Understanding and maximizing diversity at work

In the business world, where managers are expected to find ways to improve productivity of a diverse set of employees, it is extremely important to find ways to identify the right FIT for each person in the organization based on their skills and values. Especially, in a global age where almost every large organization is spread worldwide, finding the perfect FIT by understanding the effect of local cultures on skills and values of every employee is critical.

Over these last 17+ years in the U.S and most of that in the Silicon Valley, I have realized the power of diversity at workplace. Silicon Valley work place is truly a melting pot of talented folks from every corner of the world with their unique culture. Each culture brings out certain unique work styles, skill sets and values to accomplish tasks. This uniqueness is pronounced in the first 5-10 years away from the home country and softens over time. As expected, these traits continue to morph generation after generation and reach the steady state 'American' values over time. However, it is important to realize that each of us bring a unique set of strengths which when utilized appropriately improves productivity and therefore success of the organization. Let us take a few examples of some of the popular immigrant groups in the tech world that I am familiar with from the Silicon Valley. Although, my intent is not to generalize, it provides a good baseline to start understanding of how people from different cultures contribute to their organizations.

The Chinese from mainland China are 'group-workers' and tend to accomplish the best when tasked with a group project. They prefer to work in a group with other Chinese friends and are open to seek help from other members of the team. Individualists, they are not, for they do not seek limelight on their own. People from mainland are truly hardworking, pay attention to details and do what it takes to get the job done. I guess these traits may be a result of the years of Maoism which promoted hardwork, basic living and the essence of community. Therefore, tasks that require execution as a team are best suited for the Chinese. On the other hand, Chinese from HongKong and Taiwan are entrepreneurial, seek lime light and are quite individualistic. You can guess why. Albeit being from mainland, they had to develop skills and values to survive and grow.

Indians are primarily individualists and tend to compete for limelight in the success of the organization. Due to an enormous push by the families to succeed, they are quite competitive and seek ways to achieve success quickly. Also, due to the very conforming educational system, Indians in general, tend to be 'followers' than 'creators'. With the focus more on completion of the task and not on the quality and timeliness of the job, Indians tend to work well in assignments that are not under extreme time constraint. If you are tasked to manage a project or a team in India, it is imperative to set the expectations on the quality of the deliverable and also maintain a continuous check on the timeline for delivery. With a competitive spirit, command of English and an ability to work with people from diverse backgrounds, Indians are positioned well to manage and execute on global tasks.

Americans are the thinkers/creators. The educational system and the culture within the country promotes thinking outside the box and being entrepreneurial. Taking risk is acceptable and failure is accepted as a stepping stone to success. There are tons of examples within the society where individuals who have followed their passion have succeeded to build the best products and the most successful organizations. With the emphasis on 'speaking out', the communication skills are developed and are most suited for jobs in marketing or sales.

With the uniqueness that different cultures bring to the table and the necessity to use maximize productivity to execute a program, it is essential that managers/leaders understand the nuances to best utilize the right personnel for the right job. This knowledge is also extremely beneficial to manage talent worldwide in a multinational company. Fundamentally, in a society where hardwork, attention to details and entrepreneurialism is nourished, businesses tend to succeed in the long term.

Views: 67


You need to be a member of RecruitingBlogs to add comments!

Join RecruitingBlogs


All the recruiting news you see here, delivered straight to your inbox.

Just enter your e-mail address below


RecruitingBlogs on Twitter

© 2024   All Rights Reserved   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Privacy Policy  |  Terms of Service