Why should more companies be actively encouraging cultural diversity in the workplace?

Cultural diversity is not just a box ticking exercise. Offices that are representative of a wide range of nationalities, demographics and interests are a melting pot for new ideas and innovation. This kind of environment can have a significant positive impact on the development of the business, both in terms of the experience staff have and the service that they provide to customers. There are some very good reasons why every company should be actively encouraging cultural diversity in the workplace.

Creative problem solving

According to an article in the Harvard Business Review, teams that have high levels of cultural diversity tend to take a more creative approach to problem solving. Different backgrounds, languages, communication styles and perspectives can come together to enable teams to be more innovative and to find new ways to better solve existing problems. The result is more creativity that also leads to improved results.

A global outlook is key today

Business takes place across borders today and, no matter where the company is based, a global outlook is key. This is much easier to achieve in a culturally diverse workplace where there are already multiple global influences.

Improving customer service

Where the workforce is diverse, employees tend to be sensitive to clients or customers from other cultures. This could manifest in an openness to local business culture or being able to communicate in that client or customer’s native language.  Particularly when it comes to industries where the terminology can be complex, the ability to communicate with a customer in their own language can make all the difference.

A more open-minded and tolerant atmosphere

Different languages, histories and outlooks encourage employees to understand and embrace the various cultures within the workplace. This tends to lead to a more flexible and open-minded approach to individual differences and the chance to better understand the complexities of the world. Tolerance levels improve as differences are no longer seen as an obstacle but an opportunity.

The language benefits for employees

A diverse workforce may give employees from other countries the opportunity to converse with other native speakers on a regular basis, which creates a more settled, community feel. There are also a lot of opportunities for improving general language learning levels throughout the entire office. Those who are looking to practice a second language or pick up the basics of a tongue they don’t yet speak could find support through other employees who are native to it.

The opportunities for sharing

There are lots of ways to get to know other cultures and sharing food and gifts is one of them. A multicultural office can be a constant journey of wonder for foodies who are keen to get to know the tastes and recipes of other countries. Every time a member of staff heads home, for example, their return may be accompanied by a treat selection for everyone to try.

These are just some of the opportunities for employers in nurturing a more culturally diverse working environment. Get in touch with 2i Recruit today for more recruiting advice.