Using the analogy to computers, Geert Hofstede describes culture as the “software of the mind”. Whereas personality is inherited and learned and specific to individuals, culture is learned and specific to a group or a category of people. Hiring diversity is a matter of providing the appropriate structure for learning and succeed in this global market.
A diverse management team has a positive impact on recruitment and retention, particularly in fast-moving emerging markets, where attrition rates can be high. If recruits can see that the top echelons of a company include individuals from a similar background, gender or race to them, they will be more likely to consider that their experience will be valued at the senior executive table. Diversity in the boardroom is needed to leverage a company’s full potential.
Despite broadly agreeing about the benefits of diversity, companies continue to struggle with translating their beliefs into action. Tomorrow’s successful companies will be those that are already grooming and empowering diverse leaders through strategic leadership development programs.
What do companies need to do?
Broaden recruitment criteria
Make international experience a prerequisite. Develop recruitment tools and resources to identify and recruit diverse applicants.
Make it real
Diversity is more than employee demographics and support for a few non-profits. You can’t buy diversity, and organizations that continue to embrace this approach will tarnish their brand. Canada is changing, and the new population carefully evaluates how organizations relate to it. If you are not authentic, consumers and employees will begin to question the authenticity and leadership of your organization.
Make the transition to different styles of leadership
Rather than maintaining a cookie-cutter leadership style, embrace different styles of leadership. Cultural awareness could have an influence on leadership effectiveness. An understanding of this factor should be an essential attribute for all your leaders.
Implement talent management programs that encourage diversity of experience — as well as diversity of backgrounds, genders, ages and cultures.
Encourage diversity through policies and programs designed to create greater inclusion of employees from various backgrounds. Implementing diversity management will give your company a competitive advantage in areas such as problem solving, corporate image, and branding.
Build a culture receptive to multiple perspectives
Organizations receptive to diversity encourage and reward creativity and ability to mix a number of solutions to solve a problem.