The definition of diversity is changing

For many U.S. companies, diversity no longer means complying with federal hiring rules. As the world economy changes, they are diving into diversity in several different ways.

Native culture: Those who do business in other countries have to be knowledgeable about national cultures and traditions. They hire people from those countries to help them gain the trust of the people and forge partnerships.

At Weyerhaeuser, the timber giant with operations in 18 countries, local people are hired in Canada, Uruguay, New Zealand, and elsewhere.

Religion: As companies hire more religiously diverse employees in the U.S., they are learning to adapt their workplaces to people of various faiths.

Cross-culture networking: Affinity groups are social support groups for women, ethnic, and gay employees. Now, companies like Proctor & Gamble tap into affinity groups as cross-cultural tools for hiring, recruiting, and management training. John Deere has more than 20 affinity groups in other countries.

Finding talent: U.S. companies are finding that they can no longer rely on finding domestic college graduates in engineering and science. There aren’t enough of them. Companies look for them at elite universities in Europe, Asia, and Latin America.

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