In the dynamic and ever-evolving world of the gaming industry, diversity is not just a buzzword – it’s a strategic advantage. As the CEO of a 13-year-old, women-owned gamified graphics business with a staff of 8 talented women spread across 5 countries, I’ve learned firsthand the importance of diversity in fostering creativity, innovation, and success in this field. In this article, we’ll explore some top tips for building a diverse team that can help your small business thrive while making a positive impact on the industry.
Prioritize Inclusivity from the Start
Creating a diverse team starts with a commitment to inclusivity. Ensure that your company culture promotes inclusivity, embraces differences, and provides equal opportunities for all team members. This sends a strong message that diversity is not just a box to check but an integral part of your organization’s DNA. For Octane, our common thread is gaming: what’s your favorite game? What is it about the retro gaming culture do you love most?
Define Clear Diversity Goals
Set specific diversity goals that align with your company’s mission and values. Consider metrics such as gender, ethnicity, age, and international representation. Establishing measurable objectives will help you track progress and hold your team accountable.
Encourage Diverse Hiring Practices
When expanding your team, make an effort to reach out to diverse talent pools. Use job boards, social media, and professional networks that cater to underrepresented groups in your industry. Additionally you should consider implementing blind recruitment techniques to minimize unconscious bias during the hiring process. Octane wanted women, women from across the world, we used Upwork to find diversified candidates.
Foster an Inclusive Workspace
Create an environment where every team member feels comfortable expressing their ideas and opinions. Encourage open dialogue and active listening. Provide diversity and inclusion training to help staff understand the importance of empathy, respect, and cultural sensitivity.
Promote Mentorship and Sponsorship Programs
Establish mentorship and sponsorship programs within your organization. Pair junior team members with experienced mentors who can help them navigate the industry. Sponsorship involves advocating for the career advancement of underrepresented employees, providing them with opportunities for growth and visibility.
Celebrate Diversity in Content Creation
In the gaming industry, content is king. Showcase your commitment to diversity through the games and graphics your company produces. Create characters, storylines, and visuals that represent a wide range of backgrounds and experiences. This not only appeals to a broader audience but also sets a positive example for the industry.
Address Unconscious Bias
Unconscious bias can creep into decision-making processes. Train your team to recognize and mitigate bias in their day-to-day work. This can include reviewing hiring practices, evaluating project assignments, and ensuring fair opportunities for career advancement.
Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)
Consider establishing Employee Resource Groups focused on various aspects of diversity, such as Women in Gaming or LGBTQ+ Allies. These groups can provide a supportive community for underrepresented employees and help educate the broader team about their unique perspectives. At Octane this was a prerequisite to ensure a cohesive working environment.
Regularly Assess and Adjust
Diversity and inclusion efforts should be ongoing and adaptable. Regularly assess your progress and be willing to adjust strategies based on the results. Seek feedback from your team members and use their insights to refine your approach. We review these quarterly and annually to ensure we’re addressing our goals.
Lead by Example
As the CEO, lead by example in championing diversity and inclusion. Your commitment and actions will set the tone for the entire organization. Show that diversity is not just a corporate initiative but a personal passion. I’d like to think that my team can speak for themselves that this space is rare and unique for women because its of us, our thoughts and our collective experiences.
Building a diverse team is not only a socially responsible choice but also a strategic one. By prioritizing diversity and inclusion, you can unlock the full potential of your team, drive innovation, and contribute to positive change as a small business. Remember, it’s not just about building for what looks good on paper; it’s all about fostering an inclusive environment where each member can thrive. We live up to our name of being #morethangraphics!