October 5, 2015
Cultural diversity are the buzzwords of the moment, and their impact can be seen in corporate offices across the nation. Cultural diversity is often confused with race. The difference between culture and race in this context is cultural diversity is people of different backgrounds, behaviors and experiences. Racial diversity is based solely on the color of one’s skin. Thus, different races can share the same cultural background, while the same race can have different cultural upbringings. If you watch the news or look at your Twitter feed, hiring people from culturally diverse backgrounds is always in the headlines. Why is everyone talking about cultural diversity, and how does a diverse workforce affect a company?
Increases innovation and creativity
According to Forbes’ Fostering Innovation Through a Diverse Workforce, “a diverse set of experiences, perspectives, and backgrounds is crucial to innovation and the development of new ideas.” An example from the Forbes study is Mattel and its line of dolls targeted towards African-American girls. Senior management seeked the help of Mattel’s African-American Employee Resource Group to make sure that the dolls were “culturally sensitive.” Today, the So in Style line of dolls is one of Mattel’s best-selling brands.
Expand and retain customer base
Besides creating new products, diversity in the workplace can innovate new ways to reach new and existing customers. An example of this in action from the case study is cosmetics company L’Oreal USA. L’Oreal USA tapped into its diverse workforce when it was brainstorming ways to attract and engage new customers. The result of the brainstorm was a partnership with Telemundo and an online community on telemundo.com where members can access telenovela behind-the-scenes content, as well as a beauty blog. The new program helped expand and retain L’Oreal USA’s customer base in the Hispanic market and credits its success to its diverse company talent.
Attract top talent
A lot of companies, especially in the tech industry, have perks like free laundry and catered lunches to attract the cream of the crop. With diversity becoming something that job seekers are looking for in a company, in addition to other benefits, many companies are creating policies and programs to promote diversity. Another example from Forbes’ Fostering Innovation Through a Diverse Workforce: Intel implemented a program that not only promotes diversity but attracts top talent to its office.
The Rotations Engineer Program was “designed to develop and foster new, diverse talent at the tech giant.” Participants in the Rotations Engineer Program spend three six-month rotations in multiple areas and teams within the company. The program is “is a unique opportunity for us not only to attract diverse talent, but to bring diversity of experience to those that participate and experience the program.”
Having a culturally diverse workforce sparks new ideas on how to solve business problems and is attractive to job seekers. Promoting a workforce with different backgrounds and experiences can really help your company, especially if it’s stuck in a rut. It’s worth the time to develop a diversity policy when recruiting and hiring for your company.