Multiculturalism breeds innovation and growth

by Tshego Tshangela. Culturally diverse workforces don’t just bring different people together; instead, new ways of thinking are ignited by the vast culture within an office setting.

by Tshego Tshangela. With more and more business being conducted on a global scale and virtual teams operating across national boundaries, diversity in the workplace has been an important touchpoint within many organisations. Culturally diverse workforces don’t just bring different people together; instead, new ways of thinking are ignited by the vast culture within an office setting. We have seen that organisations and individuals who welcome and make use of the ever-more diverse workforce will realise substantial competitive advantage compared to their homogenous counterparts.

Being a part of a multicultural team has demonstrated that multiple voices, perspectives and personalities bouncing off one another can give rise to out-of-the-box creativity that ultimately drives innovation. This has been achieved by offering a platform for an open exchange and wide-ranging personal and professional experiences that help inspire colleagues to see the workplace – and the world – differently. And what better way to leverage off that and expand into new markets?  In order for a product or service to succeed in a new market, it needs to be adapted to more than just local laws, regulations and customs – local networks, native language skills and cultural understanding can boost business development exponentially.

Multiculturalism appeals to the millennial job market, according to a Glassdoor survey, which found that two thirds of job hunters indicated that diversity was important when evaluating companies and job offers. In a competitive global job market, demonstrating that your business is invested in fostering an inclusive environment can make you stand out of the hiring crowd to the right applicants. Making diversity an important part of the recruiting process will broaden your talent pool of prospective employees.

Not only does hiring from a more diverse talent pool makes your business attractive to ambitious, globally minded candidates, it also helps you to keep them on board. Diversity, including diversity of gender, religion, and ethnicity, has been shown to improve retention and reduce the costs associated with employee turnover.

In a varied workplace, employees are more likely remain loyal when they feel respected and valued for their unique contribution. This, in turn, fosters mutual respect among colleagues who also value the assorted culture, perspectives and experiences of their team members. An inclusive atmosphere of cross-cultural cooperation is an excellent way to bond colleagues and teams across the business.

Cultural diversity has grown as a trend over the passage of time which has reaped tremendous benefits. Any organisation that invests and incorporates greater cultural diversity brings many significant returns, including improved financial performance. Making a commitment to that diversity, however, is more than just a simple shift in hiring practices. In order to be successful, any diversity initiative needs to account for how that change will affect existing practices while identifying specific changes that will need to be made to facilitate the transition. While this process can be difficult, the benefits are too substantial for any company to afford to ignore.


Tshego Tshangela is the Account Manager at Africa Communications Media Group. She started her career as a news anchor and field reporter at Rainbow FM 90.7 in Johannesburg; before moving onto Mix 93.8 FM as a radio content producer for various lifestyle, business and talk shows; including as station liaison and communication strategist at ThotBox, where she leveraged a unique understanding for radio, conducting brand research to drive communication objectives, while undertaking the planning and execution of brand strategies to achieve overall objectives.


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