Build a Diverse Team for Global Success

“Interdependent people combine their own efforts, with the efforts of others to achieve their greatest success.” – Stephen Covey

It is no longer tough or inconceivable for any company to become a global company. However, in order to gain global success, a global mind-set is required. This essentially means that your company is willing to learn new things, interact with the global ‘society’ and build a diverse team that will bring ideas that your company might never have considered. For a company to manage its operations across the world, it would be critical to build a diverse team and be prepared to manage the challenges that this new set up would bring.

It does not suffice to only, build a diverse team but it is also necessary to ensure that these teams perform to the optimum and use every skill set, opinion, perspective, cultural differences and other such dissimilarities to continuously learn and improve. Without a global, learning and growth mind-set, global success would be impossible. A commitment to build a diverse team includes a focus on having a culture that welcomes diversity internally. This mind-set and culture of inclusiveness then flows also to customers and other stakeholders, raising the reputation of the company. Despite the fact that without an energized and happy workforce, companies cannot hope to gain success both in the domestic and global markets, it is surprising to note the statistics. A report revealed that only 20% of the top management of some global companies believe that their company is doing a good job in building and managing diverse talent across the world. Less than one-third of them said that their company makes decision keeping the global spread in mind.

In order to build a diverse team that functions as a seamless unit across the world, it is imperative for companies to have in-depth knowledge of all the ‘markets’. An awareness of the beliefs, cultures and values of the people they employ in their offices that span the globe is essential. Without such understanding, it would be impossible to gain advantage of the knowledge and experience of their employees from various parts of the world. To build a diverse team for global success, companies must look at hiring people with diverse backgrounds, extensive international exposure, have travelled to various parts of the world, can speak multiple languages and those who have an international degree and work experience. Is your company global and has it been able to build a diverse team that is cohesive and well managed?

The fact is that in order to successfully build a diverse team, companies must understand that diversity brings differences. These would not be subtle dissimilarities but glaring ones like ethnicity, nationality, religions, cultures, food habits and patterns of thinking. Then there would also be differences in abilities, comprehension, experiences, technical skill sets, communication skills and many others. These may seem simple, but in many countries, even a hint of discrimination, can be grounds for litigations and can occur often if the company is not aware of what these ‘grounds’ would be.

As pointed out, a company will not achieve global success simply by building a diverse team. These diverse teams will work together when each of the members feels valued, are able to use their ‘differences’ to contribute to their maximum capacity, when their problems and issues are addressed swiftly and with sincerity and other such behaviours that the company displays to show each member that their presence is important.

To build a diverse team for global success, the company must also encourage each employee to gain as much information as possible for a variety of sources – both locally and from across the globe. There must be a culture of learning and curiosity, such that employees do not remain satisfied from gaining knowledge through familiar and known sources – rather they should be encouraged to look beyond and understand the trends, customs, customer preferences and other such aspects of multiple cultures and countries. The fact is without an open mind your company could miss out some of the best business ideas, brightest talent and new ways to do things. It is critical for a company’s global success to encourage its diverse teams to step outside the confines of their own cultures and beliefs, and gain valuable insights into the myriad ones around them.

With so many channels of communication, companies have no excuse for not reaching out to customers anywhere in the world. In order to use these channels effectively, all employees must receive training and coaching on how to communicate via these channels. The customer service teams must learn how to communicate directly with the company’s customers via the channel of their choice. Communication must be precise, clear, articulated and speedy in order for customers to see value in it. Great and consistent communication draws the attention of customers, keeps them engaged and encourages them to interact with the company. Engaged customers become loyal over time and encourage others to do business with the company.

Build a diverse team and then encourage them to gain knowledge and global perspectives of the global markets and competition. Provide these challenging opportunities to your top performers to keep them challenged and engaged – your company will gain from the knowledge they acquire by implementing some of the best practices and innovations. When top performers get opportunities to work outside their country of origin and gain global exposure, they are more likely to remain with the company and the company too would be building a pipeline of future leaders. In addition, these employees can disseminate the knowledge gained to others in the team, saving time and money for the company in hiring external trainers. This also makes for a robust career path for the high performing employees and paves the way for others to follow suit.

Various researches have revealed that companies that build a diverse team (team refers to all the teams of a company across the globe) and are able to lead this global team well are better poised for long term and sustainable success. The knowledge and experience of this team will help the company improve their standing in the market increase revenue and market share and have a set of engaged and loyal customers. Such companies are able to consistently demonstrate innovation, have lower pricing and consistently enhancing customer service levels. In addition to employees and customers, investors, competitors and other stakeholders, are keen to forge alliances with such companies.

To build a diverse team and gain success from it, involves looking at one situation or thing from many points of view, respecting each one and learning from each such that every decision the company makes, is beneficial and brings huge advantages for customers and the company. A diverse team would have its challenges – but such a team is also more creative and brimming with fresh and new ideas.

Just like with any aspect of business, a diverse team, badly managed could be the cause of several misunderstandings and instances of miscommunication that would lead to conflict and stress. Without embracing the differences of a diverse team, a company could pile up serious trouble for itself, which could lead to its collapse. In a time where the world is shrinking because of its connectivity, it would behove a company to not only build a diverse team, but also manage the differences, build intercultural efficiency and treat each person in the team with respect, care, empathy and importance. Building trustworthy relationships within their employee ranks would be the foundation to build a diverse team for global success.

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