Want to Be More Productive? Hire a Multicultural Workforce

Matthew MacLachlan

30 Mar 2016

Migration, the relocation of skilled workers and flexible working practices have all played their part in the changing face of modern organisations. While we are now all accustomed to hearing multiple languages spoken in the office and working with different communication styles, we are probably not aware of the productivity gains that a multicultural workforce brings to our team and organisation. Read on to learn more…

A Multicultural Workforce Enhances Creativity

A multicultural workforce is able to ‘do’ and ‘view’ things differently – and that can make all the difference

In an article published by Fast Company, creativity is explored in the context of a multicultural experience.

The author observes that most creative people have two skills that are more prominent than in the general population:  they are able to consider more than one way to do something, and they are able to see things from more than one perspective.

How can benefit from your international colleagues’ different values and attitudes?

That is, they are able to ‘do’ and ‘view’ more broadly than people who tend to see their environment in more black and white terms.

So how does a multicultural workforce enhance creativity?  More specifically, what can you learn from other people with different cross-cultural backgrounds, especially if they have arrived in your country recently or you are working in a new country?

And how can you learn to benefit from their different values and attitudes?

Different Ways of Doing the Same Thing

If the “newcomer” has not been exposed to failure or indoctrinated with the “accepted” way of doing things they will feel free to suggest new ways

The ‘do’ part of the equation leads many people to think about alternative ways something can be approached.

This can be something pleasurable, such as enjoying a meal for its own pleasure as well as the leisurely conversations that may take place at that meal.

Contrast this with a busy lunch in a culture where the main purpose of the meal is to ‘refuel’ and then move on quickly to whatever they need to do next.

Equally, if the “newcomer” has not been exposed to failure or indoctrinated with the “accepted” way of doing things they will feel free to suggest new ways of doing things that local hires might not.  

Different Ways of Viewing the Same Thing

The ‘view’ part of the equation leads many people to think about something from another perspective.

In the example above, a ‘refueler’ might have the opinion that a slowly paced meal is a waste of valuable time, especially if they are anxious to move onto the next task and the conversation is separate from that task.

Seeing this style of meal as a chance to build a relationship, which may benefit everyone in the long run, allows creativity to flourish and perhaps other opportunities will arise.

Inventiveness in the Workplace

Creativity also allows people to come up with new ideas and process them differently as well

In the corporate world, ‘do’-ing and ‘view’-ing things creatively expands most organisations’ global reach.

Creatively finding different ways to accomplish a wide range of goals, from problem solving to negotiating to time management to earning trust, can benefit the organisation as a whole, not just in its own culture.

Creativity also allows people to come up with new ideas and process them differently as well.

Thinking Outside the Box

Maybe the old cliché to think outside the box seems tired.  But for those people who can ‘do’ different things with that box and ‘view’ the box from multiple angles will provide the creativity needed to build a better box, both inside and out.



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