Diversity and inclusion are much talked about today. Suuchi Inc. doesn’t want to just support diversity and inclusion, but rather, embodies it. Today, 80% of the team are women, who hail from 27 different nationalities, and 60% of team members are well into their 50s, 60s, and 70s. Our CEO & Founder, Suuchi Ramesh, takes these tenets very seriously. Here’s why:
There is no longer any argument that diversity and inclusion are crucially important for business. A recent study by McKinsey showed that companies that were more gender-diverse were 21% more likely to outperform the competition, while companies that were ethnically diverse were 33% more likely to do so. There’s also competitive value – a direct by-product of diversity and inclusion since a diverse team can provide insights on a greater cross-section of the market. They also help add so much perspective and value to decision-making.
Despite the evident benefits, 41% of companies say that they simply do not have the time to implement new structures which are more diverse and inclusive. This reflects at all levels of the business world, but especially in the Boardroom. Of the Fortune 500, only 4.2% of the companies have women CEOs(3). In fact, there are more CEOs named David than there are women CEOs!
To some extent, it is a challenge to find the right way to implement diversity. When speaking of diversity, companies must factor in so many nuances such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, physical abilities, and religion. But acknowledging the scale of the challenge should not deter executives from trying to address it! Contrary to popular belief, there is no need to go on a hiring spree just to prove that “diversity quotas” are being met. While Suuchi Inc. is mindful of diversity when making hiring decisions, it is even more important to be mindful of the actions, treatments, and policies of new employees.
For starters, new hires are determined not by who the person is, but rather what the individual can bring to the table. This has especially played a key role in creating a more level playing field for women. All of the women on the team bring their own unique energy and creativity. This is the foundation of our team. In fact, Suuchi Inc. actively seeks out this uniqueness. Much of the manufacturing process is creative and design-focused, and these are the very qualities needed to do that. The goal has been to make Suuchi Inc. an open space for all.
“I would have fallen flat on my millennial face if it wasn’t for the ideas, support, and stability from my leadership team who are all over 50. We survived 3 years, and our startup is thriving and looks forward, not because I’m a young founder, but despite it!”
Suuchi said that at a TEDx talk she gave, and she’s never doubted it. One of the most common blunders that startup companies make is believing that they need only “young blood in the game”. Yes, millennials are energetic and full of ideas, but experience is one thing they can only develop over time. Age brings wisdom and a calm temperament born out of having been there and done that. A manager in the 60s has been in the problem-solving game since when millennials weren’t even born! These folks have developed certain skills and instincts that are crucial. They have a comprehensive understanding of business, people, and problem-solving, all invaluable to the team. Suuchi believes that filling a startup with 20, 30-something underdeveloped leaders creates a frail culture, one that has a higher probability of colossal failure. This is why unlike most startups, our team is a fusion of young and old. In the hiring process, a resume is not dismissed just because of the age of the job applicant. Currently, 70% of the employees are over 40 -and Suuchi believes that is one of the keys to whatever success Suuchi Inc. has tasted.
Having made the case for diversity and inclusion, let’s end with a little food for thought. Salesforce had reported that employees who felt they were heard and included at work are nearly five times more likely to be motivated to perform their best. The same report also stated that employees who worked for companies which provided equal opportunities are nearly four times (3.8X) more likely to say they are proud to work for their company. Business leaders look at that as statistics that indicate the need for greater employee engagement. While that is, of course, true, consider that in the light of having a truly diverse and inclusive workforce. When each employee in the truly representative workforce is engaged, enabled, and proudly passionate about working for their -think of all that executives and their organizations can achieve?