One of the main problems many workforces have is a lack of cognitive diversity. In other words, everyone in the company thinks the same way. This might not seem like a big deal at first, but, as leadership expert Sara Canaday says, "companies produce the best results and are better able to innovate when their team members don't all think, process information or see the world in the same way."
A lack of cognitive diversity impedes a company's ability to solve problems in innovative ways. As described by Forbes, this "lack of innovation can lead to a slow, painful death in any organization." You can keep things lively by working to increase the cognitive diversity of your team.
What is cognitive diversity?
The term “cognitive diversity” refers to the many different ways that team members think. It also refers to the way they approach problems that arise in their company. Harvard Business Review puts it that cognitive diversity includes the ‘differences in perspective or information processing styles’. But going a step further it involves a more inclusive hiring process such as recruiting candidates with Down Syndrome or autism.
Cognitive diversity encompasses a variety of other aspects such as:
- How employees approach their work / their work styles
- How they learn within the work environment, and
- The range of cognitive levels within the team
Low cognitive diversity is often caused by hiring bias. This is because company leaders are often biased towards those that think similarly to them.
What are the benefits of cognitive diversity?
There is a range of benefits to hiring people who don’t share your opinions. Here are some of the ways that you can benefit from having a cognitively diverse team.
1. Improves your team’s performance
One positive outcome is that it tends to increase your team's performance level. A study carried out by Harvard Business Review backs this up, with the results indicating that teams with a ‘diversity of both knowledge processes and perspective’ completed the study’s tasks faster. So, by encouraging different ways of thinking in a team, a company’s productivity can be enhanced.
There is also a ‘positive measurable correlation between teams who embrace cognitive diversity, and teams who exhibit high-performance levels’. The creativity and productivity of a diverse team are higher due to its versatility and abundance of innovative ideas.
2. Increases an inclusive atmosphere
Increasing cognitive diversity also encourages an inclusive team atmosphere, which benefits your employees. By actively encouraging your employees to share their ideas, you can create a positive environment in which all team members will want to contribute.
By increasing cognitive diversity in your team, you will reap the rewards of gaining new ideas and perspectives you might not have thought about before. This helps you to solve problems more efficiently.
3. Improves the company’s image for future hires
By increasing cognitive diversity, you can even enhance how your company is perceived by future hires. It sends out a particular message of diversity and inclusion of culture, giving your future employees more incentives to join your organization.
As a company that is seeking to increase cognitive diversity, you stand out as an organization that appeals to top talent, which increases the quality of your candidate pool.
How can you increase cognitive diversity?
One simple way to increase cognitive diversity is to begin using pre-employment tests to get a better idea of how candidates think. This can enhance the quality of your hires. Online skills assessments like TestGorilla can help to increase cognitive diversity in many ways.
Here are three:
1. They help reduce bias
Reducing hiring bias as an HR professional can help to increase cognitive diversity, and online skills assessments make this so much easier. Skills assessments enable you to really get to know your candidates and better understand their abilities.
The results of these assessments also give you a better idea of how your candidates think, which reduces bias by giving an accurate representation of their skills. What this means is that you are less inclined to hire a candidate simply because they think the same way you do, which increases cognitive diversity.
2. They allow you to see how candidates think
Another way that online skills assessments increase cognitive diversity is that you can compare the results of each candidate’s tests with ease. Online skills assessment comparisons make selecting suitable candidates easier. They help to focus your hiring efforts on particular candidates that think in a certain way, and this can round out the cognitive abilities in your team. Skills assessments enable you to:
- Target specific skills, and
- Take on candidates with the required aptitudes
This makes increasing cognitive diversity more straightforward.
3. They can be taken by anyone anywhere
Because they can be carried out online, online skills assessments such as TestGorilla enable you to expand your candidate pool. This simplifies the process of increasing your team’s cognitive diversity because, as skills assessments are online, evaluating workers from around the world is made easier.
With online skills assessments, the candidates you choose don’t have to reside in a specific geographic area. Hiring remotely is easier and accessing a range of cognitive abilities is also much simpler.
Create a cognitively diverse team
Although you might be tempted to hire candidates who think like you (even if you don't realize it), increasing cognitive diversity in your team is essential to enhancing your company’s performance. Using online skills assessments is an easy way to begin transforming your team today!