When it comes to business, flexibility is a strength, and having a diverse workforce does a lot to boost that. It gives you access to a broader range of perspectives, helps you connect more effectively with potential customers, and also means, at the most basic level, that you have a more comprehensive selection of potential new hires to choose from. It can make your workplace more energetic and more creative by bringing lots of different ideas together. Over the centuries, cities where people from different cultures have come together have proved the most successful in producing new inventions, art, and philosophy, and your business can enjoy something similar. These are just a few of the reasons why.
You’ll have better access to talent
When businesses restrict themselves – often unconsciously – to hiring only a particular type of person, they end up drawing from a limited talent pool. Usually, it’s the same one that their competitors are drawing from, so they end up competing over the same people while equally talented individuals go unnoticed. What’s more, different cultural traditions prize different types of skills, so you should make sure you’re reaching out to the groups where the real talent lies.
As Patrick James Trico has noted, immigrants have proven particularly valuable to the tech sector in recent years because other countries prioritize tech skills more highly in education than the US. This is equally true in other areas. For instance, India is particularly good at training doctors, while Germany excels at training engineers. Even within the US, particular cultural backgrounds make people more likely to excel in specific areas.
You’ll have access to different ideas and ways of thinking
When your priority is to hire people who have a lot in common, you may find that they get along well as a team, but there’s a price to pay when it comes to creativity. Bringing in people from different backgrounds means that they’ll have different ways of thinking and will approach problems differently. That is ideal, whether you’re developing solutions to existing difficulties or brainstorming for new ideas to carry your business forward.
Often, new arrivals with different cultural backgrounds will immediately identify workplace issues that could be handled more effectively. It’s important they feel empowered to let you know about them. Encouraging employees to share their ideas is, in fact, not only an excellent way to improve what you do but makes them feel more valued and thus increases their loyalty.
You’ll understand your customers better
Are you reaching out to a diverse customer base without having a workforce that reflects it? If so, the chances are that you’re missing something. A multicultural workforce gives you advantages at every stage, from product design to marketing and fine-tuning the customer experience. You’ll be able to create products and services which are more useful and more appealing across the full range of potential customers. You’ll also be able to adjust your promotional work to be more sensitive to different cultural beliefs, avoiding embarrassing and potentially expensive mistakes.
Having a more diverse workforce immediately helps you make a better impression on your customers – especially younger people, regardless of their backgrounds. It makes you seem more approachable and more like an organization that will understand what matters.
How to make it happen
What if you want to make your workforce more diverse, but you’re just not getting the right applicants? It could be that the homogeneity of your current workforce is creating the impression that there’s no point in people from different cultural backgrounds applying. Members of minority groups that routinely experience discrimination in employment often become very selective about the companies they approach because failure to do so results in too much wasted time and energy.
This is where you need to do a bit of extra work. Ensure that you have an up-to-date equality policy prominently displayed on your website. In your job advertisements, note that you particularly welcome applications from underrepresented groups. Reach out to minority-focused publications and community venues to run those ads. You don’t need to start choosing weaker candidates over strong ones – simply reaching more diverse candidates will make it easy for you to find the right people.
With so much to be gained, it’s easy to see why that work is worthwhile. Our world is rapidly changing, and businesses can no longer afford to stick with what they’re used to. Get out of your comfort zone, connect with new people, and you’ll soon reap the rewards. You’ll also find that your workplace becomes a more interesting place to spend time. The experience will renew your enthusiasm about your work and your company’s future.
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