An Alberta Company’s Experience – Diversity is a Competitive Advantage

Increasingly, individuals from different cultural, racial and sociological backgrounds are entering the technology sector and becoming large contributors. The ability of companies to reach out to these new voices in the community is the key to achieving a large audience, and a greater perspective. Since products and services are affecting ever-increasing numbers of unique customers and clients and export markets, new and differentiating voices are needed to operate in an expandingly diverse world. Those who embrace practices to include many of these diverse views are not only able to reach out to greater markets, but are able to incorporate new perspectives and innovative approaches in day-to-day operations.

An Alberta-based company that embraces these practices is BitWide, a company that works with small to mid-size organizations that are scaling up and that require affordable HR and technology-based sales outsourcing solutions to support growth efforts. Shawn Baldwin, CEO of BitWide and an established Calgary entrepreneur, explains how his company actively reaches out to find those unique voices and how those voices elevate their daily business.

“When we are hiring, we don’t base diversity purely on appearance. The way that I
approach diversity is having diversity of thought. It truly comes from having
unique experiences, thoughts and upbringings.”

The main goal of the company is to hire by exploring the different ways each candidate can contribute with their different point of view and experience. In this way, making a hire is completely based on the person’s potential to contribute, and unique perspective they bring to the team – giving an applicant an equal chance in achieving success with the company.

“When we are hiring, we look for people who have unique experiences in
their lives, and can bring these learnings to the table.”

Different experiences and learnings bring different opportunities with future clients, and in ways that may have previously not been possible. Baldwin mentions this when referring to how this methodology effects day to day operations.

“Now when we approach a task, we know that we get different perspectives. It gives us more options in how different people will approach different conversations. From a sales perspective, it allows us to have different types of conversations with different types of people.”

As such, with an increasingly diverse customer base, having individuals in the company that can interact in ways that others are not able to, allow for better customer-company relations and can lead to future business with those clients. However, being able to communicate is key on every level within a company, and if a company is not able to accommodate their diverse workers, it leads to losing those unique voices.

“Many smaller technology companies work, do their training, and have all of their objectives sent out to workers verbally,” states Baldwin. “Verbal barriers, such as ESL (English as a Second Language), accents, and disabilities, are problematic and it becomes a lot harder to get hired and succeed. If you truly want to have more diversity in a business, [and better work and quality control processes] a hybrid system of verbal and written communications can be extremely helpful to all employees.”

This highlights the importance of finding ways to communicate, because without the proper accommodation, there are going to be fewer people from diverse backgrounds being hired, losing that unique voice. In summary, it is not just about making sure that diverse candidates with unique thinking get a fair chance at a position, but that some thought on putting good processes in place is made – so that all can succeed. Diversity can lead to a competitive advantage, thus diverse hiring is more than a good operational practice. Diverse perspectives can lead to future business with clients that just were not previously reachable. This is truly a win-win scenario for all involved.

Shawn Baldwin is the CEO of Bitwide.