Did you know that companies with globally diverse teams perform better financially than those that don’t?

It’s true. In a study conducted by McKinsey & Company, they found that “companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35 percent more likely to have financial returns above their national industry medians.”

That means if you want to be as profitable as possible as a corporation, your goal should be to hire people from all different walks of life and backgrounds. This is because it leads to better company culture and more creativity and innovation. All things that make you, your company, and also your brand stand out and perform better financially.

The best brands are built on a foundation of thought diversity.

When we think about diversity we tend to consider race, sex or gender, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, etc. But what about diversity in one’s thought process or approach to problem-solving? That “thought diversity” is equally—if not more important to the success of brands and businesses in this day and age when there are so many different approaches to doing things thanks to an increasingly global world.

Also, by building a team with unique perspectives, you’re creating an environment where employees can not only “get” but celebrate each other. And by doing this, you are molding a group of people who are better equipped to work together toward common goals and challenges—ultimately making your team better.

The benefits of having a globally diverse team at work?

Three Happy People Doing High-Five

It is well-established that people perform better in teams with diverse backgrounds, skills, and experience. Diversity also leads to more innovation in the workplace.

1. Increased creativity and better decision-making:

Creative ideas often come from the collision of different disciplines, perspectives, and points of view. A team with diverse backgrounds has a greater likelihood of collaborating to produce something innovative.

Employees take in and interpret information differently, and this can lead to better results through a process of discussion and debate among team members. Teams with diverse backgrounds also often look at problems from different angles and come up with creative solutions.

2. Improved company image:

Today’s marketplace demands that corporations act responsibly by protecting human rights, reducing environmental impact, treating all customers equally, and also giving back through corporate social responsibility initiatives—companies with diverse teams are able to meet these expectations. Having diversity on your team can help with your company’s image in the community, which helps create additional business opportunities.

3. Increased ability to embrace change:

Globalization has brought about waves of disruption in the workplace. Having employees with diverse thought processes has helped companies navigate these changes successfully—from globalization on down.

There are a few things you can do to increase the ability to embrace change within your team.

A. Promote cross-cultural understanding and collaboration:

Encouraging employees to learn about and understand different cultures will help them better collaborate with those from diverse backgrounds. When teams work together closely, they are more likely to share innovative ideas.

B. Encourage employees to be open-minded:

Change starts with a mindset—encourage employees to think of ways they can improve upon existing ideas and do things differently, rather than sticking with the status quo. This will also help the organization become more flexible and adaptable as it faces new challenges.

C. Foster an environment of respect for others:

As companies continue to embrace diversity at work, they must also focus on fostering a culture of respect. One way to do so is by offering training programs that encourage employees to provide constructive feedback without being judgmental. This allows team members to learn from each other and achieve better results.

D. Create a culture of accountability:

Your team will only embrace change if the company fosters a culture of accountability. This means holding employees responsible for their actions, performance, and also decisions—regardless of their background or position within the organization.

E. Encourage diverse points of view during recruitment :

Today, many companies are hiring consultants to help manage diversity in the workplace. However, hiring managers also need to be proactive when it comes to sourcing diverse talent. Here are some things you can do:

  • Educate HR about current workforce demographics and help them source diverse candidates effectively;
  • Implement an aggressive referral program that encourages employees to recommend people who might be under-represented at your organization;
  • Explore different channels to find diverse candidates, such as referrals from employees who are themselves diverse;
  • Create a process for assessing diverse candidates’ interpersonal skills before they are hired.

4. Improved economic performance:

Companies with diverse teams often outperform their peers in terms of revenue growth and net income growth. This is partly due to their ability to embrace change and develop creative solutions faster, but it’s also because of the vast talent pool they have access to. In today’s economy, businesses need every advantage possible to maintain a competitive edge—diversity can be that difference-maker.

5 Tactics to building a globally diverse team

1. Spread out geographically.

If you are looking for global talent, do not limit your search to employees based in the U.S. Instead, think about where you might find the best talent. Successful companies often partner with universities around the world to attract students and graduates who may one day become part of their workforce. For example, Google opened an office in Seoul, South Korea, in 2006 to attract talent from the region. Today, Google Korea is home to employees who speak more than half a dozen languages and represent 39 nationalities.

2. Become global first.

To build a more globally diverse workforce, it’s important to think globally from the start. English: The language of business and communication, but it is not the mother tongue for everyone. Ensure that your products and services are available to customers around the world in their native language. For example, Ikea has offices worldwide and supports a total of 26 languages, including Japanese, Arabic, and also Hebrew.

3. Make it a priority.

Companies must recognize the importance of diversity and make it a high priority. Take JPMorgan Chase’s Managing Diversity and Inclusion (MDI) program—the company has seen significant results since it began in 2007. For example, employees of all backgrounds contribute to the creative problem-solving process at higher rates than others, and also their ideas are more likely to be implemented.

4. Change your hiring process.

Many companies focus on recruiting individuals who think and act like the existing team; this is a big mistake since it can perpetuate homogeneity instead of boosting innovation. The best way for organizations to build diverse teams is by changing their approach to recruiting. They should focus on identifying candidates with high potential—regardless of background or experience—and also make sure to assess them against other key company values, such as having an entrepreneurial mindset, curiosity, and resilience.

Getting started with building a team of culturally diverse professionals?

Here are some tips to help you get started:

1) Define the type of diversity you seek in your employees.

Make sure the definition covers every aspect of diversity including gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion or spirituality, age, disability, or physical appearance. Include everything that comprises who you are as an organization because all aspects matter. For example, your definition might look something like this: “We want our employees to be reflective of the people we serve.” Keep this vision for diversity top of mind when recruiting, hiring, and promoting.

This definition of diversity will guide you in identifying the right talent that will bring experiences and skills relevant to your organization’s goals.

2) Take the time to find the right talent for your organization’s needs.

Recruiting can be tiring unless you clearly understand what type of employee will best benefit your company now and also in the future. Only then does finding that person becomes easier. If at first glance a candidate doesn’t seem like a good fit, dig a little deeper because sometimes it’s not always about right or wrong—it’s about what they will contribute to your organization.

3) Develop a recruitment strategy that will attract diverse candidates.

Be open with potential applicants about the diversity goals of your company and any programs you have in place so people can differentiate you from competitors. For example, if you don’t currently have many women at the senior levels of management, tell them early on so they can decide whether it is important for them to join your team. Then be sure to set clear expectations by describing skills needed or the type of role. This way, prospective employees won’t feel misled later down the road.

Common Pitfalls

However, when building a globally diverse team there are also some common pitfalls that leaders need to avoid including:

  • Stereotypes,
  • Hiring for diversity over talent,
  • Losing sight of inclusion efforts when hiring managers make quick decisions about candidates during recruitment exercises,
  • Not setting measurable objectives,
  • Having too narrow a definition of diversity,
  • Forgetting about engagement among employees who feel excluded from decision-making processes
  • Not taking into consideration how work styles differ across cultures.

The role of HR in encouraging diversity

HR can play a key role in enabling diversity by being proactive about changing company policies and practices. One way to do this is through recruitment. Decision-making processes should be formalized so everyone knows how hiring managers will evaluate candidates.

Also, training programs should be developed for employees at all levels of different cultures—not just with respect to customers but also among colleagues.

HR professionals need to know the types of questions that are acceptable or not during interviews. Also to identify where there are potential barriers when it comes to certain groups of people joining the workforce.

Companies must include their HR departments in conversations about diversity early on. Likewise, they’ll have unique insights based on their day-to-day activities with employees—from hiring to performance management, disciplinary actions, employee relations, and employee retention.

The role of diversity in business success

A diverse workforce gives companies a competitive edge because it brings together people with different backgrounds, experiences, ideas, skills, and approaches to problem-solving. A mix of employees enhances decision-making because opinions are more robust when there is diversity in the room. It also helps build trust among colleagues by encouraging others to speak up if they disagree or have an alternative point of view.

As competition for talent heats up globally due to demographics and the war for talent becoming increasingly complex, diversity will be one-way companies can differentiate themselves from their competitors. An added bonus is that having gender parity at the senior levels could address productivity issues across countries where women are under-represented in leadership roles.