By Paola Pascual on Aug 29, 2022 4:14:47 PM
The benefits of having a diverse workforce are well-documented: increased innovation, increased creativity, and problem-solving skills, better decision making, higher employee retention rates—the list goes on. And yet, despite the proven benefits of having teams that are more racially and ethnically diverse, we still struggle to make room (truly) for people from different backgrounds in our organizations and manage language and cultural diversity.
This article will explore how to create a compelling business case for diversity and offer some tips on how you can create a more diverse and inclusive workplace.
What is the business case for diversity?
The first step to creating a business case for diversity is to understand what workplace diversity means. The Center for Talent Innovation (CTI) defines diversity as “the inclusion of people from different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives towards achieving a variety of goals.” In addition to including people from different backgrounds and perspectives, workplace diversity also means valuing those differences; enabling employees from diverse groups to feel comfortable being themselves at work; promoting an inclusive culture where everyone feels welcome; and creating policies that support both the recruitment and retention of underrepresented groups.
This definition focuses on race and gender—and while it’s important to pay attention here, there are many other ways in which we can be inclusive (such as by recognizing LGBTQ+ identities) that are not captured by using this type of language alone.
How does diversity relate to business?
Let's start with some good news: Diversity isn't just a feel-good effort. It can have a real, quantifiable impact on your organization's performance and profitability. In fact, McKinsey & Company found that companies in the top quartile for ethnic and gender diversity were 30% more likely to financially outperform their peers.
Another study by the Boston Consulting Group found that companies with diverse management teams were 45% more likely to report above-average profitability.
There are a number of reasons why diversity can improve your business. One is that it gives you access to skills and perspectives that aren't already represented in your organization. Another is that it increases the likelihood that you'll hire people who fit into your culture and share its values, which makes them more likely to stay at your company longer.
A diverse workforce can help your organization become more innovative, creative, and productive. It can also help you better understand and serve your customers.
When you embrace diversity, you tap into a larger pool of talent and ideas. Diverse teams are also more likely to challenge each other’s assumptions and come up with new solutions to problems.
All this research makes a strong case for the business benefits of diversity. But it’s important to remember that businesses are not just numbers on a balance sheet. They are made up of people, and the benefits of diversity extend beyond the bottom line.
Diversity can make workplaces more fair, just, and inclusive. It can help create an environment where everyone feels valued and respected. And when employees feel like they belong, they are more engaged and productive.
So while the business case for diversity is clear, it’s also important to remember the human side of this equation. When companies embrace diversity, they are not just doing good business – they are also making a difference in the lives of their employees and in the world around them.
Is there a strong business case for diversity?
As we’ve seen, there are plenty of studies that show the benefits of diversity in the workplace, including increased creativity, better decision-making, and improved company performance. But is there a strong business case for diversity?
The answer is yes. Diversity and inclusion is a business imperative.
In the last decade, there has been significant research into the correlation between organizational culture and its ability to attract talent. From this research, we know that employees are looking for three things from their workplace: a sense of purpose, a feeling of belonging, and some type of development or training opportunities. Diversity initiatives can play a key role in delivering on all three.
What does DEI stand for?
DEI (also DE&I) stands for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. It is an important part of any organization or business. Creating a DEI strategy can help to ensure that everyone in your organization feels valued, respected, and included.
As it was discussed above, creating a diverse and inclusive environment is not only the right thing to do, but it also makes good business sense.
While diversity refers to the presence of people from different backgrounds, social identities, ethnicity, color, gender, socioeconomic status, language, religion, culture, and any other aspects of human difference, inclusion is the active practice of ensuring that all the different people feel valued, accepted, and supported. They have a sense of belonging. Inclusive organizations support all their employees to thrive at work, regardless of their background, characteristics, or ideology. Equity is the process of providing fair and equal opportunities for all your employees based on their individual needs.
If your organization is not already focusing on DEI, now is the time to start. Don't let any of these big misconceptions about DEI hold you back.
What is the reason in favor of building multicultural teams?
There are many reasons to favor multicultural teams in business.
Multicultural teams expand business opportunities
Another reason to favor multicultural teams is that they can help businesses tap into new markets. By understanding the needs and wants of people from different cultures, businesses can better serve them and win their business.
If your team members are able to relate to your customers on a personal level, it can go a long way in building strong relationships. This is important because strong customer relationships lead to customer loyalty and repeat business.
Multicultural teams are more innovative
When it comes to innovation, multicultural teams have an edge over homogeneous work groups. That's because they bring a wider array of perspectives and experiences to the table, which increases their creativity and problem-solving skills. When people from different cultures come together, they can share ideas and solve problems in ways that wouldn't be possible if everyone on the team thought exactly alike. This is especially important when you're trying to innovate in a competitive industry with limited resources. How many times have you heard the phrase "think outside the box"? Well, multicultural teams help their members think outside not just one box but several boxes at once!
Multicultural teams are more creative
In addition to being more innovative than non-diverse groups do in general, diverse workforces also tend to score higher on measures such as abstract thinking ability (like being able to see an issue from multiple perspectives) or divergent thinking ability—which refers specifically to how well people can generate new ideas or concepts without relying solely on preexisting knowledge patterns as guides for thought process construction instead! This means that diverse workplaces may actually encourage better decision-making processes overall since they offer employees access opportunities where otherwise might not exist anywhere else within society."
The bottom line: if you want to make better decisions, work with people who are different than you.
How do you create a business case for multicultural teams?
The first step is to decide if your organization is ready for diversity. If you’re just starting out, it might be a good idea to focus on one or two specific groups first. For example, perhaps you want to create a more inclusive workplace by hiring more women or people of color. Or perhaps your team is diverse but your employees are struggling with cross-cultural communication.
Once your team is ready, there are many ways you can work towards diversity. Here are some tips:
Start with self-reflection. Identify what opportunities exist within your organization for employees from underrepresented groups (e.g. Does your company have an employee resource group for women in STEM?).
2) Recruitment strategies
Create policies that support the recruitment and retention of underrepresented groups. Focus on hiring diverse candidates by implementing targeted recruitment strategies.
3) DEI training
Provide training for managers and employees to help them understand the importance of diversity and inclusion. Encourage employees to share their experiences and ideas about diversity, inclusion, and fairness.
You can also provide opportunities for employees from underrepresented groups to mentor others.
4) Effective communication training
Develop strategies for ensuring effective communication across different cultures and backgrounds and train your non-native English speakers to communicate effectively in the workplace.
5) Inclusive culture
Create inclusive work environments by focusing on a culture of respect, trust, and collaboration.
6) Conflict management
Identify issues early on and develop strategies for addressing microaggressions.
7) Breaking down workplace silos
Build and empower cross-functional teams where communication flows in multiple directions. Find out how you can break down silos and boost collaborationin your organization.
What is included in a diversity and inclusion strategy?
A diversity and inclusion strategy is a more formal approach to making sure your workforce, customers, and partners are treated fairly and equitably. It focuses on increasing awareness of differences in the workplace. A diversity and inclusion policy is an official document that outlines your organization's commitment to creating inclusive environments for everyone regardless of race, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, disability status, or veteran status.
When creating a diversity and inclusion strategy for your business, there are a few key components to consider.
First, you need to identify what your goals are for the strategy. What does your company hope to achieve by implementing a diversity and inclusion strategy? Are you targeting any specific groups that need equal opportunities (e.g. minorities)?
Once you have set your goals, you need to create actionable steps that will help you reach those goals. This might include things like increasing the number of women in leadership positions, or providing training on unconscious bias. You also need to make sure that you have buy-in from all levels of the organization, from senior leadership down to front-line employees.
Finally, you need to establish metrics to measure success. Without setting clear goals and measuring progress, it will be difficult to determine whether or not your diversity and inclusion strategy is effective. Create a roadmap for how you will measure progress (e.g. surveys).
How do you embed diversity and inclusion?
Diversity and inclusion are not just buzzwords. They’re powerful business drivers that can help your organization achieve its full potential. There are many ways to embed diversity and inclusion within your team or organization. Here are some tips on how to get started:
- Make sure your team members feel comfortable communicating with each other. This includes feeling comfortable sharing their opinions, ideas, and feedback and overcoming communication barriers.
- Encourage open-mindedness and respect for others' perspectives. This means listening to others with an open mind and being willing to see things from another person's point of view.
- Promote a culture of innovation. Encourage creativity and new ideas by welcoming different perspectives and approaches.
- Celebrate diversity. Appreciate the unique talents, experiences, and backgrounds of each team member. This will help create a more positive and cohesive team environment.
- Be aware of your own biases. We all have personal biases that can impact our interactions with others. Be conscious of these biases and make an effort to avoid letting them influence your decisions or actions.
- Involve your leaders. The CEO, executive team, and board of directors all play a role in setting the standard for how employees treat one another at work.
Effectively manage multicultural teams and increase buy-in
- Focus on the benefits of working together
- Implement a diversity and inclusion strategy
- Acknowledge, respect, and leverage differences
- Make sure everyone is heard, included, valued, respected, and appreciated
- Establish norms for the team
- Develop a team identity and clarify roles and responsibilities
- Focus on building trust
Diversity and multicultural teams are more than just buzzwords. They are the future (and also the present) of work. But what does that mean for your business?
First of all, it means you need to be able to communicate with your non-native English professionals—and they need to be able to communicate with you. When you have employees from all over the world, speaking different languages, and having different cultural backgrounds, it's important that everyone can understand each other. That's where Talaera comes in.
We help your international employees join the conversation by improving their business English communication skills. We help them make communication more effective so that everyone can participate equally and make decisions based on the best information possible.
Our business English training has been proven to work across many different industries—whether you're looking to improve your marketing or management teams, or just want your employees to feel like they have a voice at work (and not just when they speak English!). We help you make the organization more inclusive—not only diverse!
For any additional information or questions, you can also reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. Interested in getting the best offers and receiving free content on Business English communication? Subscribe to our newsletter and we will keep you in the loop with offers, free events, and development materials!
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