Cultural diversity in companies.
What is culture? According to the Cambridge dictionary, "the way of life, especially the general customs and beliefs, of a particular group of people at a specific time." Culture is the set of elements and characteristics of a particular human community. It includes aspects such as customs, traditions, norms, language and how a group thinks about itself, communicates and builds a society.
More and more people emigrate to live and work permanently in another country, increasing diversity based on national origin in the labour market, benefiting host countries with an increased talent supply and workforce in sectors with labour shortages. (Farashah, A. and Blomqusit, T. 2021).
Sweden is historically made up of people from different cultures, backgrounds and life experiences. Although it is a social and demographic challenge, cultural diversity represents wealth for society and the people who form it—referring to diversity not only multicultural or racial but also gender, age and disability. All kinds of diversity can bring significant benefits, also companies as collectives.
A central premise must be fulfilled for multiculturalism to become a differentiating factor in a company: integration, favouring the work environment with a plan whose processes, objectives, values and vision are headed in the same direction. How companies do business determines their sustainability, and sustainability begins by generating environments of belonging and trust within the organisation. Diversity increases understanding of customers and what value means to them.
Taking advantage of cultural diversity by recruiting and incorporating culturally diverse talent can bring many benefits to companies, such as:
Creativity: Each employee's different path and experience will create a diverse brainstorm and various points of view to promote creative breakthroughs and perspectives in solving problems.
Productivity: Diversity of thought will boost the company, improving productivity reflected in the results.
Reputation: the fulfilment of the objectives and the great results that will be shown will improve reputation thanks to the integration of multicultural teams based on non-discrimination policies, giving the company a plus over its competitors.
Work climate: Inclusion programs will promote camaraderie, improve empathy and make employees show satisfaction.
Growth and economic development: since globalisation represents significant challenges, companies depend more on their transactions with different countries due to the expansion of markets.
Companies benefit not only from hiring people from different cultural backgrounds in the professional field but on a personal level; it can be considered an excellent motivation for employees to learn about the typical customs of a different country or city.
Companies can generate numerous economic, social and environmental benefits through Corporate Social Responsibility policies and strategies. Likewise, diversity in the business sector can favour compliance with the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals. The role of companies in meeting sustainable development goals can generate real, solid change that transforms society:
Objective 5 Gender equality. Achieve gender equality and empower all women. Being a woman and an immigrant entails greater discrimination. Labour barriers, family responsibilities and lack of support networks cause them to be more precarious. Offer opportunities to migrant women based on their professional skills.
Objective 8 Decent work and economic growth. Offer stable, full and productive employment with equal opportunities for all.
Objective 10 Reduce inequalities. Provide the same opportunities to all people, regardless of their sex, origin or religion, since immigrants often face prejudices and stereotypes.
Objective 17 Partnership for the goals. To achieve common goals, it is crucial to work together, create alliances and collaborate, and share good practices and experiences to lead change.
To have the right people on board, it is essential for companies that candidates from different cultures can be motivated and perceive work very differently. That is why to attract and recruit the right people; employers need to understand cultural diversity relating to job offers, candidate applications, culturally appropriate interview questions and interpretation of candidates' communication, verbal and non-verbal. Select talent without considering its origin and valuing the person and their professional experience.
Once companies have hired, the onboarding process becomes essential to facilitate the cultural adaptation of new employees, creating the right conditions for them to reach their full potential and maximise their retention rate. The integration of each of the employees coming from another culture must be promoted around the organisation's values, promoting listening and active participation of the employees.
Promote training programs that adapt the skills of migrants to the Swedish context. Generate inclusion policies that reduce conflicts and improve company results, prohibiting discrimination based on racial origin, religion or belief.
You can learn more with Iknal Semikan. We will explore recruitment and onboarding from an intercultural perspective and ensure that the right culturally diverse talent is hired. We want to get the most out of your company and society with a multicultural and high-skill team. We will do it for you!