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Riikka Seppälä

Multicultural Employees: The Untapped Resource of Global Business

Digitalization is rapidly changing the way international business is done today. In today`s fast changing global economy, where businesses are spread worldwide and teams are constructed from experts from different backgrounds and cultures, we must – or in fact, are entitled to – work with people who are different from us, no matter what that difference is.

For Finnish companies seeking international growth, multicultural teams can offer a number of advantages, including deep knowledge of different product markets, culturally sensitive customer service, better decision-making and higher creativity and innovation – just to mention a few. Ultimately, utilizing these great advantages comes down to leadership skills and how a diverse workforce is managed.

It is has been widely observedthat most creative people have two things in common: They are willing to consider alternatives to the way things are currently done, and they see objects, people and situations from multiple perspectives. This is also how best describes your employees with international mindsets.

Consider, for instance, how when you dive into another culture two interesting things happen. First, your overall openness to new experiences increases. This kind of openness often leads to more creative ideas. Engaging with a new culture allows you to get comfortable accepting that the activities you engage in are just one choice among many. Moreover, you are able to see that there are many different approaches to life. It helps you to understand that there are many different ways to achieve your goals, and there are many different goals that people may find worth achieving. The key aspect of learning to adapt into a new culture is not that you have to decide which approach is better. Rather, you recognize that everything in the world can be looked at in many different ways, for business as well.

So why not tap into the potential of multicultural employees to utilize these skills for your business to grow internationally!

This is how you can start building your company`s competitive advantage for internationalization:

  1. First, learn to understand the skills your multicultural employees possess and take advantage of the cognitive flexibility they have developed to make your organization more creative.
  2. Second, build multicultural teams, allow intercultural negotiations, ethics and leadership – all of which can leverage distinctive skills, knowledge and perspectives for international growth of your business.
  3. Third, make sure that each and every one of your employees understands what they are working for – what is the ultimate value that your company brings to its customers.

As Muhtar Kent, Coca Cola’s bicultural CEO has said: “True innovation, that we have found, comes from this beautiful fusion of cultures, ideas, beliefs and experiences.”

A diverse workforce can give your business a truly competitive advantage. Start utilizing it right now – on the 7th and 8th of December 2015 at TWINKLE.

Riikka is a content strategist at Differo Oy, a company that is helping Finnish B2B companies  create strategic marketing to build a competitive advantage and drive new business. 

Riikka Seppälä


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