Cultural diversity in the workplace continues to grow as the world becomes increasingly globalised and connected.
Companies are finding themselves with a more diverse workforce and when managed inclusively, this diversity can be a game changer for productivity, engagement, innovation, creativity, and retention.
This is because a workforce that represents a wide range of backgrounds, cultures, and perspectives lends itself to creating a more dynamic and rich tapestry for problem solving, understanding customers better, and thinking creatively.
However, managing cultural diversity in the workplace can be a challenge – especially for leaders who don’t know how. Because, despite popular opinion, leaders need to learn the skills to be inclusive, and then practice them over and over until they become habit.
It is therefore crucial to have strategies in place to promote cultural diversity in the workplace and foster an inclusive environment.
In this article, I’m going to share some tips to help you create a more culturally diverse workplace:
Tip 1: Embrace diversity
The first step in promoting cultural diversity in the workplace is to embrace it. This means that you should view diversity as a strength rather than a weakness. Having diversity policies and procedures in place also helps.
When you have a workforce that is diverse, you have a team that is better equipped to tackle the challenges of a changing workplace. This is because diversity brings different perspectives, ideas, and experiences to the table, which leads to new solutions and breakthroughs.
Tip 2: Promote inclusiveness
Creating a more inclusive workplace means promoting a culture that values diversity. This starts with leadership and setting an example.
Leaders need to be vocal in their support of diversity and inclusion, and they need to demonstrate this through their actions.
This includes creating an environment where everyone feels valued, respected, and heard, regardless of their background or culture.
Sounds easier said than done!
And there is a pervasive thought out there amongst many leaders that they are already very inclusive in their behaviours – but their staff or team disagree. Why is that?
Tip 3: Foster communication
Good communication is key to supporting cultural diversity in the workplace. Encourage open and honest communication between all levels within the organisation. Your staff should have access to yourself, and they should feel comfortable in communicating opening with each other as well.
Take steps to create a culture where everyone feels comfortable sharing their opinions and ideas. This can be achieved through regular team-building activities, holding morning check-ins to see how everyone is tracking, and encouraging cross-cultural interaction.
Tip 4: Provide cultural training
Promoting cultural diversity in the workplace can be undertaken through appropriate cultural training such as workshops, online courses, or mentorship programs.
The goal is to educate employees on different cultures, their customs and traditions, and how to interact with people from different backgrounds.
This will help employees to understand and appreciate the unique qualities each person brings to a culturally diverse workplace.
Where possible, I strongly suggest the training is delivered or developed by a person of the same culture so that information is delivered in a culturally sensitive manner.
Tip 5: Celebrate cultural holidays and traditions
It is important to celebrate cultural holidays and traditions by ensuring that employees who wish to can take leave for important dates such as Diwali, Chinese New Year, or Ramaden. Celebrate these events in the workplace as well through food, music, or decorations.
In celebrating cultural holidays and traditions you are helping to bring employees together, promote understanding, and create a more inclusive environment.
Support your leaders to understand cultural diversity in the workplace
Promoting cultural diversity in the workplace is crucial for creating a more inclusive environment and to achieve more successful outcomes for your organisation.
Maybe you’ve seen exclusion in action where someone doesn’t feel like they belong or that they are treated fairly or respectfully? Maybe you’ve felt this yourself. If so, then you can appreciate how impactful the reverse can be.
Working to create this inclusive environment takes time, and often takes training and constant repetition of micro-actions to embed new habits.
Everyone deserves to work for an organisation that values and respects who they are as an individual as well as what they can deliver in their everyday workday.
When employees feel like they are valued and respected they feel like they belong to a greater cause, to a family, or to a community.
When this happens a ripple effect can take hold and it is powerful for the organisation.
If you’re ready to make waves to foster a more inclusive organisation that embraces cultural diversity in the workplace, then start today.