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For Lucy Shelby at RCAC in Portland, having a well rounded understanding about the cultures of her clients can help build stronger relationships and give more loans to communities for building new affordable housing. Organizations need to assess how they are presently doing in terms of recruitment and retention and promotion Assess the cultural makeup of your clients and your employees. Do you have employees that reflect your client base? Where are the gaps that need to be filled?

The Benefits of Diversity

A combination of written surveys, focus groups and interviews will provide that. Employees and managers together can develop ideas to make an organization more effective. Like minds tend to gravitate toward like minds and not work as much with other people who do not think like them. We always need to branch out and work with people who are from different backgrounds and have different working and thinking styles. After you do an assessment develop a plan to address issues and create a plan to support diversity.

Are you lacking diversity at the employee level, management, or board of directors? Some organizations have been able to recruit diverse employees but their executive leadership is exactly alike in terms of race, age gender, geographic background or education.

7 Surprising Benefits of Diversity and Inclusion - DeEtta Jones & Associates

If you always recruit from the same sources you will always get the same people. Nearly 75 percent of female candidates considered diversity a priority when choosing a job, as did nearly ninety percent of African American applicants. Given the high costs associated with employee turnover , successful organizations literally cannot afford to lose employees. However, employees flee companies without diversity. Research from Deloitte found that 72 percent of employees surveyed would leave their company for a more diverse organization. The survey also found 53 percent of millennial respondents had already done just that.

A clear EDI strategy can help organizations keep the best talent. Employees in diverse environments consistently outperform those in nondiverse organizations. Multiple studies report that when employees feel valued for their uniqueness, they are happier and more productive. On the other hand, when employees experience racism, sexism, homophobia, or other negative treatment, they react negatively.

Employees working in these unfriendly environments divert their focus to their worries rather than their work. EDI policies keep employees happy, and happy employees are productive. Moreover, a study of Australian employees found that employees in inclusive environments were 83 percent more productive than those in monocultural environments.

1. Benefit: Diverse cultural perspectives can inspire creativity and drive innovation

When minorities form a critical mass and leaders value differences, all employees can find senior people to go to bat for compelling ideas and can persuade those in charge of budgets to deploy resources to develop those ideas. Diversity improves customer service. While customers are always important, America becomes more racially and ethnically diverse each year. So, the typical American consumer is changing. Moreover, African American women are the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs. Things like comfortable levels of physical space, making or maintaining eye contact, and gesturing can all be vastly different across cultures.

Even something as simple as a greeting or handshake has cultural implications that should be considered in a work environment. Business Insider put together this useful infographic to highlight the differences in handshakes and professional greetings around the world: Despite the clear benefits, hiring talent from overseas can present an HR challenge.

Not least among this is the complicated process of navigating employment laws and visa requirements for international workers. Requirements and regulations are different in each country and between countries, and can change frequently. Beyond visas, further accommodations for a recruiting and retaining a culturally diverse workforce should be taken into account. For instance, providing a quiet space for prayer can make a workplace more welcoming and inclusive for employees with a range of beliefs, as can taking into account different cultural or religious holidays.

Of course, these considerations and accommodations can sometimes be an added business cost as well as a logistical challenge.

Colleagues from different cultures can also bring with them different workplace attitudes, values, behaviors, and etiquette. While these can be enriching and even beneficial in a diverse professional environment, they can also cause misunderstandings or ill feelings between team members.

For instance, the expectation of formality or relative informality , organizational hierarchy, and even working hours can conflict across cultures. Where a Japanese colleague may not feel it appropriate to leave work before their manager or, indeed, anyone else , a Swedish professional may be used to a 6-hour working day. Additionally, different approaches to punctuality, confrontation , or dealing with conflict can prove an issue.

However, working styles and attitudes towards work can be very different, reflecting cultural values and compounding differences.

7 Surprising Benefits of Diversity and Inclusion

If not recognized and accounted, conflicting approaches to work can put the brakes on productivity. For instance, approaches to teamwork and collaboration can vary notably. Some cultures, including many in Asia and Central America, value collective consensus when working towards a goal.


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Whereas others, such as Germany and America, put emphasis on the independence of the individual. Likewise, emphasis on order, rigor, and organization in the workplace versus flexibility and spontaneity can also reflect underlying cultural values.

Professor Katherine Phillips on the Benefits of Diversity

The Virgin Group is recognized as a leader in promoting workplace diversity and fostering a positive working culture. Hear how Richard Branson makes culture work in a multinational business by being flexible and open to different working styles: In many ways, the Hult classroom mirrors this experience, immersing you in a diverse and collaborative working environment from day one. By studying around the world and learning with peers and professors from over different countries, you will master the skill of communicating effectively across cultures and embrace the value of diversity in the workplace.

Have you experienced any particularly positive or negative aspects of working in a culturally diverse team? Do these influence your professional life today? Let us know in the comments below. Our application deadlines are fast approaching. If you are ready for a truly global experience, we want to hear fro… https: From urban poverty to climate change to the refugee crisis, the annual HultPrize challenges students from all over… https: Katie Reynolds , 2 years ago 5 12 min read.

Diverse cultural perspectives can inspire creativity and drive innovation Local market knowledge and insight makes a business more competitive and profitable Cultural sensitivity, insight, and local knowledge means higher quality, targeted marketing Drawing from a culturally diverse talent pool allows an organization to attract and retain the best talent A diverse skills base allows an organization to offer a broader and more adaptable range of products and services Diverse teams are more productive and perform better Greater opportunity for personal and professional growth Challenges: Colleagues from some cultures may be less likely to let their voices be heard Integration across multicultural teams can be difficult in the face of prejudice or negative cultural stereotypes Professional communication can be misinterpreted or difficult to understand across languages and cultures Navigating visa requirements, employment laws, and the cost of accommodating workplace requirements can be difficult Different understandings of professional etiquette Conflicting working styles across teams 1.


  • 2. Benefit: Local market knowledge and insight makes a business more competitive and profitable.
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Diverse cultural perspectives can inspire creativity and drive innovation Our culture influences the way in which we see the world. Local market knowledge and insight makes a business more competitive and profitable A multicultural workforce can give an organization an important edge when expanding into new markets.

Cultural sensitivity, insight, and local knowledge means higher quality, targeted marketing Cross-cultural understanding, along with local market knowledge, lends itself the production of more effective marketing strategy and materials.