Today's Small Businesses in A Diverse World: 9 Recruitment Strategies for Sustainable Success


Across the globe, there is a search for talented and gifted employees. Some companies hope they may hire the next Steve Jobs of Apple. Having the right human capital strategy can elevate a country’s financial well-being. India and China fleck their mighty muscle due to the dominance of their outsourcing efforts. As American businesses expand globally, today’s leaders need to evaluate what diversity will mean in the near future.

Sadly, diversity and inclusion have become synonymous with ‘Wokeness’ and ‘Shaming.’ Those individuals who negatively perceive the changing demographics as fearful must understand that they cannot stop the impending global transformations. Over the next decade, the world will become different. The article examines the need for high cultural intelligence for today’s small businesses.

The US workforce dynamic is changing. According to the US Census, the U.S. population is projected to increase from 319 million to 417 million, reaching 400 million in 2051. The U.S. population is projected to grow more slowly in future decades than in the recent past. In fact, immigration and higher fertility rates in racial and ethnic groups have increased the labor force base, creating a much more diverse workforce.

By 2044, more than half of all Americans are projected to belong to a minority group (any group other than non-Hispanic White alone); and by 2060, nearly one in five of the nation’s total population is projected to be foreign-born. As a consequence, businesses have adapted and have a more diverse workforce. Diversity is only adding fuel to a fire that is already smoking. Today’s employees don't want to be a component of a big machine; employees want to be valued.

Why does cultural intelligence matter for today’s small businesses? Today’s leaders need a high sense of cultural intelligence in the United States as it relates to African-Americans and People of Color. With the complicated history of race relationships, individuals do not see their own biases when dealing with others who are different from the majority. Yet, the acceptance of individual differences is essential in building trust and a productive workplace. Dr. David Livermore, author of Leading with Cultural Intelligence, provides a framework for global leaders to address the complexities of cultural differences. Cultural intelligence (CQ) is related to “a person’s capability to function effectively in situations characterized by cultural diversity.”

Western mentality often brings a superior to other cultures. For example, travelers from the United States visit other countries and attempt to use their own cultural beliefs in the host country. Dr. Livermore adds, “Leadership today is a multicultural challenge. Few of us need to be convinced of that fact. We’re competing in a global marketplace, managing a diverse workforce, and trying to keep up with rapidly shifting trends… cultural intelligence helps a leader develop an overall repertoire and perspective that results in more effective leadership.” When the head, body, and heart work together, leaders have a high CQ. Contrarily, leaders have a low CQ when these key elements do not align well. Miscues are bound to happen with a leader with low CQ in a different culture.

The following strategies are suggested for building a more inclusive culture for your organization:

• Build a welcoming culture.

• Lead by modeling the way of an inclusive culture.

• Hold leaders accountable to an inclusive culture.

• Assess the cultural intelligence of your organization as well as the leadership.

• Develop human capital strategies that value all people.

• Create a diverse pipeline by partnering with underserved community organizations.

• Provide incentives to current employees to refer diverse candidates.

• Grow your pool of candidates through minority media and sponsoring events in diverse communities.

• Commit to continuous learning and professional growth.

What have you prepared for the future workforce? Many organizations are struggling to understand the meaning of a culturally diverse organization. Unfortunately, most managers miss what diversity is all about. The future of work will require today’s organizations to make significant adjustments or become extinct. Today’s small businesses are no exception. Therefore, organizations that can effectively recruit, manage, and retain a diverse workforce will have a clear advantage in the marketplace. The article demonstrated the need for high cultural intelligence for today’s small businesses. I pray it won’t be too late.


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