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With the meteoric rise of remote work, professional landscapes have taken on new terrain, expanding beyond corporate headquarters and enabling employers to hire remote, global talent from every corner of the world. Employers can take advantage of remote-first employment trends, sourcing the talent you need across time zones, oceans and land borders to ensure you have the in-house expertise required to accomplish your organizational goals. 

We have long known that hiring individuals across the full spectrum of diversity – race, gender identity, sexual orientation, visible and invisible disabilities, socio-economic status and so on – creates more inclusive, supportive work environments. 

In fact, according to a new report on diversity and inclusion by the International Labour Organization (ILO), high levels of equality, workplace diversity,  and inclusion are associated with greater innovation, productivity and performance, talent recruitment and retention, and workforce well-being. 

Put simply, it’s good business to ensure that as a team leader, you build a diverse and inclusive workplace where each team member reflects the diversity of the world we live in. But, how can you go about hiring the right people for your job while championing equity, diversity and inclusion in a meaningful, successful manner? And, how can you do more than simply hiring someone to proverbially “tick a box” and instead, ensure you are fostering a diverse workplace culture that supports different groups and different perspectives adequately from recruitment and onboarding to growing in their career at your company?  

We provide some insights and actionable strategies you can implement into your recruitment and hiring strategies to ensure you are championing equity, diversity and inclusion the right way.

First things first, why is diversity so crucial when building a high-performing, successful remote, global team? To understand this, you will need to consider the significant ways work as we know it has changed in the last three years.

The Changing Dynamics of the Global Workforce

The workforce has undergone a remarkable transformation in recent years. The pandemic forced the entire world home, proving to many employers and employees alike that with the right tool and technologies, work can be completed anywhere. Today, the standard 9-5 office job looks very different. Many companies that were previously in-office, shifted permanently to a remote-first environment (looking at you, Shopify), and many opted for hybrid working models. 

Similarly, the Great Resignation saw many people leaving their jobs to freelance full-time or participate in digital nomad culture as a way to take back some autonomy and control in their professional lives and boost flexibility and better work-life balance. 

This new way of working has led to more globally distributed teams, with companies hiring talent from all over the world, sourcing the best of the best no longer limited by geography. This working mode, when managed effectively, can provide a significant competitive advantage.

Why is Diversity Important in the Workplace? 

Embracing diversity means your teams benefit from global perspectives and unique ways of thinking thanks to different lived experiences, cultural beliefs and abilities coming together. When team members hail from different backgrounds, cultures, and experiences, they bring a rich tapestry of ideas and insights that can spark creativity and innovation, preventing your organization from recycling the same old thought patterns and ways of completing tasks. 

Diverse teams also means diversity in thought, and it can lead to some pretty powerful workplace innovation, developing novel solutions or creative ideas that could positively impact your bottom line. Below are five ways ensuring diversity in the workplace can benefit your business.

1. Better Decision-Making

Diverse teams are often better at decision-making. Why? Because a diverse, global team can view a problem from multiple angles, consider a wider range of potential solutions, and are less susceptible to groupthink – a phenomenon that occurs when a group of individuals reaches a consensus without critical reasoning or evaluation of the consequences or alternate ways of thinking. 

Groupthink is based on a common desire not to upset the balance of a group of people. In a corporate setting, such as when employees share the same office space, groupthink can cause employees and supervisors to overlook potential problems in the pursuit of consensus thinking and employees may self-censor or not suggest alternatives in fear of upsetting the status quo.

In a global context, where factors, like cultural nuances and regional preferences come into play, having a diverse team can be a significant asset because these global teams will be coming at challenges from different angles, uninhibited by preconceived notions or hardwired patterns of thinking.

2. Enhanced Cultural Competence

Global teams must navigate a complex web of cultural differences, which encourages people to listen, develop empathy and work to understand others in unique ways. Enhanced cultural competence means your remote, global teams have the ability to interact effectively with people from different cultures. This skill is invaluable in today's globalized world, as it can help prevent misunderstandings, conflicts, and communication breakdowns among colleagues, and existing and potential clients.

3. Improved Customer Relationships

Understanding and connecting with customers from diverse backgrounds is critical for any business’ success, especially when your organization spans continents or is considering expanding to new, global markets. A diverse team that mirrors your customer base can relate to and understand the needs and preferences of a wider range of clients. This leads to stronger customer relationships and increased trust, ultimately driving business growth.

4. Talent Attraction and Retention

Companies that invest efforts in championing diversity in their recruitment, hiring, onboarding and day-to-day business practices typically do a better job at attracting and retaining top talent. When potential employees see an organization that hires people that reflect themselves as well as echoes values of equity, diversity and inclusion, they are more likely to see themselves working and thriving there. A supportive workplace that celebrates people's differences and sees them as an asset is one that will keep employees sticking around longer, boosting retention and as a result, productivity.

5. Legal and Ethical Considerations

In many countries, diversity and inclusion are not just good business practices; they are also legal requirements. Discrimination and lack of diversity can lead to lawsuits, damage to your brand's reputation, and financial penalties. By proactively promoting diversity in your global teams, you not only comply with legal obligations but also demonstrate a commitment to ethical business practices. 

While local employment law and regulations vary by region and country, it’s best to consult a legal professional to ensure you are remaining compliant. An Employer of Record (EOR) service, like Borderless AI, has local expertise in 170+ countries, meaning they can ensure your company is staying compliant and following all the rules in the book. 

Challenges of Building Diverse Global Teams

With great reward comes risk. It’s no secret that building and managing diverse, global teams can pose some challenges. Below are some of the common obstacles you may encounter as you work toward building a more diverse, global workforce along with some suggestions and strategies to navigate them.

Barriers to Communication

In globally distributed teams, communication can be a significant challenge due to differences in time zones, language barriers, and communication styles. Employers must invest in effective, asynchronous communication tools, training, and protocols to ensure that team members can collaborate seamlessly despite these obstacles.

Cultural Sensitivity

Cultural differences can lead to misunderstandings and conflicts if not addressed properly. Employers should promote cultural sensitivity training to help team members navigate these differences respectfully and constructively. This can be done by hiring an external third-party facilitator with expertise in diversity, equity and inclusion or in-house by a similarly qualified human resources specialist.

Inclusive Leadership

Leaders play a crucial role in fostering diversity and inclusion. Employers should invest in leadership training that emphasizes the value of diversity and equips leaders with the skills to create an inclusive work environment.

Recruitment and Onboarding

Recruiting diverse talent for global teams requires a strategic approach. Employers should actively seek out talent from underrepresented groups, develop inclusive job descriptions, and provide a supportive onboarding process that ensures all team members feel welcome and valued.

Strategies for Building Diverse Global Teams

As global employers looking to hire remote, global talent, you can take proactive steps to build diverse and successful teams. Here are some strategies worth considering:

Inclusive Recruitment Practices

Develop recruitment strategies that target a diverse talent pool, including underrepresented groups. Avoid biases in job descriptions, and implement blind recruitment techniques to focus on skills and qualifications.

Diversity Training

Provide ongoing training on diversity and inclusion for all team members. This includes cultural sensitivity training, communication workshops, and leadership development programs that emphasize inclusive leadership.

Inclusive Policies and Benefits

Ensure that your company's policies and benefits are inclusive and support a diverse workforce. This includes flexible work arrangements, family-friendly policies, and healthcare options that cater to the various needs of your staff members.

Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)

Establish ERGs that cater to specific affinity groups within your organization. These groups can provide support, mentorship, and networking opportunities for employees from diverse backgrounds.

Cross-Cultural Collaboration

Encourage cross-cultural collaboration within your teams. Create opportunities for team members to learn from each other's experiences and perspectives, fostering a culture of mutual respect and understanding.

Metrics and Accountability

Set diversity and inclusion goals and track your progress. Hold leaders accountable for creating inclusive teams and regularly assess the impact of your diversity initiatives.

In today's global world, employers who recognize the value of diverse perspectives, cultures, and experiences in their global teams are better positioned to thrive in an increasingly competitive and interconnected marketplace. By embracing diversity, you can unlock the full potential of your global workforce, drive innovation, and achieve greater success in a diverse and ever-evolving world. 

Building and managing diverse global teams may come with challenges, but the rewards are well worth the effort. As you seek to hire remote, global talent, remember that diversity is not just a checkbox; it's a strategic imperative that can propel your organization to new heights.

Championing equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) when hiring remote, global talent is essential for building a truly inclusive and high-performing workforce.

How to Encourage Diversity in Your Global Team

Set Clear EDI Goals and Commitments

Begin by defining your organization's EDI goals and values. Clearly communicate your commitment to EDI in all aspects of your remote hiring practices.

Inclusive Job Descriptions

Ensure job descriptions are free from biased language and are inclusive. Focus on skills, qualifications, and requirements that are truly necessary for the role.

Diverse Recruitment Channels

Use a variety of recruitment channels to attract candidates from different backgrounds and regions. Partner with diverse job boards, organizations, and platforms to broaden your reach.

Blind Recruitment

Implement blind recruitment techniques to reduce unconscious bias. Remove personally identifiable information such as names, photos, and addresses from initial screening processes.

Structured Interviews

Develop structured interview questions that are based on job-related competencies and skills, and use them consistently for all candidates.

Diversity in Interview Panels

Include diverse interview panel members from various backgrounds and regions. Their perspectives can help in evaluating candidates more comprehensively.

Cultural Sensitivity Training

Provide cultural sensitivity training for interviewers to ensure that they understand and respect the diverse backgrounds of candidates.

Assessment Tools and Testing

Use validated assessment tools that are free from cultural bias to evaluate candidates objectively.

Flexible Work Arrangements

Offer flexible work arrangements, such as different time zones or part-time options, to accommodate candidates with varying needs.

Language Proficiency

Clearly specify language proficiency requirements for roles that demand it, but also consider whether proficiency in multiple languages might be an asset in a global team.

Inclusive Onboarding

Develop an inclusive onboarding process that familiarizes new hires with your organization's EDI policies, values, and support systems.

Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)

Establish ERGs that cater to the diverse groups within your remote global team. These groups can provide a sense of community and support for employees.

Mentorship and Sponsorship

Implement mentorship and sponsorship programs that pair new hires with experienced employees to help them navigate the organization and develop their careers.

EDI Training and Education

Offer ongoing EDI training and education opportunities for all employees to foster a culture of continuous learning and understanding.

EDI Metrics and Reporting

Collect data on EDI efforts and regularly report progress to leadership and employees. This transparency holds the organization accountable for the commitments they have made towards their staff and the overall culture of the office.

Listening and Feedback Mechanisms

Create channels for employees to voice their concerns, suggestions, and experiences related to EDI. Act on feedback to drive positive change.

Recognition and Celebration

Recognize and celebrate diversity and inclusion achievements within your remote global teams. Showcase success stories and role models.

Zero-Tolerance Policy

Clearly communicate a zero-tolerance policy for discrimination and harassment, regardless of location or context.

Global Inclusivity Education

Foster cross-cultural education and understanding among remote global team members. Encourage sharing of cultural experiences and traditions.

Regular EDI Audits

Periodically conduct EDI audits to evaluate the effectiveness of your EDI initiatives and identify areas for improvement.

Leadership Commitment

Ensure that your organization's leadership team is visibly committed to EDI. Their actions and words set the tone for the entire organization.

Supplier Diversity

Extend your commitment to EDI by considering the diversity of your suppliers and partners.

Championing equity, diversity, and inclusion when hiring remote, global talent requires a holistic approach with the goal of embedding these views and practices into the company. It will be an evolving journey that won’t be without challenges and hurdles to overcome, but navigating these with grace and humility will mean that your organization and more specifically, your remote, global teams will be all the better for it. 

You can create an environment where all employees, regardless of race, gender, class or geographic location, feel valued and empowered to contribute their best to your organization's success. 

Want more tips on how to recruit, hire and manage your remote, global workforce? Check out our blog for even more insights, tips and tricks.

Why Borderless AI?

Borderless AI enables businesses to compliantly hire and manage talent worldwide without establishing a foreign entity. We alleviate the complexities and risks associated with hiring global employees with zero deposits, dedicated in-house support, and AI-powered global employment law resources.

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Borderless does not provide legal services or legal advice to customers, contractors, employees, partners, or the general public. We are not lawyers or paralegals. Please read our full disclaimer here.

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