The stats are in: Teams with more women are just smarter, y’all.

One of the most trying — yet important — parts of growing a company is forming your team.

Contributing writer Alison Battiste walked us through some of the logistics behind establishing your company and who you might partner with in her article earlier this week.

And there are tons of resources out there, when it comes to determining just HOW to grow and scale things, but I’d like to look at some actual data on the kind of teams that you might consider building when it comes to making hiring decisions.

Collective Intelligence

A couple years ago, super smart researchers explored the idea of collective intelligence — what makes up the “general ability of [a] group to perform a wide variety of tasks.”

Two studies were performed – 699 people, working together in groups of two to five. And in those studies, the “c” factor (the group’s collective intelligence) was measured.

“This kind of collective intelligence is a property of the group itself,” reads the study, “not just the individuals in it.”

What the studies found was that the makeup of the group (the average member intelligence) — and how individuals behaved with each other (taking turns when speaking, for instance) — contributed to that “c” factor.

Women and Social Sensitivity

Also notable — the proportion of females in the group “was positively and significantly correlated” with the collective intelligence factor.

Let’s look at the numbers on that result:

[T]his result appears to be largely mediated by social sensitivity (Sobel z = 1.93, P = 0.03), because (consistent with previous research) women in our sample scored better on the social sensitivity measure than men [t(441) = 3.42, P = 0.001]. In a regression analysis with the groups for which all three variables (social sensitivity, speaking turn variance, and percent female) were available, all had similar predictive power for c, although only social sensitivity reached statistical significance (β = 0.33, P = 0.05) (12).

In other words, women tested higher when it came to measuring their “social sensitivity,” which in turn positively correlated with the group’s collective intelligence.

Group dynamic

The group’s dynamic — how they interacted with each other and exchanged information — also had a bearing on how high the “c” factor was for the group. “[G]roups where a few people dominated the conversation were less collectively intelligent than those with a more equal distribution of conversational turn-taking.”

And there are plenty of other articles and research that support building teams that are diverse — diverse in gender, race, talent, experience, etc. It’s important, of course, to evaluate your new hires as individuals — but the way in which they interact with your other team members is going to play a massive role in how efficiently and intelligently you actually get sh*t done. 

What other factors do you take into consideration when hiring for your startup? Feel free to continue the conversation below!

Rachel Winstead

Rachel is a freelance writer and works at Soap Hope in downtown Dallas. She hates the term "disrupt," tweets about startups, and appreciates a well-crafted hashtag.

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