The ancient Sanskrit proverb from the dawn of civilisation translates to ‘The world is one family’. Engraved at the entrance hall of the Parliament of India, it is a clarion call to embrace humanity without prejudice and to open our hearts and minds to the differences that make us unique.
Canadian media theorist Marshall McLuhan first coined the term ‘Global Village’ in 1960 as the phenomenon of the world becoming more interconnected by the global propagation of media technologies. The village has continued to grow in the decades since, bringing more and more people across numerous geographies into its fold.
The last few years have witnessed an unprecedented growth in technology, arguably as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Evolving technologies have enabled businesses to continue operations over multiple lockdowns and for people to stay connected with friends and families around the world.
But to truly prosper both commercially and as a civilisation, we need to build and nurture an ethos of tolerance and inclusivity that respects and celebrates diversity.
What is World Cultural Diversity Day?
Every year on 21 May, to promote diversity, we celebrate the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development. In 2001, UNESCO adopted the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity that recognised the need to “enhance the potential of culture as a means of achieving prosperity, sustainable development and global peaceful coexistence.” This was followed by the United Nations general assembly declaring 21 May as a World Day in 2002.
“We may have different religions, different languages, different colored skin, but we all belong to one human race." – Kofi Annan (7th UN Secretary General, and 2001 Nobel Peace Prize Winner)
What is Cultural Diversity and Why is it Important?
Cultural diversity is defined as ‘the existence of a variety of cultural or ethnic groups within a society.’ According to a report by McKinsey and Company companies that rank in the top-quartile for ethnic and cultural diversity, outperform those in the bottom quartile by 36 percent in profitability.
This emphasises the importance of diversity not just as an ethical concept but as a veritable force to drive business growth.
“If civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the science of human relationships - the ability of all peoples, of all kinds, to live together, in the same world at peace.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt (32nd President of the United States)
The Case for Cultural Diversity in Your Business
According to a Race at Work report, only one is 16 top management positions in the UK is held by a person from an ethnic minority background. For this statistic to change, companies need to understand the business case for diversity and inclusion and how a strong DE&I policy can provide a strong competitive advantage over industry peers.
“Diversity: the art of thinking independently together” – Malcolm Forbes (American entrepreneur and publisher of Forbes magazine).
We at FDM Group are committed to promoting a culture of diversity and inclusion in our company. We’re continually working towards closing the gaps in ethnic, social, gender and special abilities representation. Our teams comprise of people from nearly 100 different nationalities, speaking almost 50 different languages across 17 countries.
Based on our experience as an Equal Opportunities Employer, we have identified four key benefits of cultural diversity for business:
1. More Creative Output
Different people bring different perspectives to problem-solving. For a business this involves ‘thinking outside the box’. The proverbial box refers to the monotony of the same old way of thinking that happens when a team comprises similar people with similar backgrounds.
A diverse workforce represents talent from different social and cultural environments. This causes an exchange of new and unique ideas and builds creative synergies that ultimately result in more innovative business outcomes.
2. Better Customer Engagement
A culturally diverse team helps businesses connect with a more varied pool of prospective customers and build more effective engagements with existing customers. A team that is culturally and linguistically diverse will also be able to form better connections with target customers from similar backgrounds.
3. Quality Talent Acquisition
In a recent Monster survey, 83% of Gen Z candidates said that a company’s D&I culture was important when choosing an employer. Being a culturally inclusive employer positions your company as a place that values and nurtures people from under-represented backgrounds. This prompts quality talent from diverse communities to apply to your company. Result: you secure a team of high performers.
4. Enhanced Business Productivity
An environment where employees feel included boosts engagement and overall productivity. Employees who feel valued by a company are more likely to go above and beyond to achieve business targets. This has a direct impact on employee satisfaction, retention and profitability.
"Human diversity makes tolerance more than a virtue; it makes it a requirement for survival."- René Dubos (French-born American Microbiologist, Environmentalist, Humanist).
FDM Celebrates Cultural Diversity
At FDM, diversity and inclusion run in our DNA. We celebrate the things that make us different and want to harness the power of diverse cultures and ideas coming together. Our unique identity is our unwavering commitment to inclusivity that resonates in our work and company culture. From celebrating the Chinese Lunar New Year to commemorating Australian Harmony Day, we embrace the merging of different traditions and welcome these valuable cultural exchanges.
To celebrate cultural diversity for Harmony Day, everyone in our Sydney centre brought a dish from their home country, had lunch together and shared insights on their different nationalities. Our Academy Trainer also held a workshop to learn how to make the traditional Argentinian beverage, mate!
Lunar New Year saw company-wide celebrations across FDM offices and a virtual masterclass with a Michelin-star chef where FDM-ers learnt how to cook a classic dish from the Sichuan province!
“…by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends." – Maya Angelou (African-American Poet, Civil Rights Leader).