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Top 10 Ways to Foster Diversity and Inclusion in Global Teams

Businesses that eye a worldwide footprint inevitably face the need to grow their global workforce. In times of rapid expansion, this need could appear suddenly. In haste, the mistake is to gloss over the subtleties. One of these areas of potential neglect is diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I). 

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Why does DE&I matter when expanding globally?

However much DE&I might seem like something to think about further down the line, getting DE&I right from the get-go will go a long way in helping to ensure highly distributed teams will gel.

In global teams, the components of DE&I are right there, for all to see. It is only logical, therefore, that the expressions of, and the challenges in, DE&I will be more pronounced:

  • Diversity: It’s built into any global expansion. By default, the team is diversifying with new members from new far-flung regions.

  • Equity: With sudden global expansion comes sudden difficulties in maintaining equity among demographics in the employer’s fast-growing international workforce.

  • Inclusion: Logistically, inclusion quickly becomes an urgent priority. Feelings of isolation can fester among new hires amid differences in time zones, for instance.

Cultivating DE&I to attract and retain top talent

Despite the challenges, DE&I will help you attract talent. In 2021, a CNBC survey found that nearly 80% of workers “say that they want to work for a company that values” DE&I.

By a margin of 2 to 1, furthermore, “employers who practice DE&I have wide advantages in talent access, fill rates, and attraction,” finds a survey of more than 300 staffing industry executives by global research and advisory firm Staffing Industry Analysts.

A resolute focus on DE&I will also help you outperform the competition. “Companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to outperform their respective national industry medians’ financial returns,” finds McKinsey, as reported in Forbes.

It’s clear that a focus on DE&I works both ways: Employees seek an organization that has a clear commitment to DE&I; and businesses stand to prosper from the potential gains in productivity and performance from building a diverse, inclusive workforce. 

Opportunities for global employers to foster DE&I

So, how can you, as a business rapidly expanding internationally, make sure you’re tending to DE&I from the start? 

These 10 areas represent opportunities for you to be proactive in fostering DE&I as you grow globally.

1. Account for compliance

Here is where engaging with a capable employer-of-record (EOR) needs to be the first step along your journey to fostering DE&I as you expand globally. Depending on the region, some elements of DE&I will be defined by regulation. But don’t worry; your EOR will know what to do.

2. Get leadership aligned

When it comes to DE&I for fast-growing global firms, the entire organization’s leadership needs to be on board. Inattention to DE&I as you expand causes problems that may need structural resolutions.

Leaders must set a vision and strategy. Make sure the team understands that fostering DE&I is nonnegotiable. Have this attitude in place before growth commences.

3. Bake DE&I into your values and mission

This one ties right into leadership but warrants its own spot. Figure out whether a dedication to DE&I is readily apparent in your company values. Many regions you expand into will have varying understandings of DE&I, so it’s best to understand your own baseline.

4. Avoid one-size-fits-all DE&I

Then there are differences in cultural norms. As mentioned, one region’s or culture’s understanding and appreciation of DE&I may vary wildly from the next. 

A big mistake is to expect an inflexible DE&I ethos to work. Be adaptable, which is a core principle of DE&I anyway.

5. Dismantle language barriers

Language barriers will arise. English is the lingua franca of business, but hard-to-find talent—which may be fueling your global expansion in the first place—does not always speak it. 

Do you have a support system in place to accommodate non-English speaking talent? 

6. Manage performance in a new way

The archaic annual performance review will stifle any free-flowing communication that global teams need to perform well. If your technology for performance management won’t support anything else, you’ll need something different right away for the global journey.

7. Get your HCM technology in order

Your entire software platform for human capital management (HCM) must support real-time communication and other modern practices. Next to the utility of your employer-of-record (EOR) in establishing local entities quickly, your HCM technology comes in a close second in wielding enormous power to make or break your global expansion.

8. Tailor job descriptions

How are you approaching the wording of your job descriptions for global new hires? This is one area where compliance and other pitfalls can rear their ugly heads. Details such as requesting racial demographics (which is required in certain contexts in the United States) may be illegal elsewhere.

9. Recruit effectively

Job descriptions are just one part of the equation in acquiring new talent globally. The entire recruiting organization needs to be aware that they shouldn’t take any outreach for granted. Cultural norms are important to master.

Even bedrock conventions around initiating an introduction in, for example, the United States may be a big no-no elsewhere. As the tip of the spear of your global employer brand, your recruiters need to know how to operate effectively wherever they’re recruiting.

10. Don’t forget belonging

Often lost in the discussion of DE&I is another letter, “B,” which stands for belonging. And yet, belonging is the ultimate goal of all the letters preceding it in the acronym. With a global team, it becomes that much more critical for everyone to know they belong.

Fortunately, by tending to the areas shared above in the ways described, employers will go a long way in bringing about that sense of belonging as they expand globally.

Turning to an EOR for assistance with DE&I

An EOR is helpful when it comes to managing the operational and regulatory concerns that come from setting up an entity quickly in an unfamiliar territory. Having an EOR also proves helpful in addressing the subtleties that come with hiring globally. DE&I is a great example.

By partnering with an EOR, you can leave the all-important regulatory and compliance requirements when building a global workforce, leaving you to focus on fostering a strong, cohesive, diverse team. 

Chat with a Multplier expert on building global teams sustainably.

Will Smith
Will Smith

Content Writer

Will is a Content Writer at Multiplier. With a background in technology journalism, he is passionate about busting jargon, getting to the heart of complex topics, and writing pieces you'll enjoy reading.

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