EnglishJuly 26, 20230

Diversity for success

How Diversity & Inclusion positively impacts organisations

International teams are becoming increasingly common in organisations around the world. This trend can be attributed to a number of factors, including globalisation, technological advances and the need to adapt to local markets. At the same time, as organisations expand their operations across borders, it becomes increasingly important to attract team members who are familiar with different cultures, languages and business strategies.

The fact that international teams often have diverse, even different cultural backgrounds is one of their characteristics. This diversity can bring a wealth of perspectives and ideas that can help organisations to operate successfully. However, it can also come with challenges. Misunderstandings or miscommunication can occur exactly because of cultural differences. To effectively reap the benefits of a diverse team, it is therefore important that organisations and their team members are aware of cultural differences and work together to overcome any obstacles that may arise.


Benefits of diverse teams

Diversity in international teams can bring many benefits to organisations. One of the most important ones is improved decision-making. When team members come from different divers backgrounds and thus bring different perspectives, they are more likely to consider a wide range of options and propose innovative solutions. This can lead to better outcomes and a competitive advantage for the organisation. McKinsey, for example, highlights in its latest study that diverse and inclusive companies make better and bolder decisions, especially in times of crisis. The study also shows that the relationship between diversity in leadership teams and the likelihood of financial outperformance has increased even further.

International teams with different divers backgrounds can not only improve decision-making, but also help attract and retain top talent. In today’s job market, many candidates are looking for employers who value diversity and inclusion and are committed to creating an inclusive workplace. By embracing diversity within their teams, organisations can differentiate themselves from their competitors and attract a wider pool of candidates. This can lead to a more talented workforce and a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

International teams can also help organisations extend their reach and enter new markets. With team members who are familiar with local languages and cultures, organisations can more easily adapt their products and services to meet the needs of local customers. This can lead to increased sales and profits, as well as a better brand reputation in local markets.

Diverse teams can also help to inspire creativity. The diversity of team members brings different perspectives, ways of thinking and sources of knowledge, which can lead to increased creativity and innovation.


Strategies for optimising potential and challenges

The positive impact of diversity on the performance of a team does not happen automatically, however. Certain factors play an important role: an open working environment where team members can speak freely, a positive feedback culture or a positive team dynamic are, among others, aspects that are subsumed under the topic of psychological safety and are essential prerequisites for successful teams and organisations. And, of course, the work context plays an important role in how well diverse teams can perform.

Despite the benefits mentioned above, diversity in organisations and teams can also bring challenges. Cultural differences, for example, can lead to misunderstandings and miscommunication. This in turn can delay decision-making and eventually lead to productivity losses.

To discover the full potential of international teams and overcome the challenges they face, organisations should adopt a range of actions. Below are some approaches that should be considered:


Cultural awareness and training

Organisations should provide training and development programmes, including unconscious bias trainings, to improve the cultural awareness and competence of everyone working in the organisation. These programmes can help to promote the understanding of different cultures, ways of working and strengthen team members’ communication skills.

A deeper understanding of cultural differences can reduce misunderstanding and prejudice and improve teamwork. Organisations should ensure that such training is provided on a regular basis to maintain awareness of cultural sensitivity and that new employee are involved (onboarding).


Promoting an open and inclusive working culture

Organisations should create a working environment where all team members feel free to express their ideas and opinions. Open communication encourages the sharing of different perspectives and enables the team to develop innovative solutions. In addition, organisations should ensure that diversity and inclusion are an integral part of their culture and that differences are valued and respected. An inclusive culture creates a sense of belonging and trust. It encourages commitment and collaboration within the team and the organisation as a whole.


Effective team communication

Clear and effective communication is critical to the success of diverse teams and organisations. Organisations should ensure that appropriate communication channels and tools are in place to enable smooth collaboration. This may include the use of video conferencing, instant messaging platforms or project management tools. Regular team meetings and check-ins are also important to promote information sharing and ensure that all team members are on the same page.


Team Building Activities

Team building activities play an important role in strengthening relationships and trust between team members. Organisations should provide opportunities for people to get to know and interact with each other outside the workplace. These can include virtual team building activities, joint projects or informal face-to-face meetings. By building personal relationships, potential barriers and prejudices can be broken down and team spirit can be strengthened.


Support from external advisors

Organisations should use external consultants with intercultural skills (cultural brokers) when necessary. These consultants can help to understand cultural differences, resolve conflicts, for example through mediation, and develop communication strategies for effective collaboration. They can also assist in the planning of tailor-made training programmes and the implementation of best practices in order to realise the potential of the team.



The trend towards international teams is mainly driven by the need for organisations to compete on a global scale. This trend has led to greater diversity in the workplace, which can bring significant benefits to organisations. Diverse teams, while challenging, can contribute to better decision-making, attract top talent, improve the organisation’s reputation and lead to better sales results and profits. Organisations should invest in training and development programmes – from onboarding to offboarding – to foster a workplace culture that values diversity and inclusion.



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