Today we are living in a cross-cultural society, with people of all ages, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religious belief, and political opinions. And yet, when we look around at the multilingual workplace, we frequently come across only a few cultures and a limited socio-cultural background. Learning to diversify our work environment, on the other hand, not only gives us the opportunity to access new horizons and ideas, but it also provides insights that we never thought would be present, both personally and professionally. Do the benefits, though, surpass the drawbacks by far?
We can say that is not easy at all to establish a multi-cultural and multilingual workplace. One only has to consider the true practical challenges that linguistic differences raise. Managing a team with great cultural diversity becomes a major challenge because culture determines a series of fundamental elements such as values, principles, social behavior and the perception of reality itself that would then be different. If instead, all individuals had a common conception of what is right or wrong, of what is adequate behavior or not, the management of relations in the group would become simpler, leading to corporate welfare. With elements coming from very different cultural and religious contexts within the group, however, misunderstandings can arise.
The Benefits of Diversity
It is the diversity that leads to innovation, which is beneficial in terms of growth. A McKinsey & Company research reveals to be 35% more likely for companies in the top quartile for ethnic and racial diversity to have financial returns above the national average for their industry and 15% more likely for companies in the top quartile for gender diversity to have returns above the industry average. While a higher level of diversity does not always translate into higher profits, McKinsey & Company suggests that a more diverse work environment is a more fertile ground for fresh ideas and that it is innovation that ultimately leads to success. Whether you have a small business oriented exclusively towards the local community or are ready to expand internationally, a diverse workforce allows you to better serve all customers, not only current ones but also future ones.
Unique and diverse skills, employees who know other languages, teams able to understand different cultures and life experiences: all this contributes to creating an organization able to address a wide variety of subjects and to provide a targeted service, appropriate and sensitive to cultural differences at every level. Also according to a survey conducted by Glassdoor, about two-thirds of the people surveyed said that a diverse workforce is an important factor influencing the evaluation of companies and their job offers. This means that it is possible that any candidate will consider the diversity of your company before accepting an offer.
The benefits of diversity are undeniable, but we also know that there are some obstacles that every organization will face.
Solutions to Consider in order to turn your Business into a more Inclusive, Creative and Solid Workplace
Built-in text translation tools: Some well-known text processing programs allow users to translate text documents into dozens of languages. Readers can then examine information in their native language and, by better understanding, it can make a more significant contribution. Videoconferencing with translation services: You don’t need a simultaneous translator to organize meetings that everyone can attend and contribute to if you choose a video conferencing system with real-time translation services included. Created to optimize communication, these tools translate real-time speech into text in the users’ native languages, improving understanding and allowing all team members to easily participate and contribute. Collaborative group software with voice and text translation services: This emerging technology gives all team members the opportunity to translate and work on documents in their native language in the same space, as well as communicate clearly via text and/or voice messaging.
Creating a more diverse work environment that better reflects our multicultural society is not a goal around the corner, but the result at the end of the journey compensates for every effort. And with the right tools at your disposal, the path can be simple, straightforward and incredibly rewarding, for your team and for the entire company.