Should You Be Hiring For Better Educational Diversity?
It’s an invisible diversity, but it’s one we need to acknowledge, embrace and encourage in our teams. Let’s look at educational diversity.
“I didn’t go to college, I went to the university of life!” It’s a cliché, but it’s not wrong. Whether your employees came through on apprenticeships or PhDs, each is a valuable education. Whilst the content may vary, the value of each is significant. Time spent in full-time education is different to living independently and working. Each has its own lessons and challenges.
Unlike race or gender, this is an unseen and under-monitored measure of diversity. But it’s one that you should be exploring. There is strength in educational differences.
The structure of teams is changing
University is becoming increasingly commoditised and harder to finance. Instead, young people are seeking different forms of education, or alternative routes to employment.
Meanwhile, an ageing workforce that is putting retirement off is making more career changes. Add the growing global flow of educated immigrants, and you’ve got an incredibly diverse workforce whose needs aren’t seen, understood or met.
Different skills make strong teams, like in hospitals
Some professions need an intricate technical knowledge. These include medicine or construction services (plumbing, electricity).
But there is educational diversity within roles of the same department. In one ward, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, porters, surgeons and admin staff all need different education. But they must work together to do their job. The strongest teams need a mix of educational backgrounds – and a system to support each individual to fulfil their potential.
Balanced teams, balanced people
For one thing, it’s pivotal to employee self-development to meet people different to themselves. It’s a key aspect of empathy, and sustaining emotional intelligence.
By understanding one another, they can rely on someone else’s strengths, and learn from each other. Rather than run a hierarchical team, encourage widespread respect and education.
It’s important to have a team that works well together. But you want employees who challenge each other’s ideas and bring out each other’s creativity.
After all, you’re hiring humans not robots. You don’t need your team to come from the same cookie cutter mould. In Aldous Huxley’s dystopic novel Brave New World, the ‘perfectly-designed’ society is one of structured education levels. An island populated by the highest IQ class made a lot of plans – but got nothing done.
Equip your employees with education
It’s important to acknowledge and celebrate the different backgrounds of your employees. But it’s crucial to sustained success that your teams can access training opportunities.
Providing your people with the tools they need to excel will supercharge your workplace. It will also give them goals, achievements and most importantly, a reason to be loyal. People stay with companies that support them, so go and create a culture of educational celebration.