Tapping Into the Power of Global Diversity

Global Diversity

Global Diversity Series: 1 of 4

Jabil Joules is a celebration of the women of Jabil: our energy, contributions, aspirations and concerns. This forum is not just about giving women a voice, it’s also about diversity and inclusion across the entire enterprise. In the month of March, follow along as we explore the topic of Global Diversity through a series of four articles.

What Does Diversity Really Mean?

Depending on where you are in the world, diversity could mean gender, race, age and religion. It could also include value systems, socio-economic status, skill level and personality types. While there is no global one-definition-fits-all description of diversity, it has been proven that diversity helps organizations and teams make better decisions; be more creative and innovative; negates groupthink; and ultimately drives more successful business outcomes.

In fact, as a driver of innovation, diversity is critical. According to the Forbes Insights report, Fostering Innovation Through a Diverse Workforce: “Multiple voices lead to new ideas, new services, and new products and encourage out-of-the-box thinking. Today, companies no longer view diversity and inclusion efforts as separate from their other business practices, and recognize that a diverse workforce can differentiate them from their competitors by attracting top talent and capturing new clients.”

So, at a company like Jabil, where we have the extraordinary benefit of tapping into colleagues from 30+ countries around the world, how do we ensure diversity and inclusion within each plant and how do we make the most of our globally diverse workforce?

Managers Can Make a Difference

The 2008 Summit on the Global Agenda in Dubai suggests that we can’t depend just on Human Resources to create a culture of diversity with training and hiring practices. Managers and team leaders who are focused on being inclusive can have a significant influence by mixing up teams both within a single location and across geographically dispersed locations; creating small teams for sub-tasks and checking regularly to ensure inclusion; and allowing individuals to self-select for roles.

In How Companies Can Benefit From Inclusion, Dan Schawbel talks about inclusion in terms of freedom and acceptance: “Creating an environment in which everyone has the freedom and comfort to think and approach problems in their own way can give employees a sense of belonging that will lead to better creativity and engagement across the company.”

Managers can also use the power of good communication and listening skills to enhance inclusion. In How Does Diversity Affect the Workplace? Robert Vaux suggests that by understanding cultural and communication differences of team members, managers can better relay key messages to employees and avoid misunderstandings that might further stereotypes and increase tension.

The Power in You

We should all be mindful of and take actions that support diversity and inclusion. According to Jabil’s Senior Vice President of Communications and Investor Relations, Beth Walters:

“Each of us has something different to offer and the great thing about our diversity is that it is what makes us – and our contribution to Jabil’s success – so unique.”

The knowledge needed for global inclusion is the first step: from understanding cultural nuances like how to accept a business card and local negotiation techniques to developing meaningful relationships with colleagues around the world.

In Joe Gerstandt’s 10 Things (about diversity and inclusion), it’s clear that the more difficult aspect of inclusion is stepping outside of our personal perspective and thinking about the point of view of others. “Regardless of our good intentions, our level of education or our level of professionalism, we are all very susceptible to being unintentionally and even unconsciously influenced by things like assumptions, stereotypes, implicit associations, attribution errors and cognitive biases. We are actually very ill equipped to reach accurate assessments of others and this is part of what makes it very difficult for us to actually be inclusive. If we are not proactive, intentional and deliberate about including different we will unintentionally be exclusive.”

Being proactive and deliberate about diversity and inclusion can also be facilitated with the use of evolving technological advancements. As the concept of globalization matures and technology makes it easier for teams to communicate, the corresponding workforce becomes mobile and global. In other words, although geographically dispersed, employees from around the world can now more easily work together on diverse teams. For employers, tapping skills across the entire world’s talent ecosystem means responding faster to constantly changing markets.

We want to hear from you…

How do you see diversity and inclusion implemented on your teams? How has it impacted your team’s success? What ideas do you have for unleashing the power of Jabil’s diversity? How have you tapped into Jabil’s globally diverse workforce? How have you used technology to collaborate globally?

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