the fact that said flavor contributes millions to a multi-billion dollar revenue snack (~4bn in 2017).

      Yes, he had no education. Now imagine if Pepsi had people like him with an education. This is why companies want diversity, it's not just feel good bullshit. They want to get more Richard Montanez's into positions of power to drive innovation and generate the company millions of dollars.

      Is every diverse hire going to be a Richard? No, just like every VC investment isn't going to be a unicorn.
      Aug 28
    • Insight / Project
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      No.. his drive led him to that. Effort. His Mexican heritage simply gave him the environment for a product idea, but it was his drive that led him to the success created by living in an impoverished environment. His drive nor future managerial skills are linked to his Mexican heritage.. only the product idea.
      Aug 28
    • Amazon nGum87
      That different background is indeed what gave him the idea. Without that, all the education and drive would have been spent chasing an empty idea.

      Diversity is far more than gender and skin color (even though some organizations think it is). Diversity like you point out comes from a difference in lived experience.

      It's just a numbers game - the goal is to increase the probability of making good decisions but having a wider set of inputs to evaluate and learn from
      Aug 28
    • Insight / Project
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      And I totally understand your reasoning for thinking that. I have different point of view in that diversity (on the physical differences) brings little value as an input in solving problems..

      However, I do admit that diverse backgrounds brings more problems and ideas for people to solve.

      But once the problem is known, there is no guarantee that a physically diverse people will come up with a better solution than a team that looks physically the same.

      So the value of diversity lies in possible revenue streams, but not in implementing said revenue streams (I.e. increasing the likelihood of good decisions)
      Aug 28
    • Amazon nGum87
      I think we are in agreement here. Physical diversity looks like it is being used as a rough-but-reasonable proxy for diversity in lived experience.

      There are some very qualitative parts that cannot be ignored though.
      ( Life would be much easier if everything could easily but quantified but wheres the fun in that?)

      In my day-to-day life, seeing someone from a different walk of life could bring their experience to the forefront of my mind and affect my design (granted, I sometimes work on consumer facing products)
      Aug 28
  • Bank of America / Product Quacky
    Have you considered doing some research on google instead of coming to blind asking for comprehensive research results. If you're not going to accept our generalized answers without the numbers at least go look for some studies like https://www.cloverpop.com/hacking-diversity-with-inclusive-decision-making-white-paper?utm_campaign=Forbes&utm_source=Forbes&utm_medium=Forbes%20Hacking%20Diversity%20White%20Paper
    Aug 28 3
    • Insight / Project
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      This is what I wanted.. just in a conversational format..

      And the other goal was to actually present the idea of why is diversity valued? Is it like a religious belief system that can’t be questioned at this point?

      It is to get everyone to discuss in a good environment. But up until this post.. it was selling like a religion with very little substance.
      Aug 28
    • Bank of America / Product Quacky
      Ita because we've all either done the research or been through a training based on research so it's rare we actually go out and retain it. Because of part of my role I have studies internally saved I use for slides but I cant share those
      Aug 28
    • Insight / Project
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      Fair enough.. I have no issue with diversity being promoted.. just the inherent value isn’t as easily seen upfront and I would like to read the studies
      Aug 28
  • Dropbox chonker
    Although there are pros such as diversity of background, experience, and approach to solving problems, it is primarily a PR tactic to make companies look good IMO
    Aug 28 1
    • American Express uktg07
      Agreed. A lot of these companies only hire black and Latino workers to do menial work or to be in HR. Hardly in marketing, operations, finance, etc.
      Aug 28
  • Adobe HaroldWren
    OP, the problem with answering your question is that this is a taboo subject for researchers who would establish such quantitative parameters. There is some research I am aware of in Law about juries with two “non-white-males” (so either females or people of color) reaching better verdicts (as defined by their verdicts being overturned less), but on the whole the subject of diversity is not studied well.

    Why? Well, many people have strong feeling and US in particular has a bad history with eugenics. It is difficult to develop an area of science where your study effectively has to prove that diversity is beneficial in all respects or else your career is in jeopardy.

    This is not necessarily a bad thing, as I said with eugenics the most minute indications of genetic inheritance of a trait were blown out of proportions by people who wanted to reaffirm their own biases. In general we are very tribal and it is dangerous for science to feed our stereotypes (most in our society are unequipped to deal with confidence intervals)
    Aug 28 1
    • Insight / Project
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      Oh I understand the studies are completely flawed and thank you for your thoughtful answer..

      I understand finding an honest study would be highly unlikely due to the career consequences..

      But people in this thread have provided interesting discussions. I definitely think there is an inherent advantage to diversity in presenting problems to solve..

      I just do not think that diversity (as we commonly define it) provides any advantage in presenting solutions to those problems. Thus, in task-oriented roles, it provides no value when controlling for experience, known job performance and education

      That is what I would like to see in a study. I see a 30 year old Indian engineer from Stanford having the same value as a 30 year old white engineer from Stanford (assuming work experience is similar)

      But it’s an interesting conversation nonetheless
      Aug 28
  • eBay Yeah Bruh
    Diversity (at least in silicon valley) is about virtue points. Pick any personal attribute (usually race, national origin, sexual orientation, gender) - the less represented they are, the more virtue points you get. Some attributes can earn negative virtue points. Some attribute combinations earn bonus points.

    The points are then tallied to see if management can pat themselves in the back and say they solved the world's problems.
    Aug 28 0
  • Affirm / Eng whom65
    I suggest you do some googling instead of crowdsourcing from engineers. There is a ton of quantitative research around this issue that none of us has time to read or be familiar with.
    Aug 28 1
    • Affirm / Eng whom65
      I also suggest you read "Range" by David Epstein. It's about diversity of experience, rather than racial, cultural, or gender diversity. Interesting stuff!
      Aug 28
  • Amazon / Mgmt dodo dodo
    Employees from diverse backgrounds don’t get too close to each other so they 1. Don’t hire more like themselves 2. Don’t abuse the system. For ex, if all of them are from same state in India, they can communicate using native language and can manipulate while hiring and travel coz all of them have same motives
    Aug 28 0
  • Intel Spikiera
    OP are you Indian?
    Aug 28 1
    • Insight / Project
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      OP
      No.. I do not state my “diversity” because it is more like a 1 in 1000 type of diversity rather than a 10-25% diversity
      Aug 28
  • Bloomberg Big-indian
    Where is Atinlay2 when you really need him?
    Aug 28 1
    • Indeed indood
      Probably still banned. Poor guy, blind just has no time for his mild and benign thoughts.
      Aug 28
  • Amazon / Product
    rando34

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    rando34more
    It's a way of overcoming unconscious bias. It makes much more money than aiming only at "what you know" by broadening/stretching the base of experience. People build things for people like them. e.g., a. Team of 25 -27 year old women from Manhatten or 40 year old men from Bulgaria or an all LGBT group of tech majors. Mixing the above teams up results in a far broader range of goods and services for a company to sell. Diversity in color /culture / gender identity/ age etc. Etc. (if that isn't obvious) is what the benefits come from.
    Aug 28 1
    • Insight / Project
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      OP
      While I can’t get on board with unconscious bias, I can get on board with products built for those that have the life experience to give the solution to a problem not commonly seen by others.. and that is a good argument
      Aug 28
  • Sony / Eng grokker
    🙄
    Aug 28 0

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