How can small businesses minimize skill gaps in 2023?
Minimizing Skill Gaps in Small Businesses

Minimizing Skill Gaps in Small Businesses: How Culturally Inclusive Globally Distributed Teams Help

You must be familiar with Darwin’s “Survival of the fittest”? It holds true in business too, if you don’t adopt cultural inclusion in your global teams. Your enterprise WOULD be unfit to survive! 

Today, MNCs unanimously agree upon the benefits of having culturally diverse employees and advocate the same especially for leveraging the growth of SMBs. This is valid for two specific reasons: 

  1. Filling skill gaps in businesses, and 
  1. Breaking barriers in the era of increased globally distributed teams. 

Along with these, there are other key benefits for small businesses when hiring culturally inclusive globally distributed teams. In fact, teams that are diverse in terms of race, gender, and nationality are more innovative than homogeneous ones, according to a study by Harvard Business Review. 

Meaning of “Culturally Diverse Teams”

Cultural inclusion, in this context, does not simply refer to geographical, racial or nationality-based diversity recognition. It refers to employees coming from diverse backgrounds to form a team, like: 

  • Organizational– public, corporate, small start-ups, 
  • Professional– engineers, designers, writers, 
  • Genders or sexual orientation– cis, trans, straight, LGBTQIA+, etc. 

Each of these qualify as yardsticks to inform, as well as predict, their contribution towards a composite whole. 

Reasons for Skill Gaps in Small Businesses: 

If you own a small business, you must be overfamiliar with the struggle of attracting and retaining skilled workers. That would be owing to the lack of one or all the three following reasons: 

  • Financial resources to offer competitive salaries and benefits to top talent. 
  • Brand recognition that larger businesses possess, leading to nonaffiliate global talent. 
  • Training and development programs to upskill your existing employee base. 

Unfortunately, even one of the above leads to skill gaps, which is responsible for the hindrance of the growth and success of your business. 

Minimizing Skill Gaps in SMBs 

Small businesses like yours play a significant role in the global economy, serving as its backbone. It contributes to a higher job generation and increases economic growth. 

In today’s fast-paced business environment, small businesses face intense competition and require talented employees to stay competitive. However, many of these businesses struggle to compete with their larger counterparts because of the limited resources they have, including financial and human resources. 

That limits their growth potential. Thankfully, one of the benefits of this era of remote work is the ability to build culturally diverse globally distributed teams. 

Benefits of Culturally Inclusive Globally Distributed Teams: 

Globally distributed teams refer to teams that work remotely, regardless of their geographic location. One of the significant advantages of having culturally diverse, globally distributed teams is the ability to access a broader pool of skilled employees. 

Companies in the top quartile for ethnic and cultural diversity were 36% more likely to have above-average profitability than companies in the bottom quartile. Companies that have gender-diverse teams outperform their peers in terms of profitability by 25%. How? Simply by helping your business to bring a diverse range of perspectives and experiences to the table. That leads to more innovation, creativity and problem-solving skills. 

It was found out in a study by McKinsey & Company, which also found that diverse teams help your business to better understand and serve a diverse customer base. By understanding customer needs better, they can develop products that meet those needs. Now, that is certain to lead to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty. 

Projecting Remote Team Benefits on Real-world Situations 

Let us show you how that can be fructified by drawing three probable scenarios. Suppose you own a small business: 

  • In the US– By hiring an employee from Japan, you become privy to invaluable insights into the Japanese culture and consumer behaviour. Thus, your Japanese employee helps your company tailor its marketing strategies and efforts to better reach consumers in the Japanese market. 
  • In Australia– You can hire a software developer from India to help with your software development projects. This can help your business access a larger pool of talent and fill skill gaps that may not be available locally. It will also help you gain access to top talent at much lower costs. 
  • In the UK– By taking advantage of the ability of multilingual employees, you can offer language services to customers in different parts of the world. This will help your business expand its customer base and offer a more personalized experience and support to customers. 

Remote Work as a Solution: 

Globally distributed teams help small businesses minimize skill gaps. Remote work has become increasingly popular in recent years, and studies have shown that remote workers are more productive and happier than those who work in traditional office settings. 

According to a survey by Owl Labs, 91% of remote workers feel more productive when working remotely, and 70% say they feel more connected to their colleagues than they did in a traditional office setting. 

Remote work has emerged as a viable solution to address the skill gap challenge in small businesses. With remote work, businesses can tap into a global talent pool, rather than being limited to the local talent pool. 

This can help businesses find the skilled workers they need to fill skill gaps. Additionally, remote work can be more cost-effective than traditional on-site work, as businesses can save on office space and other expenses. 

Companies that Embraced this Approach 

Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com, has a fully distributed team of over 1,100 employees spread across 77 countries. It has leveraged a diverse workforce to develop innovative solutions and grow its business. The company’s CEO, Matt Mullenweg, has credited their remote work culture with helping it attract and retain top talent, as well as promoting diversity and inclusion. 

Zapier, a small business that specializes in automation software, has a fully distributed team of over 400 employees from different parts of the world, working from over 28 countries. It has been successful in leveraging the benefits of remote work, allowing the company to scale quickly and efficiently. This distributed team has helped Zapier to scale its operations and offer a high-quality product to its customers. 

Buffer, a social media management platform, has a remote team of over 80 employees based in 15 countries. They have created a product that is used by over 75,000 companies worldwide. Additionally, they regularly invest in remote work research, one of which found that it leads to cost savings for businesses. How? Remote workers are less likely to take sick days owing to feelings of productivity and satisfaction as compared with on-site workers. 

GitLab, a software development company with more than 1,400 employees in more than 65 countries, has a remote work culture that has helped it attract and retain top talent, as well as improve employee satisfaction and productivity. In a survey of GitLab employees, 88% of respondents said they were satisfied or very satisfied with their job, and 84% said they would recommend GitLab as a great place to work. 

Concluding Thoughts: 

Businesses can minimize skill gaps by creating culturally inclusive, globally distributed teams. These teams bring a diverse range of skills and perspectives, which can help businesses innovate. Hiring remote talent has emerged as a viable solution to address this, by bridging gaps that otherwise hinder the growth and success of small businesses. This blog draws on examples of companies that have successfully engaged in remote work, as well as research studies, to show how small businesses gain a competitive advantage in their respective markets by embracing this approach. 

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