The push toward multiculturalism has revolutionized how many companies view potential new hires. Rather than enforcing congruency in how they require their employees to think, companies are finding the value in diversity of thought and various points of view that come with multiculturalism. Multiculturalism has become the buzz word among HR departments and hiring managers as they strive toward hiring employees from different cultural backgrounds and disciplines of thought. However, multiculturalism cannot remain simply a mandate from the Human Resources that only affects the hiring process. Rather, multiculturalism has to become a transformative movement within the company that reinvents company culture.
A movement serves as a force that revolutionizes the values and decision making process of a company, leaving no process untouched. After all, diversity and inclusion is a two-step process. Diversity cannot sustain itself without inclusion. Although hiring multicultural talent is beneficial toward improving diversity of thought, if companies do not take active steps to foster a multicultural movement then diverse thinkers will feel marginalized and excluded, stifling your employee’s ability to fully participate in the culture of the company. Therefore if companies want multicultural talent, they need to take the time and resources to ensure that multiculturalism is fully implemented in every process and task that occurs within the workplace. It may sound like a huge process, but there are actually proven ways that companies have supported the movement toward true diversity and re-imagined what it means to be a multicultural workplace.
1) Develop Diversity Group Think Tanks
Most large corporations consist of thousands of employees each coming from various backgrounds. With so many people, minority voices can often be muted by the thousands of other voices within the company. Diversity groups serve as a means to unite similar voices into a force to promote inclusion for marginalized employees. L’Oréal has landed itself a top 20 spot on the Thomson Reuters Diversity & Inclusion Index for their incorporation of diversity groups within the workplace. With think tanks such as disABILITY, Out@Loreal, and Women of Color L’Oréal employees are empowered to speak out for new inclusive corporate policies and develop product for under served consumer groups. This strategy has resulted in significant growth for the brand, increasing their sales in emerging and multicultural markets by nearly 10% versus 7.1% overall according to the recent financial statements made public in their 2018 annual report.
2) Encourage Diversity Mentoring
Mentoring is often praised for developing new talent, but it also serves as an opportunity for both parties involved to learn from each other. Part of Pricewaterhouse Cooper’s (PwC) Diversity & Inclusion strategy is to encourage their employees to participate in diversity mentoring and sponsorship. Upper-level management is often eager to mentor lower-level employees who come from different backgrounds and bring different points of view. This not only develops management from within but it encourages employees to develop open minds and find solutions that they may not have seen before.
3) Incorporate Multicultural Teams and Management
Every year the group Working Mothers releases their list of “Best Companies for Multicultural Women.” Consistently on the list are companies like IBM, Deloitte, P&G, and Accenture. A Forbes report looked into what these companies all had in common and found that the CEO’s of these companies actively promoted three things: They all provide an annual update on diversity to the board of directors; they all require a dedicated diversity executive to update them on diversity metrics; and they all meet regularly with a diversity executive to review goals and performance. These companies invest in diversity at all levels of the company and integrate it into all teams. These are key actions that companies can take to achieving their goals for Diversity and Inclusion.
4) Measure Diversity Initiatives
The French hospitality company Sodexo was recently recognized in France for having the greatest gender balance within their board consisting of 53% women and a female chair. Sodexo Chair, Sophie Bellon, attributes their stride toward representation on setting goals and measuring. “What gets measured gets done,” said Bellon. Many companies have adopted similar strategies, setting goals to have their company diversity match the demographics of the nation or city they reside in. While goal setting can be a good way to motivate diverse hiring practices, it is important to recognize the difference between a goal and quota. The difference being that goals recognizes the value of diversity and encourage diverse hires while a quota forces hiring practices without valuing what diverse talent brings.
5) Serve Multicultural Audiences
Having a multicultural team also makes it easier to expand into multicultural consumer spaces. Multicultural advertising agencies will all be quick to tell you the secret toward targeting multicultural audiences is to hire employees who mirror your audience. A Harvard Business Review case study revealed that cosmetic giant L’Oréal actively seeks to hire multicultural talent in their product development teams to find opportunities in new markets and to serve a diverse consumer base.
6) Value Diverse Points of View
The very nature of multiculturalism in the workplace is to develop diverse points of view and gain an understanding of solutions that differ from what your company was doing before. P&G Chief Brand Officer, Marc Pritchard, told an audience that “If you aren’t doing multicultural marketing you aren’t doing marketing” at the 2018 ANA conference. Therefore, valuing and empowering multicultural voices is the first step to being able unlock the benefits of a multicultural team.
7) Invest in Cultural Brokers
Although multiculturalism has been recognized by most Fortune 500 companies to be beneficial to the workplace, often times, multicultural teams develop the Tower of Babel Syndrome where team members talk past one another without understanding and teamwork breaks down. That is where cultural brokers come in. Sujin Jang, assistant professor of Organizational Psychology at INSTEAD, recently published research revealing that in multicultural teams cultural brokers can be useful to navigate and translate the different points of view. She writes in her research that “[Cultural brokers are] team members who have relatively more multicultural experience than others and who act as a bridge between their monocultural teammates.” Therefore, investing in cultural brokers can help with team morale and efficiency within the office.
Multiculturalism brings substantial value to any company, but it cannot remain simply a mandate from HR. Multiculturalism is a state of mind and a movement that has to be adopted by every member of the company and woven into the company culture. Therefore, if you are looking to promote multiculturalism in your workplace, be sure to create a plan that also involves inclusion initiatives. Utilize multicultural recruiting agencies to source multicultural talent and provide tips on how to implement inclusion strategies. Hiring diverse talent is great, but without promoting proven inclusion programs your talent will leave you as fast as they came in.