"Diversity means that the times are changing."
- Ed Harken, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
In today’s global marketplace, cultural diversity is the main building block for creating strong and resilient teams. Diversity is a driving force behind company culture, strategic growth and increased innovation. Ethnic and cultural diversity infuses teams with different perspectives, viewpoints and backgrounds, which in turn provides many bene fits to an organization. Let’s take a look!
Diversity Enhances Creativity. When members of a group are culturally homogenic, they tend to share similar viewpoints and come to a consensus faster. Their similarities make it easy to understand each other’s perspectives, which sometimes doesn’t leave any room for creativity. Compare this to a team with distinct differences (gender, age, geography) and you will see that, although members of the group need to work harder to reach consensus, they tend to tackle the same idea in multiple ways, which results in a more global and holistic solution to a problem. That’s because heterogeneous groups anticipate differences of opinion and work harder to come to an agreement.
Diversity Builds Resilient Teams. Our differences can make us stronger because they make us work harder in synthesizing various ideas for the greater good of the whole organization. By balancing out our natural impulses to seek similarities with an innate desire to do things a certain way, working in culturally diverse settings can force us to adapt faster and reach greater results. So instead of seeking similarities and striving to fulfill our desire to connect only with like-minded individuals, together, we work toward creating resilient teams where support and trust rule the game.
Diversity Provokes Thought. In an interesting experiment business students who were both Republican and Democrat were asked to defend their point of view regarding a certain issue. The Republicans who were told that a fellow Republican disagreed weren’t as prepared for the discussion as the Republicans who were told that a Democrat disagreed with them. Democrats showed similar results. Why? When we work with people whose opinions are different than ours, we anticipate receiving more objections to our viewpoints. Therefore, we do our homework while opening our minds to consider the arguments of an opposing party. All because diversity jars us into preparing the best solution for the presentation to come.
Diversity Promotes Hard Work. A 2012 study found that German manufacturing plants with higher diversification of foreign employees reported higher productivity. Similarly, a study described in Harvard Business Review found that employees of culturally diverse companies were 45% more likely to report market share growth and 70% more likely to report new market acquisitions.
Undoubtedly, diversity can cause discomfort and frictions, but at the end of the day, organizations that embrace measures to synergize mixed talents will reap the benefits in a variety of ingenious ways including upgraded innovation and improved employee retention. That’s why we recommend paying attention to skilled talent with a diverse background, and nourishing their skills in order to create a more unified and globally competitive culture. And we are here to help you make the right choice!