managing diversity in the workplace header

Managing Workplace Diversity: Successful Global Workforce Planning

Discover how SMEs can navigate global workforce challenges with inclusive practices. Learn to attract diverse talent for sustainable success.

Gabriele Culot
Written by Gabriele Culot
March 25, 2024
Need help onboarding international talent?
Try Deel

Key takeaways

  1. SMEs benefit from diverse talent. Embracing diverse perspectives and experiences can enhance innovation and decision-making
  2. Flexible work policies and inclusive hiring to build a diverse workforce and attract top talent
  3. Regularly review strategies, collect feedback, and prioritize diversity to foster an inclusive workplace

In today’s interconnected world, managing diversity in the workplace has become a strategic necessity for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) aiming to thrive in the global marketplace. Embracing diversity goes beyond mere compliance; it’s about leveraging a diverse workforce’s unique talents, perspectives, and experiences to drive innovation, foster creativity, and enhance organizational performance. However, for SMEs, navigating the complexities of global workforce planning while ensuring inclusivity can present unique challenges.

In this blog post, we’ll delve into the best practices for managing diversity in the workplace specifically tailored for SMEs, offering actionable insights to help them build inclusive cultures, attract top talent, and achieve sustainable success in a diverse and dynamic world.

Looking for more information on how to attract the right team members?
Download Deel’s guide on how to find global talent

Group 403923015 (1)

Importance of diversity in the workplace

A diverse workplace encompasses employees from various cultural backgrounds, ethnicities, sexual orientations, and life experiences. It fosters an inclusive environment where everyone has equal opportunity and feels valued, leading to higher employee engagement and retention. By leveraging diversity, companies can tap into a broader talent pool and attract top talent from diverse backgrounds.

For SMEs, embracing cultural diversity offers numerous benefits, including:

  • Enhanced employee engagement
  • Improved problem-solving abilities
  • Increased rate of innovation 
  • Better understanding of different customer bases and needs
  • Improved business outcomes
  • A competitive advantage in the market

What is global workforce planning?

Global workforce planning is a strategic process that involves aligning an organization’s human resource capabilities with its overarching business objectives on a global scale. It encompasses forecasting future workforce needs, identifying talent gaps, and developing strategies to effectively address them across different geographical locations.

This planning involves considerations such as:

  • Understanding the demographic trends and labor market dynamics in various regions where the organization operates or plans to expand
  • Assessing the skills and competencies required to support the organization’s global operations, considering cultural differences and regulatory environments
  • Developing recruitment, retention, and talent development strategies tailored to each region’s unique needs while promoting a cohesive organizational culture
  • Implementing flexible workforce policies and practices to accommodate diverse cultural norms, preferences, and working arrangements
  • Continuously monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of workforce planning strategies, making adjustments as necessary to address evolving business needs and market conditions

In essence, global workforce planning is about strategically managing the organization’s human capital on a global scale to ensure alignment with its long-term strategic objectives and to drive sustainable growth and competitiveness in an increasingly interconnected world.

Challenges faced by SMEs in planning and managing diversity in a global workforce

SMEs encounter unique challenges in managing diversity, especially in a global context. These challenges include:

  • Limited resources: SMEs often have constrained resources compared to larger corporations, making it difficult to invest in comprehensive diversity initiatives, training, and support programs
  • Lack of expertise: SMEs may lack the specialized knowledge and expertise needed to effectively manage diversity in a global workforce
  • Scale and complexity: The scale and complexity of managing a workforce spread across multiple countries or regions with different cultural, legal, and business environments can be more than some SMEs can handle
  • Recruitment and retention: SMEs may struggle to attract and retain diverse talent, particularly in highly competitive industries where larger companies offer more attractive benefits, career advancement opportunities, and support for diversity and inclusion
  • Legal and regulatory compliance: SMEs must navigate complex legal frameworks and regulations related to diversity and inclusion, which may vary significantly across different countries and regions, and require dedicated resources for compliance
  • Resistance to change: Employees and stakeholders may resist efforts to promote diversity and inclusion, viewing them as disruptive or unnecessary
  • Communication challenges: Language barriers, time zone differences, and communication styles can pose significant challenges for SMEs managing a diverse global workforce
  • Technology infrastructure: SMEs may lack the necessary technology infrastructure and tools to support remote work, virtual collaboration, and communication among employees
  • Budget constraints: Limited budgetary resources may restrict SMEs' ability to invest in diversity initiatives, training programs, and support services 
  • Risk management: Managing diversity in a global workforce involves addressing various risks, including legal compliance, reputational damage, and cultural misunderstandings, which may require proactive risk management strategies and processes

✨Discover how SiteMinder confidently expanded in global markets while staying compliant

Deel provides in-country support with clear processes. The easy to use platform ensures we can streamline operations across our whole organization, from our talent acquisition team through to accounts payable, and understand when and who they need to engage with. It's simplification in motion.

Bec Donnelly, Vice President of People, SiteMinder

Despite these challenges, SMEs can leverage platforms like LinkedIn and Glassdoor to reach candidates all over the world and showcase their inclusive company culture. By providing diversity training for hiring managers and leadership teams, SMEs can ensure their hiring processes are non-discriminatory and inclusive. SMEs must also prioritize diversity and inclusion in their company policies and corporate culture to overcome these challenges and reap the benefits of diversity.

Best practices for successful global workforce planning

1. Develop a diversity and inclusion strategy

  • Set clear goals and objectives, ensuring that the diversity and inclusion strategy is focused and measurable, contributing to a more inclusive workplace culture
  • Involve employees in the development process, fostering a sense of ownership, leading to greater buy-in and support for diversity initiatives
  • Ensure alignment with business objectives, ensuring that diversity and inclusion efforts are integrated into the overall business strategy, maximizing their impact on organizational success

2. Promote cultural awareness and sensitivity

  • Provide comprehensive diversity training for employees and managers, equipping them with the knowledge and skills needed to navigate diverse work environments effectively
  • Encourage open communication and dialogue to create a safe space for employees to share their experiences and perspectives, fostering mutual understanding and respect
  • Foster a culture of respect and inclusion involving actively challenging biases and stereotypes, promoting empathy, and valuing diverse viewpoints in decision-making processes

3. Implement flexible work policies

  • Offer flexible work and remote work options to accommodate diverse cultural norms and preferences, enabling employees to achieve a better work-life balance
  • Acknowledge the unique needs of employees from diverse environments and backgrounds, fostering a more inclusive and supportive work environment
  • Focus on results rather than hours worked, promoting a culture of trust and empowering employees to work in ways that best suit their circumstances and preferences

4. Recruit and retain diverse talent

  • Expand recruitment efforts to reach diverse candidate pools, increasing the likelihood of attracting top talent from underrepresented groups, enriching the organization with diverse perspectives and experiences
  • Implement inclusive hiring practices that involve removing conscious and unconscious bias from the hiring process, ensuring equal opportunities for all candidates no matter their background or identity
  • Provide opportunities for career development and advancement, demonstrating a commitment to nurturing a diverse workforce, fostering a culture where all employees feel valued and supported in their professional growth

5. Create cross-cultural and diverse teams

  • Encourage collaboration among employees from different backgrounds, promoting innovation and creativity as diverse perspectives and ideas are brought together to solve complex problems
  • Facilitate team-building activities and workshops to strengthen interpersonal relationships and trust among team members, laying the foundation for effective cross-cultural collaboration
  • Promote a sense of belonging and camaraderie to foster a supportive and inclusive culture where every member feels valued and appreciated for their unique contributions to the team’s success
    Group 403923644-1

Measuring success and continuous improvement

Establishing metrics for evaluating diversity initiatives is fundamental for SMEs to gauge the effectiveness of their efforts in fostering an inclusive workplace. Metrics could include tracking the representation of diverse groups within the organization, employee satisfaction and engagement surveys, promotion rates among different demographic groups, and the success of diversity training programs. By quantifying progress in these areas, SMEs can identify areas for improvement and make data-driven decisions to further their diversity and inclusion goals.

Collecting feedback from employees and stakeholders is essential to gain insights into the experiences of diverse individuals within the organization and to understand the effectiveness of diversity initiatives from their perspective. This feedback can be collected through surveys, focus groups, one-on-one interviews, and anonymous suggestion boxes. By actively listening to the voices of employees and stakeholders, SMEs can identify barriers to inclusion and implement targeted interventions to address them.

Regularly reviewing and adjusting strategies based on outcomes ensures that SMEs stay agile and responsive to the evolving needs of their workforce and changing external environment. By analyzing data on diversity metrics and employee feedback, SMEs can identify areas where their strategies are working well and where improvements are needed. This iterative continuous improvement process allows SMEs to refine their diversity and inclusion efforts over time, ultimately creating a more equitable and inclusive workplace for all employees.

Success measurement checklist for diversity management

1. Track representation

  • Monitor the representation of diverse groups within the organization, including gender, ethnicity, age, and other demographic factors
  • Regularly track changes in representation levels to identify trends and areas for improvement

2. Survey employee satisfaction

  • Conduct regular surveys to measure satisfaction and engagement levels, specifically regarding diversity and inclusion initiatives
  • Analyze results to identify areas of strength and opportunities for enhancement in fostering an inclusive workplace culture

3. Monitor promotion rates among different demographic groups

  • Track promotion rates among employees from diverse backgrounds to ensure equitable opportunities and positive career paths
  • Compare promotion rates across demographic groups to identify any disparities and take corrective actions as needed

4. Establish diversity training programs

  • Evaluate the effectiveness of diversity training programs through pre-and post-training assessments, as well as participant feedback
  • Measure the impact of diversity training on employee attitudes, behaviors, and awareness of diversity issues within the organization

5. Collect feedback from employees and stakeholders

  • Utilize multiple channels, such as surveys, focus groups, one-on-one interviews, and suggestion boxes, to gather feedback from employees and stakeholders
  • Actively listen to the voices of diverse individuals within the organization to gain insights into their experiences and perspectives on hiring and diversity initiatives

6. Review and adjust strategies

  • Establish a schedule for reviewing diversity metrics and employee feedback regularly, such as quarterly or annually
  • Analyze data trends to identify areas where diversity initiatives are succeeding and where improvements are needed
  • Adjust diversity strategies and interventions based on outcomes to ensure alignment with organizational goals and the evolving needs of the workforce

Embrace workforce diversity with Deel

Workplace diversity is paramount for SMEs to thrive in today’s global business landscape. Embracing diversity fosters a more inclusive work environment and brings numerous benefits, such as enhanced innovation, improved decision-making, and an edge in the market. By embracing diversity, SMEs can attract and retain top talent from diverse backgrounds, leading to a more robust and adaptable workforce.

✨Discover how Keego Mobility, doubled headcount since they started working with Deel

I can’t imagine having to open up an entity in a certain city just to be able to hire someone. Deel solves a real problem, and up to now, we’ve been very happy with the service

Elias Ek, Co-founder, Keego

Deel helps companies of all sizes smoothen the process of accessing a global workforce, from dealing with contracts and payments of employees and contractors to monitoring worker engagement and satisfaction, from managing perks and benefits to visa support. And much more.

Discover how Deel can help your organization thrive in the global workplace, and read more about the future of work on the Deel blog.

Deel makes growing remote and international teams effortless. Ready to get started?






Legal experts