Retaining Cross-Cultural Talent

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I referenced some quotes and thoughts from Michael Malone’s The Future Arrived Yesterday in the past week and wanted to highlight one more and make a slightly different application given my own context.In the email I mentioned to my friend Malone wrote,

“Smart companies (and countries) are going to have to learn to perpetually scour the Net in search of this burgeoning talent and then figure out ways to attract and keep it.  And that will require understanding where those people are coming from (cultural, morals, religion, education) and responding to those differences.”  (from an email)

Malone makes a lot of applications, but I was drawn to this thought given that I work in an ethnic minority ministry within a broader and very big and homogeneous organization.  There’s a lot of incentive for any organization that has a global or at least a national scope to really take seriously the talent pool that resides in different ethnic groups.Ministries and churches often think about who they need to “reach,” “evangelize,” or minister to in other ways, but I don’t know how often they think about how necessary it is to attract key and talented people to their organization from these different groups.  I’m sure everyone thinks it would be great if it happened, but I’m not sure how intentional an effort is being made.Given Malone’s thoughts, even a national ministry better be thinking about how to attract key talent and recognize the reality is that this talent more and more in the future is going to be found in different ethnic contexts than the majority culture.I see some advantages to intentionally trying to attract talent from sources outside of the current ethnic majority of an organization.  First, they can help you change because they are first and foremost talented people who can add value just like anyone else.  Second, they can help you change your culture and help you adapt in light of the changing world and demographics because they have one of their feet, if not both, in a totally different ethnic context and they bring a different perspective and way of looking at things.  They add value because they can be guides.To me though, the question that companies and ministries as well is going to be how to attract that talent given a majority culture or western starting point?  And how do you retain that talent when that talent is having to work in the face of minority status and at times years of tradition and practices that resist change – organizational and cultural.Malone highlights that the future dictates that we have to intentional go into other worlds to look for talented people who are going to add value to your community and organization.  What does it look like to you to do this and what do you see are the major challenges to recruiting from a diverse talent pool into a homogeneous context?

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