Many people grow up in communities, towns, or schools dominated by people who look and sound like them and have many of the same traditions. It is arguably human nature that we find ourselves comfortable with others who share similar values, features, and even family dynamics. It makes particular sense when it comes to languages and faith-based celebrations. But when people enter the workforce, they are often pushed out of these bubbles and into a more culturally diverse day-to-day routine.
So, what benefit do both companies and their staff have by developing and maintaining a culturally diverse environment? Organizations that are comprised of different types of roles requiring diverse skillsets (i.e., most of them) are clearly impacted in a positive way. The workplace mutually created by employer and employees will attract different types of people and clients, and gradually build a solid reputation for having both. Today, at least in the Western world, that cultural diversity is crucial for success.
By hiring employees with a wide range of backgrounds, you acquire a built-in range of life experiences, opinions, and points of view. You are also more likely to acquire varied skillsets that cater to the different needs of your organization as you grow. (How many companies don’t have marketing, HR, and IT departments nowadays—regardless of their industry?)
This can potentially help you when brainstorming strategies to attract clients, budgeting expenses, and even managing the entire operation. It’s not about simply diversifying races or religions—it’s about broadening your perspective. While older team members or bosses have the upper hand in experience, the younger generation in general can offer new ideas. Consequently, in developing and executing the innovative tactics your diverse staff come up with, you ultimately attract more people to your business. Your employees will naturally understand their own cultures and what might win over new markets.
From the moment a company is established, it not only works to perfect its products and services, but also the way it is perceived. The way staff, prospective staff, customers, and prospective customers view you is incredibly important. With all four groups in mind, a company can methodically develop the way that the marketplace—and individuals—will view it. Social media should help you control the narrative, but your team and the people you sell to have their own accounts and the benefit of numbers.
By building a culturally diverse workforce, a company can create the appearance of an inclusive and welcoming place (hopefully based on the reality that it actually is one, of course). Employing people of multiple races and cultures reflects well on an organization nowadays. It shows that various types of people are represented. It appeals both to people who might consider buying products or services from you as well as to people who might consider applying to work for you.
When you have more people in the company who can cater to a wide range of clients and prospects, you can truly customize your products or services and your overall approach to meet their needs. Your company will ultimately gain more access to more types of people, thereby attracting a more diverse clientele. Getting positive reviews from said individuals is then a strong marketing tool—arguably the most impactful—and an almost sure-fire way to win over more people and grow your market.
With the power of social media, where companies can reach customers on a more personal level, people seem to appreciate relatability and feeling understood. Gaining insight into varied communities because you have employees with the same backgrounds gives you an edge that some competitors may not have. Once word travels, you will gradually build a reputation of tailoring your products or services to the needs of your clients.
How Globalization has Affected Cultural Diversity
Globalization has had obvious benefits for business, leading companies and countries to share a variety of different goods and services around the world— including talent! This does even more to accelerate the important trend of cultural diversity and inclusion as organizations expand and grow. Since remote work has become increasingly easier and beneficial to companies (not to mention necessary), hiring internationally is more commonplace—and consequently offers the opportunity to make companies even more diverse.
Only a century ago, the world seemed a lot smaller and a lot more segregated. But over the decades, as air travel becomes more common, cultural diversity in the workplace is more the rule and expectation than merely a suggestion. International trade, remote work, and even online shopping have diversified the entire world. Hiring a culturally diverse team bodes well for organizations who aren’t afraid to get on board.
Robyn Karmazyn | Contributing Writer