Workplace diversity is a hot topic. Today, employers are prioritising inclusion initiatives and investing resources to make sure their teams are a reflection of their efforts. But focusing on diversity and inclusion is not only a smart thing to do for the business, it’s also the right thing to do for humanity.
Our co-founder and Head of Culture, Sofia Nunes, recently sat down with Findexable’s Diversity radar team for a panel discussion that highlighted the importance of creating awareness and speaking out about diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).
Let’s take the gender gap in finance as an example. The last couple of years have been record-breaking for funding startup companies, and a quarter of all funding is now going towards fintechs. Yet across all regions, most fintechs are founded by men. To counteract this imbalance, some countries like the UK have started putting in place regulations that allow more representation for women.
The question is: regulating a more even split can drive the numbers up, but can it really solve the problem? Or is it just ticking a box for companies to be more compliant?
Driving transformation and inclusion with diversity
Being born out of an academic programme that put together students with different backgrounds, means that Mambu’s origins are diverse.
From inception, Mambu grew its diversity organically because the very nature of the company made it possible to attract a diverse workforce at all levels from around the world.
That remained ingrained in the mindset of the founders when they scaled up: “We really wanted a diverse team. Being initially based in Stuttgart, made it harder to attract diverse talent, hence our decision to move to Berlin. We were trying to tap into a more diverse talent pool.”
It’s important to understand where a business stands on the diversity and inclusion journey. If companies don’t gather data, their intention will mean nothing.
Sofia explains the three steps she took to identify Mambu’s roadmap to DEI:
- Assess the landscape (what is the current situation, all data is good data)
- Identify opportunities and allies (what are the low hanging fruits, and who can help you create a more diverse and inclusive workplace)
- Define your strategy (how to get there)
Reward and recognition
One takeaway is the importance of mentorship and finding allies in order to make people feel included. Allies can shout out and advocate for those who are too humble to do it themselves, or don’t realise the impact of their work. At Mambu we have a very simple way to do that with a Slack channel aptly called #shoutouts. The cool thing about the channel is that it’s not elitist: shout outs don’t have to come from the top levels necessarily.
Before we think about diversity, companies need to look inwards and think about inclusion.
In Sofia’s experience, it’s very easy to focus on what’s wrong and bring forward a resentment mentality. “Although inequalities are infuriating, I try to talk about these topics with positivity because I think I get more allies this way,” she says.
We all need to be vocal, bring more awareness and discuss inclusion to match companies’ top-down approach with a bottom-up perspective. Mambu’s aspiration is to become a role model and a blueprint for the new wave of fintechs.
Watch the full panel discussion here.
Revisit Sofia’s blog on Mambu’s culture here.