We need multiculturalism, respect for diversity, tolerance, respect for diverse faiths. Manmohan Singh, scholar and Prime Minister of India
At the heart of any successful organisation lies a rich, diverse and positive company culture.
Your company culture is in many ways the beating heart of your organisation, providing a working blueprint for how you engage, inspire and encourage collaboration or connections in the working environment. That said, one of the most important aspects of any prosperous company culture is promoting multiculturalism within the workplace.
Studies suggest that racially diverse teams outperform non-diverse teams by an average of 35%. Moreover, 57% of employees feel that their companies should be more diverse. Encouraging equal opportunities while embracing an eclectic mix of cultures should be number one priority for brands and businesses the world over. By creating a cohesive workforce comprised of people from a broad range of cultural backgrounds, you will create a vibrant melting pot of success.
To demonstrate this in a practical context for both a business leader and employee perspective, here are the primary advantages of working in a multicultural environment.
Studies from the Harvard Business Review show that, typically, teams with members from multiple backgrounds tend to work more creatively, solving problems more efficiently while fostering innovation. Working with individuals from different cultures and backgrounds is often a source of inspiration – and when people are inspired, great things happen.
Creativity is one of the most integral drivers of success for any organisation regardless of industry or sector and creating, or indeed working, in a multicultural environment will result in the ideation of many groundbreaking ideas, initiatives and concepts.
When working within an organisation of like-minded people from the same background, you’re likely to stunt your ability to drive innovation. If everyone moves to the beat of the same drum, positive challenges will not present themselves, and innovative ideas are unlikely to be formed at nearly the same rate as they would in a multicultural environment.
By working with people that have walked different paths and have different perspectives to your own, you’ll benefit from a broader level of thinking that will make projects more exciting, more inventive, and more successful as a result.
A multicultural workplace is particularly prosperous as by working closely with others that speak different languages, have unique stories to tell and are attune to different cultural practices or processes to your own, you will reap the rewards of collective knowledge.
Continuous learning is one of the cornerstones of any scalable business. And, if you work in – or create – a multicultural environment in the workplace, lifelong learning principles will extend far beyond professional development or qualifications.
Multicultural working environments allow individuals to get under the skin of cultures that are incongruous to their own. As such, people will acquire a level of knowledge that will not only help them perform their jobs better but provide the tools to expand their careers, or the business, internationally. A multicultural business benefits from talent and niche pockets of knowledge from many corners of the globe – and it’s this culture of shared knowledge that will catalyse growth, scaling individual as well as organisational progress continually over time.
The average person will spend around 13 years and two months of their lifetime in the workplace.
Beyond personal development and earning a living, people seek added value, meaning and stimulation when they enter the workplace. An engaged employee will be more productive and through working in a multicultural environment – while being able to celebrate it – motivation levels are likely to rise, exponentially, from the CEO through to the junior interns.
Multicultural workplaces offer people a chance to sample diverse and delicious new cuisines, rejoice in the cultural festivities of their colleagues, connect with individuals that they may otherwise never have the chance to speak to and enjoy new experiences on a regular basis.
We spend a significant portion of our lives working – and gaining the opportunity to amass a diverse mix of experiences will make it all the more valuable.
An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity. Martin Luther King, Jr., Civil rights activist and cultural icon
It’s clear that multiculturalism is the way forward for businesses across the globe and by embracing such an environment, there is absolutely everything to gain, and more – here’s to diversity.
For more business-boosting insights, read our guide to designing an internal training solution