Founder & CEO at Microverse (YC S19), the global school for remote software developers.
A 2018 study by BCG found that companies with diverse management teams generate 19% more revenue through innovation than management teams with below-average diversity scores.
It’s a reminder that diversity is not about optics. It’s about excellence. When teams comprise a broad range of experiences and perspectives, the ideas generated are more creative, and importantly, more likely to be executed.
And yet, hiring and retaining diverse talent is a challenge that companies face regardless of the state of the job market. It’s a reflection of company culture, which has a massive bearing on the long-term prospects of an organization. Ultimately, prioritizing diversity matters not just for building an inclusive environment where anyone and everyone can feel welcome, but also for creating bridges to new opportunities and building better products.
The problem is that businesses are often at a loss for how to address this challenge in a sustainable way. Geographic isolation or being situated in a hyper-competitive market often keep businesses from getting off the starting block, to the detriment of their culture and, eventually, their solvency.
But as startups and established companies get more comfortable at operating in virtual environments, they open themselves to a new possibility for scaling with strong, diverse teams: building with a global talent pool. Those who lean into this come to find that the benefits go far deeper than creating a more inclusive professional environment.
Adding Invaluable Global Perspective
As any experienced hiring manager knows, when you bring on a new employee, you’re not just gaining their skills and experience; you’re also adding their perspective. This means that every new hire is an opportunity for a business to add a perspective that is otherwise lacking.
When it comes to developing innovative solutions to any array of problems, perspective matters. The quality of a team’s perspective directly impacts the effectiveness of a given solution as well as the quality of a team’s decision-making ability. This is something we’re constantly learning through our talented team at Microverse. As a virtual school with students from more than 110 countries, having employees share a perspective of the needs and challenges our students face is critical to giving them the best opportunity to succeed.
Some of the Microverse team, spread across 12+ countries.
Stable internet is not accessible in some parts of the world, and it’s an obstacle many of our students in regions like Africa and Latin America face on a daily basis. Some of our team members have insights about things like this that have never been a reality for many of us. Without their perspective, we would have only a limited understanding of the very real problems our students face, which means we would be failing them.
This same wisdom would apply to any company with ambitions of breaking into a new market.
If you don’t have someone on your team with a perspective of the customers in that market, it’s going to take much longer to understand what they want.
Having talented people from these markets will better inform your company’s perspective, to better understand new customers and therefore make more meaningful connections with them.
A Global Mindset from Day One
Some companies may eventually want to operate globally but don’t necessarily have plans to do so right away. They focus on the market where they are based and the needs of customers within that market. Since these needs are relatively stagnant, so too can be the companies’ ability to innovate.
It doesn’t matter if you don’t know the specific markets where you want to grow;
Adding global talent to your team can help shape your perspective beyond the market where you operate locally, and even point to the markets where your business will eventually thrive.
But of course, even a single global hire can completely change an organization’s working dynamic. For companies that are traditionally office-based, shifting to a virtual work environment is no small task. That’s why it’s important for teams preparing to hire global talent to make necessary operational adjustments for working remotely across time zones and countries.
If the adjustments seem like a lot, it may be worth asking whether global expansion is a realistic goal for your organization. After all, how many successful global companies do you know that have achieved scale without remote teams or offices and hubs in other parts of the world?
In the end, any large company that is international is also a remote company to some extent. Once you’ve achieved that level of scale, international collaboration, communication and innovation will be a requirement to operate. The bottom line is strategic international hires can help teams be more ready to collaborate on a global scale, no matter what stage of growth they are in.
An Opportunity for Every Business
As working remotely becomes standard practice among established tech giants with lavish campuses, many companies are taking advantage of the opportunity to hire in locations other than their home base. Working remotely opens the door to hiring globally, through which they can massively expand their talent pool. In doing so, companies can drown out competition and remove some of the friction that comes with filling personnel needs.
Ultimately, hiring global talent is an effective solution not only for fostering a sustainable, inclusive culture, but also for scaling operations and better responding to the needs of diverse customers around the world. By doing so, companies create a virtuous cycle of attracting talented people from around the world.