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Our team was stumped – we just couldn’t find a unique approach that wasn’t cliché or corny for a new proposal. I looked around the room and realized our team was homogenous in gender, race, and age. Luckily, we were in the midst of the hiring process and one of our top candidates was a young millennial from Bogotá, Colombia. After joining our team, she quickly contributed fresh and unique new approaches. We revamped the proposal that had us stuck and submitted it to the potential new client. To our surprise, we won the bid and our new hire quickly became the energy and voice of our proposal department!
It’s no shock that diversity in the workplace is a key advantage to success and profitability for numerous organizations. However, what does diversity and inclusion in the workplace mean exactly? What does the definition entail? How does equity play into the equation?
When speaking of “diversity and inclusion,” it refers to the integration of people with a variety of characteristics, whether it is an assortment of cultural backgrounds, gender, age, race, ethnicity, education and/or skills. It is all about including equity within corporations. Equity refers to being fair and impartial.
In the global business climate of 2019, businesses that lack diversity in their management and workforce are at a higher risk of failing to reach their goals. If you believe your organization is missing diverse synergy, consider these 6 benefits of including more on your team.
- Faster problem solving: Harvard Business Review found that heterogeneous teams are capable of solving problems faster than homogenous teams due to the variety in perspectives and ideas. This means the solutions are found faster and hence, the problems are solved sooner.
- Reaching higher profits: In his book Intercultural Competence, Alex Matveev notes how diverse teams enhance performance, aid adjustment to new working environments and ultimately positively impact the organization’s bottom line over the long term.
- Creative ideas: Coming from different parts of the world means having a variety of experiences and situations. Being exposed to these spark innovative ideas and solutions.
- Different points of view: Having a team of people with different characteristics, talents and skills is extremely beneficial when planning and tackling a business problem. Sometimes listening to different perspectives is helpful when looking to think outside the box for solutions.
- Outperforming competitors in the market: According to a McKinsey study, more ethnic and racial diversity within the company result in a 35% increase in their financial return compared to companies that don’t.
- Engagement within the company: Employee engagement and overall satisfaction are two direct results of a more diverse and inclusive working environment. Employees feel more included and accepted which leads to a work environment with better synergy and positive results.
The ultimate goal when having and running a business is to have an empowered, motivated, passionate and hardworking team of individuals that make great things happen. To have such synergy, working to have a more diverse team is a foundational step to success. We were fortunate to add this millennial talent to our team. What success have you achieved with your DE&I initiatives?
Sharon Schweitzer, J.D., is a cross-cultural trainer, attorney, modern manners expert, and the founder of Access to Culture. In addition to her accreditation in intercultural management from the HOFSTEDE Centre and the Intercultural Communication Institute, she serves as a Chinese Ceremonial Dining Etiquette Specialist in the documentary series Confucius was a Foodie, on Nat Geo People. She is the resident etiquette expert on two popular lifestyle shows: ABC Tampa Bay’s Morning Blend and CBS Austin’s We Are Austin. She is regularly quoted by BBC Capital, Investor’s Business Daily, and Fortune. Her Amazon #1 Best Selling book in International Business, Access to Asia: Your Multicultural Business Guide (Wiley 2015), now in its third printing, was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2015. She’s a winner of the British Airways International Trade Award at the 2016 Greater Austin Business Awards and the 2017 New York City Big Book Award for Multicultural Nonfiction.
Sophie Echeverry is the Corporate Marketing Manager and Event Coordinator at Access to Culture. Born and raised in Colombia, she’s a 2018 graduate with a B.B.A. in International Business and Marketing from Hult International Business School in San Francisco, CA. Sophie has co-written more than 30 blogs since graduation. She’s a passionate foodie, and an avid e-scooter rider. Follow her foodie Instagram account or Connect with her on LinkedIn.