Cultural Diversity Matters

Apr 02, 2020 | BLOG

Guest contribution by Mars

We frequently get questions on the importance of ‘Cultural Diversity’ in how it relates to business.

‘Culture’ is a critical ingredient for any thriving ecosystem. Simply put, it is the ‘Sum of Us’. It’s what we become as a result of our thoughts & actions. It evolves and it is dynamic. It grows and permeates the subconscious as we imbibe values & learnings from one another.

This cultural lifecycle has a logical flow with the propensity for change directly proportional to the size of the groups. Smaller, more cohesive gatherings are more in sync with a changing culture, and as they grow, have less influence over the collective.

Organisational culture works in much the same way. As companies expand, they constantly add new experiences from incoming employees which fuses fresh thinking into the existing pool. This stage, when managed with care, can be a game changer for most companies – organisations could either slip and stumble or become a cohesive force developing momentum towards accelerated growth. That is why strong gate-keepers of good organisational culture are critical. These custodians ensure the continuous inflow of diverse thinking to add to what is currently absent.

To some organisations such as Mars Inc, this comes quite naturally. Last month, EARTH 51 were privileged to participate in their World Cultural Diversity week celebrations – a tremendously powerful visual of diverse cultures coming together to celebrate their differences. It was a huge learning for us to watch first-hand, an organisations’ 109 year evolution path, and a lesson in how to stay lock-step with a forever changing world.

Mars Inc is a strong reference on how diversity of thought can be central to an organisations’ success. After all, fostering innovation from multiple idea pools helps organisations mirror their clients needs. This gives companies such as Mars Inc an accurate representation of their target markets – employees who think, feel, understand & react to their consumer’s sentiments. What better way to stay connected with the needs of today, as well as course-correct for future demand.

“Sustainable in a generation”

We observe that the stronger the organisational linkage with a purpose-led vision, the more culturally rich & diverse they tend to be. Mars Inc for instance, has a vision to achieve “Sustainable in a generation”. Their every objective is laser focussed on making a difference to both people and planet. This fore-sight is perhaps the underpinning reason for a company such as theirs to grow profitably, ethically & responsibly for over a century & to usher in 2020 as one of the most sustainable companies on our planet today.

Finally, adding to the moral argument, there is a tremendous macro-economic benefit accrued by companies that embrace diverse cultures.

In the UK, companies that are able to grow their cultural diversity by 10%, average an EBITDA growth of 3.5%. In another study by McKinsey in 2019, companies that were both gender & ethnically more diverse had a 36% likelihood of outperforming their peers on profitability alone.

This direct correlation reinforces the point that sustainable, culturally diverse companies are resilient, adaptable, and are more profitable in the longer-term maintaining a closer connect with their customer base.

Its also in their DNA to consistently chase a vision of ‘becoming better businesses for a better world.’

About the author(s)

Akhil Handa is the CEO and Founder at EARTH51.


Asha Mehra is the Senior Technology Manager at MARS. (Guest Contributor)