What Google and King does to achieve more diversity

“There is a direct correlation between diversity and companies’ financial performance,” says Stine Rømmen Andersen, leader for diversity research at McKinsey Norway.

  • Diversity means higher financial performance according to McKinsey
  • How Google hires for diversity
  • How King, company behind Candy Crush, works with inclusion

“There is a direct correlation between diversity and companies’ financial performance,” says Stine Rømmen Andersen, leader for diversity research at McKinsey Norway.

At the recent Innoversity conference in Oslo she presented McKinsey’s findings on this topic for the past 20 years. The data shows that companies with more diverse teams tend to outperform the more homogenous teams. For example, statistically, teams with only white men are bad not only at diversity, but also at financial performance.

“There is a penalty for low diversity and those teams underperform financially. Companies with more diverse management teams are more likely to achieve better financial results. In a management team consisting of ten white Norwegian men, we see a slightly higher likelihood of increased financial performance if you replace two of the white men with two Chinese team members. If you replace the two white men with one person from China and one from Africa, we see an even higher likelihood, and so it goes,” says Andersen.

When scientists at McKinsey broke down this data by regions, it turned out that the same was the case across all geographies.

What would Google do?

Chuck Stephens is the Head of Diversity and Inclusion at Google EMEA.

“There are about 65.000 people who work at Google, and our products reach out to more than one billion people all over the world. What are chances of getting something wrong if we don’t have an awareness of a global community or nuances that exist in different parts of the world? What are the opportunities we are missing out on because we don’t take diversity into an account?” says Stephens.

To enhance diversity in Google, they focus on several things, for example, on hiring more diverse googlers and foster a fair and inclusive culture at Google.

“Last year Google received over 3 million CVs. We don’t outsource our recruitment process, but have instead created our own system to select the best candidates.”

“In the past, we focused on recruiting people from 30 top-ranking universities. Three years ago we changed that and have tripled the number of schools from which we recruit to ensure we choose from a diverse and different pool of candidates based on their achievements.”

Extensive hiring process

According to Stephens, the interview process at Google is fairly extensive. Hiring managers don’t get to decide who they want to hire, instead it is up to a hiring committee to make the final decision.

“Members on the hiring committee give scores to each candidate, and then we have a system to calibrate those scores based on committee members’ average scores. That way, we make sure that our scores are balanced.”

“We see that gender diversity on the hiring panel doesn’t have an impact on numbers of offers extended to candidates. However, we found out that if there are women on the interview panel, it leads to a much higher ratio of women accepting the job.”

30 percent increase in pay

To ensure fair financial arrangement when they offer job to an eventual candidate, they calculate the payment based on candidate’s years of experience and the value this role for Google.

“Based on this we don’t have a gender and ethnicity pay gap. Women on average get 30 percent pay increase when they start at Google. It is pretty unique compared to other companies.”

His advice to entrepreneurs is to think over the impact your decisions have for your company in the long run.

“You have to think diversity and inclusion from day one. It is not just something you add later on.”

Tougher in the gaming industry

Natalie Mellin works with diversity and employer branding at King.  She points out that the games industry has an even tougher job to do when it comes to gender equality than the tech industry.

Whereas companies like Google have around 31 percent women, the average number of women in gaming companies is 18 percent. At King this number is over 28 percent.

“More than half of the world’s active game-playing consumers are female, yet the number of women working in the industry is under 20 percent. If we want to continue making games that appeal to millions of people we need to make sure that our company is made up of people from different backgrounds, cultures and nationalities,” says Mellin.

Inclusion nudges

King was started in 2003, and has since developed over 200 games including the famous Candy Crush. Today they are over 2000 employees, and more than 70 different nationalities. Through collaboration with employees they track data on how many belong to LGBG+ community, gender split, employees with kids or looking after their elders, nationalities and more.

“We have something called small inclusion nudges in every area of our work life at King. It can be gender neutral bathrooms or our foosball tables. Usually the players are white men, but we replaced them with more diverse players. We also collaborate with Pride Parade through our LGBG+ community.”

King’s designers and artists think diversity when they are developing new games. In their workshops, they are focusing on gender equality, body type, ethnicity, culture, sexual orientation, ability and age.

“It doesn’t mean that everyone has to be represented each time, but we don’t want to create games and characters that are all look completely the same”.