During this pandemic, we have been reminded that we live in a global community. We now know all too well that what happens ‘here’ can and does affect people around the world.
Similarly, in global business, while one market may be struggling, another may be emerging from a downturn. Smart business leaders will take advantage of these opportunities and look to diversify into new markets. Doing so can greatly increase operational stability, particularly in times of adversity. It also provides businesses an opportunity to embrace an inclusive and diverse workforce, putting them in a position of competitive advantage in the international marketplace.
Global Diversification Done Right
When businesses embrace diversification and expand into international markets, it is critical that they hire team members in-country. Avoid making the mistake of trying to take what worked in one market and duplicate it in another. Local hires not only speak the native language, they understand cultural norms and customs, which makes partners and customers more comfortable and more willing to work with you. Moreover, when your team is located in the region, you get valuable insights into markets that you wouldn’t otherwise have.
It’s also important that businesses moving into new markets should take small, manageable steps—starting out by hiring a few team members, for example. Starting with just a few employees allows them to experiment and learn how to interact with different cultures. This can go a long way in creating a culture of unity and dedication to clients.
There are many other benefits of diversity in your remote global teams. We know that geographically, culturally, ethnically and gender diverse teams lead to better outcomes both for employees and for the business as a whole. In CompTIA’s Diversity in High-Tech Industry research report, 64% of respondents said they agree that an organization with a heterogeneous employee base is more likely to produce world-class innovation than one with that is largely homogeneous in makeup. That’s huge. And that’s not the only benefit diverse workforces bring to an organization.
Globalization Partners recently published the results of the 2020 Global Employee Survey, and one thing it showed is that employees at diverse companies were three times more likely to report feeling happy at work. We also found that 88% of employees at diverse organizations feel listened to, were more likely to feel they belong, and were less likely to report wishing to leave their jobs in the next year.
A key component to reaping the positive by-products of a diverse workforce is successfully including and engaging each team member. By ensuring employees feel a sense of inclusion in your organization, you bring out the best in them and what they can do for the company.
Communication is Key
Now that remote working has become a necessity, effective communication practices and facilitating a positive employee experience are even more critical.
The research found that 33% of employees who work for a global company do not feel listened to, and 3 in 10 say they don't feel a sense of inclusion or belonging in their organization. This affects employee happiness and can result in increased turnover.
There has never been a more important time to invest in the right communication tools to help ensure the success of your remote workforce. Using collaboration tools can help create a heightened sense of social connection for remote employees. In the 1970s, psychology professor Albert Mehrabian deduced that communication is 55% body language. Therefore, using video whenever possible can make a tremendous difference in the ability of employees to communicate and to manage and resolve conflict.
Learn five tips for creating inclusive remote teams.
Diversity has many meanings. Beyond age, gender, race and ethnicity, or geographic location and national culture, it means new and unique perspectives from people that come as a result of different life experiences. Companies that foster a culture of inclusion and establish communications practices that make all of their team members feel valued and heard, will be the ones that find the most success.
Gerard Keating is the chief technology officer at Globalization Partners and a member of the Advancing Tech Talent and Diversity Community.