This blog post is part of our #femalefintech initiative to showcase women in the fintech scene.

Today there have been many discussions about diversity in the business world; however, it is not enough to have a diverse environment, but also to think and act inclusively. Starting this process through leadership is the best way.

Promoting diversity and inclusion within companies is not restricted to the human resources area, it is a strategic issue. It also goes far beyond hiring a few specific people to fill quotas established by law or company goals. Promoting diversity and inclusion is about respecting and encouraging the individuality of each person and their experiences, regardless of origin, gender, race, sexual orientation, disability, or age.

My name is Ana and I am graduated in engineering. I have been working in the financial market for 11 years, in large and medium-sized financial institutions, and also in a fintech company. Today I am working with financial service consulting.

The top-down change

I have realized from my professional experiences that the top leadership’s role is to make the diversity and inclusion issue a strategic priority for the entire company. The leader must not only promote equality and inclusion by establishing truly inclusive goals and policies, but also be an example, stimulating an environment where all employees engage, are heard and respected. Moreover, discussion groups and training initiatives to clarify the theme help raise awareness about the issue and inhibit disrespect and discrimination.

Clarity on customer needs and innovative solutions

When the company can apply diversity and inclusion, employees, customers, and the company itself benefit. In an environment where there is respect for individuality, which allows people to feel good about being themselves, without fear of showing their essence, they are freer to create and much more motivated and engaged. On the other hand, diversity also allows distinct views that clarify customer needs and develop innovative solutions to their problems. The company benefits from a much more creative, collaborative, and productive environment, capable of serving its customers in a differentiated way, something so relevant for the current competitive scenario we live in today, which consequently converts into better financial performance.

In these years working in the financial market, I have seen a significant evolution in diversity and inclusion, but there is still much to evolve. I have experienced the greatest developments in places where top leadership is truly committed to policies and initiatives that promote an open environment. Consequently, people have their individualities and life journeys respected, their suggestions and ideas heard, recognizing this is what increases their value.

Diversity and inclusion to keep the competitiveness

Competing with traditional large companies requires startups to differentiate themselves through new solutions to customer problems and also to reduce the costs of existing products and services. By implementing diversity and inclusion, fintechs make it possible to address these challenges and maintain their competitiveness.

Author: Ana Carla Bassaneze, Financial Services Consulting Manager at Accenture (LinkedIn Profile)