Could a Diverse Workforce Win You More Customers?
For me clarity in any situation can only come with full insight, and full insight can only come from viewing things from every feasible angle. In my experience in the workplace, this varied perspective can only be achieved via people from different backgrounds, cultures and viewpoints. There’s no shortcut or substitute if you want to grow your business.
After nearly two and a half decades in the corporate world, it still staggers me that businesses are able to be anything more than mediocre at best without a diverse management team. And why they would even try is beyond me. If you sit back and look around the boardroom and you see nothing but the same then, please believe me, you are doing something wrong.
I’m going to try and analogize my thinking on this so bear with me.
It would be inconceivable to attempt to build a house with bricklayers alone. Right? When we set about creating a property from scratch, it’s generally accepted that you are going to need many different kinds of people and all types of skills and trades, from the original landowner to the property developer who conceives the house to the highly skilled architect who draws up the plans and then on to the carpenters, bricklayers, electricians, plumbers and the many other trades who bring that vision to life.
It’s not entirely beyond reason to expect that merry house creating crew to be made up of a hugely diverse group of people in terms of backgrounds, skill sets, experience and ultimately the perspective with which they approach the project allowing you, the lucky recipient of said house, to hopefully have a home that is both pleasing to the eye and fully functional.
Yet so very often in the business world we see only one type of individual - that’s certainly the prevailing case in the financial services sector - my field of expertise. More often than not, we see same gender, nationality, and, with frightening frequency - educational history. I simply cannot comprehend how we should expect to build a beautiful and exciting new house from this very small, stale pool. If we’re lucky, we may just be able to upkeep the old one with a team of handymen who are all pretty much mediocre at the same thing. Heaven help you if you want to install solar panels.
Our clients now are more demanding and discerning than ever before, and they don’t just want the best value, those simple, heady (for some) days are long gone. They want the best, full stop. My clients want, no expect, the businesses that they interact with to really understand them, their individual needs, their fears, their desires. Ultimately they want any business that they engage with to know what they want and how they want it before they even know the answers themselves. They want their emotional needs to be met, along with their insurance needs. Just selling a policy is no longer enough, it’s barely even the start, they want life support, or at the very least, lifestyle support. And if you don’t give it to them, someone else will. So if you want to succeed in a client lead, customer centric business, you must adapt.
We all carry our own unique perspective and take on the world and this is often shaped by our demographic. Take me for example: I’m female, gay and Northern - these characteristics or attributes will have absolutely shaped my view of the world and continue to do so. I have to work hard to see the world through the eyes of a straight, Southern male, but I absolutely must if he’s my target audience. If I can’t fully see through his lens then how on earth can I truly expect to deliver him a product and consumer journey that he fully engages with? An experience that begins by turning him into a client and then in time, an advocate for my business.
Of course, you can take the lazy road and just commission market research to harvest feedback and help define target audience messaging (its huge business) but doing this alone will never be enough. There’s a time and a place for market research but in my view, it’s an add-on, not a strategy and nothing replaces true human perspective from people inside your organization.
For me, it’s very simple, if you want to truly engage with your audience and win more business, your target audience must be represented in your team. There’s no better way to understand your market then to have them happily tucked up under your roof.
About Sam White
Sam is a true business initiator having set up her first company aged just 24 from her sister’s conservatory. Motivated by a deep-rooted desire to fundamentally change the insurance industry for the better and level the playing field, Sam has become known for her promotion of women and diversity in the financial services sector.
Founder and CEO of insurance services provider, Action 365, insurance provider, Pukka Insure and the newly launched brokerage, Freedom Brokers, Sam prides herself on operating a true meritocracy. With a collective turnover in excess of £15 million, Sam employs over 250 people in the UK, Gibraltar and Australia. A vocal supporter of equal rights in the workplace, 67% of Sam’s directors are women.
Her innovative and positive approach to trouble shooting sets her apart. If something isn’t working, she takes time to fully investigate the issue. A true opportunity spotter and unapologetic hustler by nature, Sam uses challenges, such as legislation changes that have crippled other businesses, to her advantage.
As a working mother of two, philanthropy is also important to Sam, a foundation benefiting from her businesses has been established with the goal of supporting some of the most worthy human rights causes locally, nationally and internationally. The focus so far of the endeavor has been on regional grassroots outreach and Sam is personally participating in the 2018 Insure Trek climb of Mount Kilimanjaro raising vital funds (>£100k) and awareness for the Alzheimer’s Society.
Recent additional coverage:
Winner, Northern Power House Outstanding Entrepreneur 2018
Shortlisted for the Insurance Start Up Award 2018, British Insurance Awards (Pukka Insure)
Business Insider’s 42 under 42, 2016 (Sam White)
Shortlisted for Northern Power House Outstanding Entrepreneur 2017 (Sam White)
Shortlisted for Insurer of the Year, Modern Claims Awards 2017 (Pukka Insure)
Finalist Insurance Times Tech and Innovation Awards 2017 (Pukka Insure)
Twitter handle: @SamWhiteCEO