Diversity has been a hot topic in the news again. From Apple expanding their arsenal of emojis (now including more political correctness and diversity) to the resignation of Saatchi & Saatchi Chairman, Kevin Roberts, for his unfortunate remarks. It is a topic which interests many people and affects companies in many more ways than one can imagine.
Mine Alghazi, Recruitment Manager at Lifesum, recently spoke to me about how the company owes much of its current success to its very diverse staff.
Mine is a great example of an international employee, having left Baghdad at the age of six, her family migrated to Sweden where she grew up in very diverse environment.
For those of you who don’t know, Lifesum is a Stockholm based “digital health company which aims to make the world healthier and happier”. Lifesum started as one of many calorie counting apps, focused around weight loss, but quickly made its way to becoming a platform which provides users with access to; unique and diverse recipes, tips on workout and healthy living.
They have successfully gone from being founded by 2 students to becoming a company of 45 employees, from 18 different nationalities, out of which 41.67% are female. The amount of users went from only 100 to over 13 million (based in 120 countries) who access the app in 14 different languages.
Ms Alghazi links Lifesum’s global success to the diverse nature of their staff. “You actually can find recipes with ingredients from the whole world” and this is of course useful if you count on such a diverse amount of users. But diversity is more than just a source of unique recipes, for Lifesum, it’s a way of overcoming obstacles. “I believe that people contribute to how we see our challenges. I tackle my challenges one way but my colleague from Costa Rica, who has a different background and different approach to life, might take a different angle to that challenge” and it is by seeing a problem from many different angles and then discussing them that one comes up with the best solution. “Diversity is about personality, it’s about how you tackle life.”
When I asked her about why she chose to work at Lifesum her answer was simple; the people. “There is something with the culture here that, if you give it three minutes you will already feel like they are family because they make it so easy for you to talk to them. There is a wide diversity here which helps create a great product. You have a lot of very competent people working together in the same room! That is why I chose Lifesum.”
Getting to this point has of course not been without challenges. Keeping to diversity, in IT recruitment, is definitely a challenge. “I can assure you that every company, even the biggest companies like Google, have problems with this. We always like to talk about the women in Tech but; who are the women in Tech? Let’s be real, we need more women that code”. Mine blames primarily a lack of dialogue and women in management functions stating “People just say; hey there’s a lack of women, we need more women in Tech! How are you even supposed to get women in Tech if your can’t get them in your management team?”.
She also stated that there is a great need for a better understanding of what employer branding really means saying “I think that the discussions are floating a lot on social media, conferences and other platforms regarding women in tech. But when you look at it closer, within tech, there is very little action that we talk about as “good examples”. For example, within the startup-scene in Stockholm, we talk about the lack of women, but yet there are no women and no action to get women on C-levels and the boardroom.”
If you’re interested in how your company could benefit from greater diversity in your IT team, or you feel like sharing your story on how diversity plays an important role in your company, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.