Editor’s note: we sat down with Adia’s founder and CEO, Ernesto Lamaina to get his opinions on diversity, the workforce, and what the world of Adia looks like moving forward. Hope you love it.
If you look at the companies breaking through, changing their industries and many times, the world, you’ll notice a pattern. Check out their board of directors, look at their team of developers, the marketing people, the managers – instead of one kind of person, they’ve invested in building a diverse team.
Societally, we’ve all come to an agreement that cultural inclusion is critical for growth, but in business, somehow it can still lack. Some leaders aren’t vested in diversity, considering it an “HR topic,” which I think is a mistake. Diversity boosts a company’s performance, by having a team of people comprised of different experience levels, backgrounds, social standing, a problem can be innovated from not just one point of view, but instead, from 360 degrees. Hiring a diverse team offers a point of view that’s a representative mix of the general population. Their knowledge and experience are the raw ingredients for challenging how companies breakthrough. When tackling an issue, it’s better to have multiple approaches, rather than contributing to the same conclusions.
A company with one point of view, one kind of person, one race, one gender, the results won’t exactly be staggering. Life doesn’t come in the size or color, and at the same price – so why should your team?
I was born and raised in a small town in Italy, and up until around 16 years old, I hadn’t really traveled. No one I knew had really ever left our area. Since then, I’ve lived in 7 different countries, have visited 30 and have friends all over the world with different backgrounds, religions, and lifestyles. Having the opportunity to travel, to meet people has boosted my performance, but also helped shape my ability to tackle new problems and deal with situations in a more creative, yet pragmatic way.
Along with my executive team, we’re working to ensure that Adia’s central DNA is based on diversity and some of the things we’ve achieved so far:
- 50% / 50% M/F ratio
- Team members from 16 different countries (and we’re still growing)
- A wide gap of ages (42Y Gap between the youngest and the oldest employee)
- Wide range in terms of social extraction backgrounds
Because we’ve built diversity into the company, it’s reflected in everything we’re doing:
From the user experience, we provide to our clients and workers to product design.
The amount of different ideas and solutions that our diverse and multicultural team is producing is incredible. We’re solving problems faster because we didn’t hire hotshot kids out of school, we purposely built a team that’s reflective of all of the growth we’re experiencing, and as we grow culturally, the team will grow with us.
A concern that some leaders have is that a diverse culture is hard to keep together because everyone is so different. I don’t buy it.
Part of the job of the leadership team to define the common traits of the organization that Adia is comprised of, but to also celebrate those traits, which are going to constitute the base of culture and ultimately are going to help with retention. We hire curious people, that have ambition, big thinkers who aren’t afraid, that work hard and ultimately have a lot of “grit.” We want people who challenge the status quo, it’s how we push forward and do something great.
Some of the reasons to hire for diversity are self-explanatory:
While it’s essential to be productive as we’ve covered, it’s equally critical to take people out of their social comfort zone. We grow when we meet new people with different cultural backgrounds, with practices and traditions that are different. By doing so, we enhance social development across the board, but also increase understanding, too. It’s important to know what people have experienced, what they’re going through to gain a perspective. Plus, if someone is sitting next to a native French speaker, that might help when planning that first trip to Lyon.
Championing diversity is more than just hiring people, it’s the first step toward true acceptance. Because people are in contact, they’re experiencing that they’ve got more in common than they thought.
Even when someone is different, people can learn new things, try new foods, go to new places, increasingly familiarity can facilitate acceptance, but also diminish misconceptions.
I believe in the power of building something that makes the world stronger, that makes everyone stronger – together. Diversity is critical, and it’s important. As far as Adia goes, we’ll always be invested in diversity and inclusion.