4 Ways the Globalisation of Business Has Impacted Diversity in Tech

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If you wanted to get in touch with someone living in a different country, how would you do it?

Unless they fancy the lost art of handwritten letters sent via pigeon carrier, you’ll be using technology to find that person and technology will also enable your mode of communication.

The globalisation of business and technology has indeed made the world smaller.

Analysts, like Josh Feinman, Deutsche Asset Managment’s global chief economist, voice concerns that the fear of globalisation, thought by some to be a key factor in the economic inequality that many in the world experience, will sway political decisions and that businesses need to do a better job articulating the benefits to the public.

Today, we look at 4 ways that the globalisation of business and technology affects the opportunities we see for bringing greater diversity into our industry not just in Europe but worldwide.

1. Blogs and social media give us stories to relate to rather than labels to judge.

Social media online blogs can help us learn about the perspectives of others which has been shown to reduce bias that is commonly at the center of pejorative and discriminatory thinking.

As our transition further into a digital world open our eyes to the perspectives of others, we have the opportunity to challenge our thinking and preconceived notions about people with disabilities, the LGBT community, and other minority groups across the globe by reading their stories firsthand.

Companies can take a proactive role in sharing these stories with the public online. SAP’s Autism at Work program, which spans 8 countries, is one example. Using the company blog to highlight some of the talented employees in this program, readers can gain a new appreciation of people with autism.

Johannes Rösch, one of 22 people with Asperger’s syndrome currently employed by SAP, shows that a person’s capability or talent is not always accurately measured by university and school marks. On paper, Johannes appeared mediocre until SAP learned more and discovered signs of his true potential. When he was just six, Rösch, without being able to read a book or study any descriptions, assembled his first computer. Working as an administrator, Rösch used his ability to “see codes as pictures” to solve problems that his colleagues did not understand.

SAP uses its blog to also share insight about the challenges that people with Asperger’s face which other companies can learn from and take steps to address in their own workforce’s through mentoring, training, and development efforts.

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2. Cross-cultural communication helps companies learn about the people that drive their mission.

Have you ever been offended by something that ended up being a miscommunication?

Situations like this arise in not only our personal lives, but at work, and they can present a serious challenge for companies that affect productivity, performance, and the employer’s ability to effectively communicate their message across different cultures within and outside of the organisation.

To fulfill the organisation’s mission, global businesses must understand how to communicate with employees and customers from different cultures. Understanding cultural nuances enable companies to communicate better by learning when to listen, how to engage, and when to speak.

By using technology to engage and survey employees, organisations can better communicate with their stakeholders thus reducing the time spent on internal and external communication issues which naturally allows for more time and resources to be spent on business priorities.

Understanding these cultural nuances can help organisations craft employer branding and recruitment messaging that connects with candidates and customers across the world in a genuine way.

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3. Virtual offices and remote working technology enable more opportunities to join the workforce.

Modern technology, such as the Internet, high-speed air travel and mobile communications, has made doing business across borders easier.

One of the many benefits of this technology includes the ability to work for a company without having to change location which broadens the opportunities that diverse talent has, but also gives companies a larger talent pool to source from.

On the agenda of forward-thinking companies is to make use of this technology and use it to empower those who have traditionally been left behind, such as mothers who have left the workforce temporarily to take care of personal commitments and individuals with disabilities who may have needed to pause their careers due to medical needs.

To help women transition back into the workforce, SAP Software Solutions has developed their “Back-to-Work” platform which offers project-based job opportunities to women who have been on break from the workforce for at least 2 years.

Enabled by SAP’s software and other remote working technology, this platform spans across multiple countries in the Asia-Pacific region of the world.

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4. A rising tide buoys all ships.

No country can truly develop if half of its population is being shut out from the workforce.

A report by McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) estimates that the economic impact of a scenario in which “all countries match the rate of improvement of the fastest-improving country in their region” could result in adding an additional $12 trillion, or 11 percent, to the annual GDP in 2025.

Fully realized, if companies achieved the UN’s goal of complete equality for women and ethnic minorities in all labor markets, then the effects on the economy could more than double from 11 percent to 26 percent. This reflects an increase of $28 trillion to the global GDP in 2025 if this goal is achieved worldwide.

According to a 2015 McKinsey report, the impact that workforce diversity has on companies financial returns differs from gender to racial/ethnic diversity. The report states that “companies in the top quartile of gender diversity were 15 percent more likely to have financial returns that were above their national industry median,” which contrasts companies in the top quartile of racial/ethnic diversity which were found to be 35 percent more likely to have financial returns above their national industry median.

Final thoughts

What is holding us back from achieving greater diversity in tech?

According to McKinsey, the formula for success includes six types of intervention: financial incentives and support; technology and infrastructure; the creation of economic opportunity; capability building; advocacy and shaping attitudes; and laws, policies, and regulations.

As sophisticated technology and the globalisation of business continue to open our eyes to a greater understanding of one another, and enable opportunities that empower those of underprivileged backgrounds, we will build a future that thrives on the ideas and unique abilities of everyone.

If your goal this year is to increase the diversity of your tech workforce, find out how partnering with Contracts IT can help! Visit http://contractsit.com/csr-programe or email me at Naheed@contractsit.com

@ContractsIT13 | @womenintech _CIT |  @naheedafzal

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