On Sunday May 21, TransPerfect celebrated World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development. Working for a multinational company spanning 94 cities, 34 countries, and 6 continents, I realized that the incredible geographic and cultural diversity I take for granted is not necessarily the norm in many organizations.
Publisher Malcolm Forbes once said, "Diversity is the art of thinking independently together."
Rewind 11 years to 2006 when I first joined TransPerfect in the London EMEA HQ office, which housed 30 out of the company's 350 global employees at that time. As a first-generation British Indian, I grew up listening to my parents express concerns about my future and the limitations my ethnic background might have on my career. After immigrating to the UK in their mid-twenties and experiencing a challenging corporate system that was often not that open to "foreigners," they launched their own business as a way to control their destiny.
When I first interviewed at TransPerfect, I was sold on the opportunity to work for a company that embraced equality and diversity in all its forms. A meritocracy in which everyone is valued no matter age, race, or gender, and advancement opportunities are based on achievements and results. At the time, I don't think I can honestly say I really knew what diversity in the corporate world was. It wasn't something I truly appreciated until I compared my experience to that of my friends and family members who also worked in large companies.
Here's what TransPerfect's vision statement says about diversity: "Meaningful progress and accomplishments come about as a result of embracing new ideas and differing perspectives. At TransPerfect we celebrate diversity in backgrounds, diversity in beliefs, diversity in thought, and diversity in action as sources of our strength."
I find myself, 11 years later, reciting these same values to each candidate that walks through the door for an interview. It's obvious to me that TransPefect lives and breathes diversity—but numbers speak louder than words and our demographics stay true to the corporate culture we continue to build upon. Here are some key stats from TransPerfect's London office:
Of our 320+ employees, 32% are male and 68% are female. Our management team mirrors that percentage with 32% male managers and 68% female managers.
I always tell young graduates that we offer opportunity to advance no matter your age, and the proof is in the pudding. Nearly 50% of London's managers are under 30 and the vast majority are under 40.
Ethnicity and Nationality
TransPerfect London hosts 36 nationalities. Brits and Americans make up 52% of employees and 61% of the managers in this office. Of the remaining 48%, 39% are members of our management team.
So how does a diverse workplace contribute to business?
Diversity in the workplace is one of the many important factors contributing to financial growth and innovation—and there's proof! According to a McKinsey study, "more diverse companies—those with a greater share of women and a mixed ethnic/racial composition in their leadership—are better able to win top talent and improve their customer orientation, employee satisfaction, and decision making."
The study reported financial data and leadership demographics for hundreds of companies worldwide and found that businesses in the top 25% of racial and ethnic diversity were more profitable, with "financial returns above the national industry median."
At TransPerfect, we've reported record-breaking, organic year-over-year growth since our inception, typically growing 10-15% annually. Diversity is our strength.
So, what does the above all mean in the game of diversity?
Don't assume you are doing a good job—look under the hood with real data on your employee make up.
The above only covers three elements of what people would call diversity—there are numerous other characteristics that are just as important.
Give people the opportunity to grow and progress in an environment where culture, gender, race, age, and any other demographic identifier is not a hindrance—and not only will you attract the best talent, but they will produce results and grow with you!
The Language Challenge
Our global team celebrates Diversity Week by learning how to say "an open world starts with an open mind" in a foreign language.