When people talk about cultural diversity in the workplace, they are referring to the differences in the composition of the staff. This is normally based on nationality or race, religion, gender and age, but can also take on traits like physical attributes, educational background, sexual orientation, income, marital status, and even parental status. Having an organization that positively supports cultural diversity helps the staff within the company build relationships, and an effective work environment – regardless of the differences in employee backgrounds or origins. If you’re interested to learn more on the topic in detail, this course is excellent at teaching you the fundamentals of the United States affirmative action policy.
Benefits of Cultural Diversity
There are many benefits to an organization that is culturally diverse. A company that can get people from all walks of life working together cohesively can see rapid progress towards their goals, in a short space of time. A diverse business is better equipped to build solutions for their customers, regardless of which specific area or department in the company they may be having difficulties with. This is because employees with different backgrounds often bring with them experiences and ideas that can be adapted to fit what each customer is looking for, instead of just trying the ‘one-size-fits -all’ approach.
In addition, having a diverse workforce with a wider cultural understanding means your company can leverage the wide range of skills and expertise of every staff member. This is an incredibly valuable asset when you manage it right. You’ll be capable of reaching a wider variety of customers that are spread all over the world. This course is great to check out if you’re interested in reaching international markets, as it runs through all the benefits and downsides of globalization. Your goal is to tap into the knowledge and ideas that your diverse workforce generates, which gives you more creativity and ideas, that ultimately lead to better decisions being made as you can take action on only the best suggestions.
Promoting Culture Diversity through Hiring
The first step to promoting cultural diversity in your workplace is to hire the right employees, but this is only the beginning – you also need to entice them to stay. One major problem with companies trying to foster diversity is that they don’t always get it right. Sometimes they’re in regions where the pool of applicants is less diverse, and hired staff from a minority background (especially if they’ve been relocated) can feel a large disconnect from the rest of the team. It’s the company’s job to help them adjust, both within the culture at work and within a new community, so you don’t have them leaving again before their probation is even up.
You need to identify the needs of your workforce. You want it to resemble the communities you are operating within, and align with the demographics you want to serve. If you find that either of these two points aren’t being met, you need to develop a strategy for hiring that increases your workforce diversity. This recent post will arm you with the right questions to ask when interviewing candidates, and help you find the out-of-the-box thinkers that can help you set your company up for success.
To effectively connect with candidates from a multitude of backgrounds, sometimes simply posting a job advertisement isn’t enough. You also need to reach out to local organizations that are involved with the community, like churches and non-profits that can assist with connecting you to minority groups. You don’t need to be limited to only your local area, if you have an attractive relocation package you can expand your search to other cities, states and even countries. That’s one key advantage of the internet, it helps you to connect to many more people, from a much wider background.
You also need to work to develop an employment policy that offers equal opportunity. There are many guidelines for this, in the United States, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has the requirements that must be met. In some cases a project team may be required to help roll out the changes in your organization, as well as coming up with different ways that a more diverse workforce could be attracted to the company. Build these ideas into your job advertisements, covering details that a more diverse pool of candidates may be interested in. New parents may appreciate flexible work hours to cope with the changes in their life, whilst new graduates may love a mentoring program so they can learn skills firsthand from senior executives. Try to be culturally sensitive when describing your company as a great place to work, and if you get it right you soon won’t need to advertise this fact.
To attract a wider range of candidates, there are many different benefits you can offer. This could include:
- Onsite daycare for all staff
- Subsidies for childcare (if onsite is not possible)
- Flexible work schedules
- Support to accommodate different religious holidays
- Business casual office attire
Another great way to boost both employee morale and find successful candidates is to work with a referral scheme. Your current staff are key assets that know both the industry, and have a network of contacts within it. Let them know there are bonuses for successful referrals, and their existing relationship with new staff can also aid in the transition period.
Keeping Your Employees Happy
It’s critical that every new hire you bring on has an incentive to stay. You should be spending a significant amount of time and effort to your new employees, making them feel at ease in their new job. Walk them through the new job, and help them get acquainted with the office culture. Not just for the younger generation, it’s critical that every staff member knows they have a future in the company – especially if their first few weeks require a ton of learning. Demonstrate how there are opportunities for advancement, and create a mentoring program that helps them to build a close working relationship with more experienced members of the team. If you can pair up mentors and mentee’s who share a common interest, you have formed the basis of a new friendship that may influence their long term decision to stay in your company.
Within your existing teams, you should always be working to improve your services. Creating and empowering project groups to brainstorm ways to improve your products, reach new customers or expand into new markets is both exciting, and a necessary task for all companies. If you can bring together teams that are culturally diverse, you benefit even more from the new ideas which are generated, while also giving cross-departmental teams the chance to connect.
Diversity Training for Employees
Within your current workforce, you must provide diversity training. This course is a great asset for companies that want to start their people on a cultural training course, that teaches diversity and also how to manage organizational change. Training helps to break down and preconceptions, and lets them know that all of your hiring decisions are in fact based on the right candidate for the job, not on any specific quotas for diversity. When you demonstrate how the hiring process actually works, you’ll ease the minds of many skeptics. For managers, you also need to ensure they understand how an increased level of diversity within their teams will help the overall workplace environment. They will be one of the key members of the team who are implementing the new hiring processes, so you must ensure their full commitment.
Learning from Your Mistakes
Despite all your best efforts, there will always be turnover, and employees that decide to leave the company. Take the opportunity to learn from any mistakes by having your Human Resources team interview each employee who leaves. You may need to work initially in creating a series of ‘exit interview’ questions, but once you start getting data you can use it as frank and honest feedback. It will tell you why employees are leaving the company, and if you ask the right questions perhaps even indicate how you can reduce further losses. In all of this, management needs to be open to feedback, and have a willingness to make the changes needed.
It’s only when an organization embraces cultural diversity that you can really set your business up for success. You can leverage the experience and skills from a much wider pool of people, and create solutions that perhaps were previously considered impossible. There are only benefits from having a more diverse workforce, and if you really want to compete on an international level, you’re going to have to embrace diversity. This course will help you get started in understanding what it takes to have success in the global market.
So what are you waiting for? Start working towards a more culturally diverse workforce of your own, and start making a real impact, today.