The world that we live in is constantly evolving. The idea of a global village has gained prominence in the world of thought and practice, blurring the once ever-present ethnic, cultural, regional and national lines.
The workplace as a part of this system is also embracing the need to have a global outlook which is devoid of all forms of discrimination, with the need to appreciate the differences in individuals ranging from gender, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation and social status. This is the foundation for the elevation of cultural diversity in the workplace.
It is important at this juncture to ask some important questions; What benefits can an organization derive from cultural diversity? Why would organizations want to integrate people from different cultural and ideological backgrounds, when there is always a possibility of conflict due to these differences? Differences in language, interpretation of events can lead to miscommunication. If not addressed, awkwardness and hostilities arise.
In spite of these challenges, the benefits of cultural diversity are many. People with different backgrounds have different interpretations of events, therefore they contribute unique perspectives that allow the group to look at problems from all angles and create innovative results. With so many different and diverse minds working together, many more solutions will arise as every individual brings in their personal way of thinking, operating and solving problems and making decisions. Companies that encourage diversity and inclusion in the workplace will promote tolerance, collaboration and open-mindedness, and inspire their employees to perform to high standards.
Recent studies have shown that increased cultural diversity in the workplace can lead to greater profits for organizations. This may be in part to global business trends, increased flow of information and technology exchange, and the benefits of language diversity.
Diversity brings strength. It must be valued and integrated into company practices and philosophy. Building a culturally-diverse and inclusive workplace however requires the commitment of time, energy and resources of the organization. Organizations which can put in the required effort to promote diversity and inclusion, will position themselves properly to reap the benefits of diversity.