Unlocking Diversity With Neurosignatures
What do neurosignatures have to do with diversity in the workplace?
Diversity isn’t only about race, gender, or sexual orientation. It’s also about how we think – and how we choose to work.
According to Workforce Management, American companies spend roughly $8 billion annually on diversity training. Yet a study by Harvard’s organizational-sociology professor of 829 companies over 31 years shows that diversity training had “no positive effects on the average workplace.” Why?
What is a neurosignature, and how can it hold the key to unlocking diversity in organizations?
Four powerful chemicals shape our personality: the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin, and the hormones estrogen and testosterone. Your unique combination of these four brain systems is your neurosignature.
Unfortunately, for too long, organizations have hired and nearly exclusively promoted one type of neurosignature, a high testosterone/high dopamine neurosignature. So, even as we increase the presence of gender diversity in the workplace, the personalities and behaviours—hard-driving, bold, and competitive—seem to remain the same. (It’s also why training thrown at women can have them focusing on lowering their voice and firming up their handshake…)
That’s not to say these types of neurosignatures or personalities are bad, but like anything, too much can become toxic. To reach a truly equitable workplace, we’d be wise to balance neurosignatures.
In a brain-friendly workplace:
🧠 High-testosterone people will lead with decisiveness and energy
🧠 High-estrogen people will nurture relationships and creative thinking to come up with surprising solutions to problems
🧠 High-serotonin folks will stay on top of critical details like regulations and compliance
🧠 And high-dopamine people will keep everyone feeling optimistic and goal-oriented.
Now tell me, is your workplace diverse?