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What our gardens can teach us about our workplace

Diversity is a core value of Day and Zimmermann.  In our daily work as an RPO, we strive to recruit, motivate and retain top talent with diverse views and perspectives because we are more productive and able to drive innovation.  We have learned that finding innovative solutions and ideas is going to create value for our customers.

The customer that my team works with is a global agribusiness organization that also values innovation with a mission of bringing plant potential to life.  I have had the opportunity to learn and appreciate the value and impact that plant biotechnology and plant diversity can have on our global environment and ecosystem.

The core value of diversity is crucial in gaining innovation and idea generation to move a business, a project or even an idea to a higher level; and this value holds true in the world of plant diversity as well.

In the May 4, 2012 issue of Science, the results of a 14-year longitudinal study were published on the benefits of plant diversity.  Scientists at the National Science Foundation (NSF) looked at how the effect of diversity on productivity of plants changed over the long-term. Two large field experiments were conducted at the NSF’s site in Minnesota.  The field included plots with one, four, nine or sixteen different species of plants (NSF, Press Release 12-086).

The study wanted to show how diversity works by demonstrating how different species have different ways of acquiring water, nutrients and carbon while maintaining them in an ecosystem.

In this study, scientists found that over a 14-year time span, all 16 species in the most diverse plots contributed more and more each year to higher soil fertility and biomass production than the plots that were less diverse, or had less species in one area. "Prior shorter-term studies, most about two years long, found that diversity increased productivity, but that having more than six or eight species in a plot gave no additional benefit," says lead scientist, Peter Reich.

Reich adds, “The take-home message is that when we reduce diversity in the landscape--think of a cornfield or a pine plantation or a suburban lawn--we are failing to capitalize on the valuable natural services that biodiversity provides."

While plant diversity production is measured in soil quality and biomass production, the parallels are the same in the workplace.  When we collaborate and work with a diverse landscape of people and ideas, we undoubtedly yield higher, quality results.  We also gain an appreciation for our differences and can celebrate the impact of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.


This post was written by Sondra Davis.  Sondra is a Scientific Recruiter at Yoh with over 10 years’ experience working in full-cycle recruitment for global R&D organizations.  She worked at Yoh in 2008-2009 and rejoined in November 2012 supporting a global agri-business that focuses on innovation and biotechnology.  In this role, Sondra is able to combine her passion for health and science with her ability to build relationships.  She holds a Master’s Degree in Health Education and a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology.  She spends her time outside of work with her three children and husband in Raleigh, NC.  

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