You may even have found through personal experience that combined perspectives from different nationalities, genders and cultural backgrounds can create stronger teams. But you may not be aware that a growing amount of research strongly supports the idea that greater diversity boosts business results.
Together with Undutchables, a pioneer in international business recruitment, we take a look at five reasons why it’s a good idea to make diversity a central factor in the search for your next employee or colleague.
1. It allows you to think differently and make better decisions
If your company comprises many different backgrounds, you’ll naturally have a broader range of perspectives to draw upon when strategizing – from a team level, right up to senior management. In recent years, a significant amount of research has backed up the idea that greater diversity has clear benefits in terms of decision-making.
The Henderson Institute, part of the Boston Consulting Group, has gathered a number of examples in their ‘Diversity at Work’ report. The report says that diversity is crucial in enabling organisations to “thrive in the face of uncertainty and change” because it supports resilience and adaptiveness.
Put simply, if your business or employer doesn’t have a sufficient number of different viewpoints to consider, it risks losing the ability to make the right decisions to overcome problems. You might say that a more diverse working environment can act as an insurance policy against future challenges.
2. It helps you understand your customers
Anyone who works in a customer-facing role knows that consumers don’t come in one shape or size. In the era of globalization, there is no industry or field of business with only one generic customer type. If you’re sending your products around the world – or even just into highly international cities, such as Stockholm – customer insights across all demographics are vital.
Incorporating a wide variety of backgrounds within your teams can therefore help to give you a keen insight into different markets. Why rush to carry out extensive focus-testing of a product before having a few simple conversations with colleagues who know their own home markets intimately?
This can save time and resources that could be better used elsewhere. Better yet, it can save your difficulties down the line as branding can sometimes take on very different or even offensive meanings when appearing in new cultural contexts. Avoid your own business faux pas with the involvement of your own diverse workforce.
3. It inspires innovation and creativity
Sweden ranks highly for innovation. But as every innovator knows, there’s never any room for complacency if you want to remain at the cutting edge.
Business experts support the view that increasing diversity is a surefire way to increase innovation. Boston Consulting Group found that companies with “above-average diversity” in management teams had innovation-driven revenue that was 19 percentage points higher than that of companies with “below-average leadership diversity”.
Photo: Getty Images
Time and time again, highly international and diverse cities – such as New York, London and Singapore – score highly in global rankings of innovation and business development. An environment that incorporates multiple viewpoints, backgrounds and ways of working will mean that the strongest, most resilient ideas win out.
Whether you’re a hiring manager or an employee, helping to ensure that your workplace embraces a wide range of identities, backgrounds and nationalities can create the kind of ‘melting pot’ that encourages innovation.
4. It helps with keeping hold of talented workers
The idea of workplace culture being entirely dictated by one prevailing background is one that has had its heyday. It simply doesn’t reflect the realities of the modern world. If your co-workers feel valued for the range of skills and ways of thinking that their background affords them, they are more likely to do their best work and be more productive.
There’s also evidence that greater diversity reduces employee turnover, helping employers to retain talented individuals for longer.
Undutchables helps both those starting out and executive candidates to advance their careers in Sweden and the Netherlands. If you’re hiring in Sweden, this means it can provide highly-trained international personnel who speak your clients’ language and understand their culture.
5. It helps you stand out (especially with younger generations)
Many businesses say they have a commitment to diversity, but as Peter Boerman wrote in a blog for Undutchables this year, few companies actually set hard targets. Hiring managers who do so could help to make their business a preferred employer – especially with today’s younger generation, for whom a commitment to diversity is the norm.
If your workplace can show that it is truly committed to having a diverse workforce by setting and meeting its own targets, Millennials and members of Generation Z could be much more likely to accept a role. With businesses looking for stability after the shock of the Covid-19 pandemic, embracing diversity could make the difference between struggling to survive and finding ways to thrive.
Ready to diversify your workplace? Learn more about Undutchables – and find out about its recruitment services for employers looking for multilingual international talent.