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Diverse & Multicultural Teams are Smarter and Do Better

We are living in an increasingly interconnected world. Globalization has opened new markets for business, as well as new sources of employees. So workplace diversity is now the name of the game, it is what’s best for business – and not an empty slogan as detractors would believe. Multicultural teams bring with them tangible benefits, offering opportunities that companies are now wisely seizing. These perks include:

Smarter Teams

According to a report by management consulting firm McKinsey, companies in the top quartile for ethnic and racial diversity in the ranks of their management were 35% more likely to have above average financial returns. Likewise, those in the top quartile for gender diversity were 15% more likely to have returns greater than industry standards. As Harvard Business Review sums it up, non-homogeneous teams are smarter because working with different people challenges your brain to go beyond stale ways of thinking and preconceptions. Diversity broadens cognitive horizons, sharpens the mind’s performance and results in better thinking on an individual and group level. So by going past our biases and presumptions, we can check ourselves for misconceptions. We become better at homing in on facts.

More Innovative Ideas

Diversity helps teams come up with more creative solutions. According to a study in Innovation: Management, Policy & Practice, companies with more women were more likely to develop radical new innovations. Similarly, in a study published in Economic Geography, companies with culturally diverse leadership teams were more likely to develop new products than their more homogeneous counterparts. A varied team has a broader repertoire of expertise and life experiences to draw from. Like a kitchen that has more ingredients, more herbs and spices. So with a team brimming with fresh ideas, companies can keep up with the times and outdo rivals.

Keeping in Touch with the Market

We’re not just talking about reaching more customers, the labor market is also growing as well. An organization reflecting these demographics will be able to reach these markets and audiences. Having a finger on the pulse is important. Businesses must keep up to date with trends and capitalize on them – and a diverse team really helps with this. Loyal customers should seek out your business, and it should also be the top choice for job applicants. And when you have this, your business will generate a feedback loop, a positive cycle that can be an engine for growth and profit!

Our Differences Make Us Stronger

Whether it’s diversity helping venture capital firms invest smarter, or multicultural teams celebrating different holidays so the office is never short on staff, mixing things up can help us overcome our weaknesses. After all, exploring new and uncharted grounds, and looking for what the unfamiliar has to offer, is how entrepreneurs succeed. So to become better, overcome challenges and get ahead of the competition, we must aspire to check our biases. We must go beyond sameness and avoid resorting to stale and tired patterns. This applies to how we fill workforces, how we network with people and broaden our social circles, even in how we think. We should reach past our comfort zones and embrace difference.

Diversity on a Budget?

Idyllic scenes of photogenic multicultural teams posing in offices seem like the stuff of big companies, multinational corporations and the like. For a small startup, a workforce like this – and its benefits – might seem unaffordable. Or is it? A multicultural team isn’t necessarily pricey. With Virtual Assistants, small and medium businesses can still diversify their workforces while staying within budget. This is the wonder of globalization and modern technology: Your diverse workforce doesn’t have to be physically there in your office. Your VAs will work remotely while giving you all the benefits of a smart and innovative multicultural cast of employees. -John Li

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