In today’s world, many businesses recognize the importance of diversity in the workplace – diverse teams are more creative, productive and can address a broader set of market demands due to their breadth of perspective. However, actually achieving workplace diversity has shown to be more difficult in practice. For example, recent studies show that only 25% of salespeople in the technology industry are women. This is something that should and must change to be representative of the world we live in.
At Motus, diversity is extremely important to our company’s success. Diversity is more than just race, gender and sexual orientation; it’s also ways of thinking and communicating. Think of it this way: when you have a sales team that thinks and speaks exactly the same way, you might find that they’re successful for a point in time. But as soon as the market shifts or something changes, the entire team will fail in exactly the same way at the same time. Having a diverse workforce makes it easier to weather these natural changes in the business.
That’s why, when Thoma Bravo merged Motus and Runzheimer nearly two years ago, we made a concerted effort to create a more diverse team. One that is not only reflective of the communities we operate in, but also the communities we serve.
With the merger of the two companies – and the rapid growth that accompanied it – we realized we had an opportunity to take the steps needed to create more diverse teams – while also driving the integration and growth of our sales and marketing teams.
In the following 18 months, we hired more than 60 sellers across three geographic offices – including home-based sellers outside those geographies – as a way to aid in our mission to diversify our workforce. As a result of this hiring effort, we incrementally grew the number of women on our sales team – achieving slightly above the 25% representation that women typically see in the tech industry, as well as claiming a majority (58%) of the spaces on our existing account management teams. Today, women are also in 33% of our sales management and VP positions.
In addition, we partnered with non-profit Your Grateful Nation, which helps veterans who are just leaving the military to transition into business careers. And, we successfully recruit LGBTQ professionals into all levels of our organization. While Motus and Runzheimer had historically been racially representative of the towns they were founded in, the growth into new markets also provided an opportunity to recruit and hire more people of color.
While our work was intentional, it was not something specifically communicated to members of our sales team. Nevertheless, they took notice. One of our sales directors recently mentioned the sheer size of the number of people in the room during one of our quarterly sales meetings – we used to all fit in the conference room at our headquarters in Boston and, suddenly, we migrated to renting giant hotel ballrooms in order to fit everyone. When he took a closer look, he said he realized how the face of Motus sales had changed. We’re now old and young, men and women, Irish, African-American, German, East Asian and Latino.
Another exciting observation? These new faces had an incredibly strong impact on the success of our business. While women represented 26% of our sales team, they were generating 45% of our revenue. They also exceeded their quotas 45% more frequently than their male counterparts. Those on our team who came from the military had distinguished themselves as “the best of the best” while in service, joining Motus by way of the Green Berets and SEAL teams. Their commitment to excellence, flexibility and resilience has translated directly to success in selling roles.
As the first LGBTQ executive at Motus, I’m proud to know we’re giving a fair shot to candidates from marginalized communities who are used to being overlooked elsewhere. It’s even better to know that when we hire them, they leap to the top of the performance pack. Our diverse employees are truly driving our success.
Does this mean we’ve tackled all we can on the diversity front? Not at all. We still have room for progress to make Motus truly representative of the world we operate in. This year, we are launching a formal Diversity and Inclusive program at the company. This program aims to make each Motus employee feel not only included, but like they belong in our culture. I’m excited about where I know that effort will take us and look forward to continuing the journey that Motus has begun.
Read more of JD’s thoughts on diversity within a company here.