There are no ifs or buts about it, globalization is a worldwide and irreversible trend. Its profound effects on businesses and cross-border activities around the world have made the concept of cultural diversity highly relevant for managers and organizations. Understanding and embracing diversity is the first step to becoming competitive on an international scale.
While cultural diversity can have many positive impacts on a business, we’ve highlighted four of the potential benefits in the workplace:
01. Drives innovation and inspires creativity
Cultural diversity brings together diverse perspectives, knowledge and skills, which in turn supports the generation of innovative ideas. A study by Boston Consulting Group showed a significant correlation between diversity and overall innovation. Bringing together different perspectives and experiences and leveraging them makes it much easier to think outside the box and come up with creative solutions.
02. Attracts and leverages global and local talent
The war for talent is pressing companies and organizations to look for qualified employees internationally. According to Glassdoor, 2 out of 3 people consider diversity and its appreciation important when deciding where to work. Thus, embracing cultural diversity not only prepares oneself for the inevitable change in the workplace, but it also helps companies and organizations attract and retain talents.
03. Leads to higher productivity and performance
In addition to being a driver for innovation, cultural diversity can also improve performance and productivity of companies. For example, McKinsey found out that companies with more diverse board members performed better financially. Further in a very recent study McKinsey found that diversity wins and needs to be linked to inclusion.
04. Provides opportunities for inclusion
Feelings of group membership and valued personal uniqueness are essential for individuals. It offers people self-verification and power, enhances their social position and boosts feelings of self-worth. In a multicultural environment, diversity is intuitively much more visible and understood. Thus, conscious efforts of promoting inclusion will enable companies to better manage and harness their workforce, lead to more committed and satisfied employees, and give companies a competitive advantage (Patrick & Kumar, 2012; Nishii et al., 2019).
To make the most of these benefits, we need a culturally competent workforce
Harnessing the benefits of cultural diversity, however, requires having a culturally adept team that knows how to navigate intercultural encounters. A variety of educational offerings aim to support companies in developing their employees’ intercultural competences. In addition to conventional educational formats, gamified approaches such as the serious game series “Moving Tomorrow” are promising new trends in that area.