Change has always been, and always will be, the only constant variable that we can unceasingly foresee. These constant alterations, however, clearly gained momentum as our technological development has made it possible for us to communicate globally with ease and travel across vast distances in mere hours. These changes have directly created a much more liquid global workforce that is more adaptable and mobile than it was ever before. Although humankind has always been migrating from continent to continent, from country to country, relocating has never been more accessible than it is now. In former times people had to pack up their entire livelihood and head out to places they barely knew anything about. Today one can go through an entire hiring process through a webcam, learn the basics of a new language online, or even browse for a restaurant where he/she will have his/her first meal. The liquidity of the global workforce is increasing in an ever-accelerating way from the vast number of global laborers to the world-renowned heart surgeons ; every work sector is becoming more and more mobile.
Parallel to the relocated individuals, the beneficiary of this process is the companies who manage to grasp this opportunity in order to establish their position in the market even more firmly. According to a McKinsey report, the public companies in the top quartile for ethnic and racial diversity in the management were 35% more likely to generate larger financial returns than those with culturally homogeneous management . The study has also concluded that since these companies were from the same sector and the same country, the unequal performance of the companies can be directly accounted for the more diverse leadership. Nevertheless, what exact factors make a heterogeneous work environment more efficient than a homogeneous one?
According to an article from the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology , people with different cultural backgrounds might alter the behavior of a group’s social majority in a way that leads to more accurate and objective problem-solving. The study showed that the exchanging of information and problem solving among racially diverse groups is clearly advantaged to homogeneous groups especially when they were asked to tackle issues that are more complex. The interpersonal conflicts – that are usually mentioned as a negative inherent effect of diversity – that might arise in certain situations accounted also as a positive, motivating factor when it came to decision making.
The other massive and to some extent more evident advantage of a diverse work environment is the innovation that comes with it. Every company that wants to stay competitive and walk among the trendsetters has to have original ideas and answers to issues that might not even exist yet. The higher the cultural, ethnic and gender diversity is in the decision-making body, the more perspectives they can examine to the challenge they are facing, generating more complex and rich solutions.
Now that we established the advantages of having a culturally diverse work environment, we have to also talk about the challenges of having an ethnically heterogeneous workspace. These challenges can be grouped into two distinct types: inter-subjective and individual. The inter-subjective challenges of having a diverse worker base result from the big differences between employees of different cultural backgrounds, such as different working habits, different perspectives, and needs. These differences can cause conflicts between employees and can make coordinating projects and problem-solving much harder as they make cooperation more difficult .
The second type of challenge comes from the hardship of the individual employee who is relocated from one country to another. The newly relocated employees go through a phase of transition between one way of life and employment to another. During this process, global talents face both emotional and professional hardships.
The emotional hardships of immigrants are first of personal nature. A person who recently moved countries will most likely have to leave behind their family and close friends, or at least most of them. This can cause isolation that can have a detrimental effect on their mental health and personal life. In addition, leaving behind their home country will result in homesickness, missing familiar places, people, and foods and so on. It is a proven psychological fact that emotional health struggles decrease work efficiency and productivity , so it is important that each and every one of our employees has the resources to tackle these negative factors to decrease their impact on their professional life.
Therefore, it is in every prominent company’s best interest to be invested in making the personal transition into a new work environment as soon as possible for these very reasons, seeing that personal struggles impact even the most highly trained and educated professionals in their workplace productivity and efficiency. Helping employees of different cultural backgrounds integrate into companies makes them more efficient and productive employees and helps enforce all of the benefits and advantages of having a diverse team of professionals with none of the disadvantages. In addition, it is proven that when a company is involved in their employee’s well-being, their work ethics will ameliorate . It also helps companies to be a place of equality and appreciation which will greatly benefit all those working together to realize their common vision, and the company’s reputation will also profit from practicing compassion towards all of its workers.
Globalization is still on the rise, its pace accelerating, and all of us can benefit from making our markets, our production, and the composition of our human resources reach an international scale. It is not enough to think globally and act locally; we have to pay attention to how the global economy influences our local branch and how the local economy influences us on a global scale . That is why it is crucial to reflect this global inter-dependency in how we handle our human resources, as worker mobility and the asset of having diverse work environments help us make the most of global talent and make our company more efficient, more productive and more profitable. Taking or not taking globalization is a make-or-break factor in managing every company, so you better get on track with it, or watch it expand without you. If you want to learn more about how you can take your business to a new level of efficiency, you can visit our website at https://genm.global, where you can talk with one of our professionals for further information.
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 Can We Keep Up with Globalization? [Yale Insights Online] 2016 May 09. Available from: https://insights.som.yale.edu/insights/can-we-keep-up-with-globalization