Nowadays, most businesses are going global, and it is not likely to change anytime soon. The success of these companies depends on the workforce and the value they bring. This reason makes cultural diversity a top priority for most organizations.
People from different backgrounds come together to contribute to organizational success. Interacting with people from various ethnic and cultural groups creates a positive work environment.
Embracing cultural diversity in the workplace is essential for every business to establish its brand value.
This is why many organizations have implemented diversity and inclusion programs.
Before we look into the importance, let’s understand what we mean by the word cultural diversity?
What is cultural diversity in the workplace?
Cultural diversity in the workplace refers to hiring employees from different backgrounds, regardless of race, gender, and culture.
Hiring a diverse pool of talent is beneficial for the company and the employees.
The human race comprises diverse people with distinct experiences and skills. Disregarding someone because of who and what they are can make you lose out on great talent.
Types of cultural diversity in the workplace
Diversity amongst workers refers to a diverse group who have experienced discrimination. Diversity and inclusion program helps these employees overcome such barriers a work.
Diversity can mean a lot of things. Here are some of the different types of diversity in the workplace.
Race- Racial identification is one of the first things when we talk about diversity. Race defines people based on skin color, genetic inheritance, and geographical origin. Workers of color often face challenges, such as hiring obstacles and discrimination by peers
Ethnicity- Refers to people belonging to a social group with a common national or cultural tradition. With companies going global, diverse races and ethnicities might bring language barriers. Creating a clash in a diversity of thoughts while carrying out operations. Some companies have special ethnic groups like the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce for oppressed communities to cater to this issue.
Gender- As per the World Economic Forum data, It will take 208 years for the U.S to reach gender equality. Gender is a pivotal part of cultural diversity in the workplace. And to remind you, gender is what people identify as irrespective of the gender assigned at birth.
Religion- Cultural diversity is vital to promote religious equality in the office. It promotes tolerance and diligence. It impacts workers’ dress, dietary requirements, and religious holidays.
Sexual Orientation- The LGBTQIA+ community has faced immense discrimination throughout. They represent different sexualities and gender identities and thus have unique needs. Companies need to address LGBTQIA issues and create a safe space for these employees. The Supreme Court of the United States also ruled that the Civil Rights Act of 1964, applies to discrimination against LGBT folks as well.
People with disabilities- Diverse companies must give equal opportunities to workers with disabilities. Whether impairments from vision, learning, or mental health. Diversity and inclusion programs will do wonders to ensure diligence towards such workers.
Benefits of Cultural Diversity in the Workplace
Many companies are working towards creating a diverse work culture. We must remember the protesters who fought for the justice of George Floyd, who was killed for being black.
Employers must show empathy and compassion towards every employee to promote diversity in the workplace.
Employers must not show cultural insensitivity towards any employee in the workplace. They must know the benefits of a successful cultural diversity process.
Let’s take a look at the benefits that cultural diversity brings to the workplace.
Higher Team Performance
Cultural diversity in the workplace helps to increase productivity at work. Diversity is a combination of beliefs, values, and norms for people to work on a common goal. Promoting cultural diversity in the workplace enhances team performance because:
- It allows employees to learn and grow by sharing each other’s experiences.
- Employees from different backgrounds engage with each other.
- It enables them to come up with fresh ideas.
- It allows them to think out of the box and increase productivity.
A diverse workplace includes employees from different backgrounds, races, and ethnicities.
And when they work together, it breeds a positive work environment.
The second benefit of cultural diversity is enhancing creativity in the team.
When different groups of people with diverse ideas come together and work. One can find a solution. Every individual has their way of thinking, operating, decision-making, and problem-solving skills.
By promoting diversity in the workplace employers can:
- Inspire their workforce to perform their best
- Increase employee engagement
- Foster creativity and innovation amongst team members
Many studies have found- a diverse work culture increases profits for the company.
As per the 2013 survey of the Centre for Talent Innovation, 48 percent of organizations in the US with a diverse workforce showed improvement in their market share compared to the previous year.
For a global company, language diversity can be an excellent strategy to bring in new clients.
For example, companies dealing with India’s businesses hire people fluent in major Indian languages. It increases their reputation in the Indian communities. Such strategies can increase sales resulting in improved profits.
Inspires trust and respect
The best way to learn about various cultures and ethnicities is from coworkers who come from different backgrounds.
While your workers are on a lunch break with their colleagues, conversations happen. Promoting a diverse work culture is all about employees:
- Getting to know their culture and lifestyle
- Communicating about life experiences
- Discussing their festivals and foods
- Building trust and respect.
This increases employee engagement and motivates them. Which is an achievement for the company.
Cultural diversity in the workplace reflects positively on company reputation. Hiring people from different backgrounds enhances employer branding.
A diversity-based company is generally considered to be on par with the times. As a result, top talents, investors, and clients are a shoo-in.
A diverse pool of skill sets and experiences allows a company to:
- Provide genuine service to customers globally
- Bring a stellar and personalized customer experience to their client base
Wide range of skills
With a diverse workforce comes diverse skills. When companies hire people from all sorts of backgrounds, they bring in specific talents and abilities.
Companies often enjoy a versatile range of products and services to offer their respective markets a more comprehensive range of skills and knowledge. It won’t be wrong to say diversity in work culture means diversity in skills.
Reduces discrimination and harassment
Often people suffer different types of workplace harassment and discrimination (like sexual, verbal, racial, etc.). And implementing a diverse work culture can reduce unwarranted activities in the company.
Companies must implement a diversity and inclusion program to:
- eradicate negative emotions
- sexism, etc.
Cultural diversity builds respect amongst employees. It helps them to accept their differences, and make work fun and engaging.
Next, when you plan to hire new employees, consider making an effort to engage a diverse group of people. Include people across racial and ethnic identities, sexualities, and cultural backgrounds. By doing so, your organization will be able to avail the benefits of cultural diversity.