As businesses expand domestically and internationally, they are likely to encounter a customer base of increasing cultural diversity. By hiring a heterogeneous workforce, a company shows respect for the diversity of its customers, and it may increase the extent to which customers identify with employees.

The Support Center for Nonprofit Management, a San Francisco resource center for administrators of nonprofit organizations, makes a point of maintaining a staff and a board of directors that mirror its customer base in terms of ethnicity, gender, and other demographics. The result is that each subpopulation is included in the company's decision-making processes.

"We feel that a staff and board of directors that represent the diversity of our clients will be more attuned to the needs of our customers," says managing director Andrew Goldfarb. "And, our clients will feel more comfortable with the support we offer them, because they share something with our staff. In essence, we serve our customers better because we can identify with them, and they feel more comfortable because they can identify with us."