It’s been an action-packed week for football fans, with all English teams taking it to the finals of both the Champions League and Europa League.
But you may have noticed English football isn’t always this successful. The last time England even made it to the final of the World Cup was back in the glory days of 1966. So what makes Premier League clubs that much more successful than our home grown team?
The main difference is obvious; Premier League clubs can look globally to seek out the very best players in the world.
Earlier in the week, The Times published an interesting article looking at how cultural diversity has helped English clubs to dominate in Europe*. The article explores how, even compared with their European counterparts, English teams are more culturally diverse and globalised. And this doesn’t just apply to the players, managers and coaches; but it starts right at the top with boardrooms made up of culturally diverse teams.
This really got me thinking. We hear a lot about gender diversity in the workplace and how important it is, particularly in the male dominated transport, infrastructure and built environment sectors, to boost diversity leadership roles. But what are the benefits of having a culturally diverse boardroom as well?
Cultural diversity can boost productivity, provide a much wider range of skills and insights, increase employee engagement and company reputation, and the bottom line is that culturally diverse teams are more successful.
For instance, if we take a look at the successful companies who have won the main civils contracts to design and build the first phase of HS2 we have:
- SCS joint venture: Costain (UK), Skanska Construction UK (Swedish owned UK business) and STRABAG (Austrian)
- Align joint venture: Sir Robert McAlpine (UK), Bouygues Travaux Publics (French) and VolkerFitzpatrick (UK)
- CEK joint venture: Carillion (UK, up until its demise), Eiffage Genie Civil SA (French), Kier (UK)
- BBV joint venture: Balfour Beatty (UK), VINCI Construction Grands Projets (French), VINCI Construction UK Ltd and VINCI Construction Terrassement
For the London stations contracts we have:
- Euston: Mace (UK) and Dragados (Spain)
- Old Oak Common: Balfour Beatty (UK), VINCI Construction Grands Projets (French), VINCI Construction UK Ltd and Systra (French)
Not noticing many all English teams here.
So how do you go about recruiting for cultural diversity, especially if you don’t have the budgets of the Premier League clubs?
1. Be prepared to go global
It seems obvious, but when you increase the talent pool, you create more competition and increase the likelihood of hiring the best performer. If you want to commit to increasing diversity on your teams, then you need to be prepared to search globally for the best talent.
If you’re gearing up to recruit for a project that a particular country has heaps of experience in – then look for talent in those countries. It may mean that you need to consider a relocation package, but the benefits of bringing on board the expertise that may not be rivalled at home will far outweigh the costs.
Undertaking a global search can be extremely time consuming, so it is appealing to cut corners and narrow that search down to the UK, or London, or Manchester or wherever is 5 minutes down the road for you to interview. That’s why it can be hugely beneficial to outsource this to an executive search consultancy who can dedicate their network and resources to the search and narrow down the candidates to a shortlist of 4 or 5 exceptional candidates.
2. Don’t overly rely on referrals
In general, people’s networks are comprised of people who are similar to them demographically.
McKinsey’s found that when men are asked about their professional networks, 63% of them state it’s comprised of “more or all men” vs. 38% of women who state the same**.
Often, we see companies go for the “quick hire,” choosing candidates that are former colleagues or referrals from employees and friends. Although they may fill positions quickly, these hires tend to lack diversity.
3. Prove that you value diversity
If you want attract diverse candidates, then you need to make it known that diversity is something the company values and it’s not just a quota to fill. Things like celebration and time off for important holidays for diverse religions sends a clear message in terms of marketing the company as a diverse workforce and inviting people in.
Offering testimonials from current employees can also be a helpful tool. Allowing your employees to speak about the ways you value diversity can help diverse candidates feel welcomed, supported, and successful in the workplace.
Diverse and culturally vibrant workplaces will include people of different demographics, backgrounds, experiences, abilities, and personalities. The companies who can achieve this are the ones who will likely have a significant competitive advantage.
Do you think you have enough diverse representation on your leadership teams?