Promoting Diversity in the Workplace

Imy Clarke - On behalf of Alchemy Recruitment, July 16, 2014

Diversity in the workplace can boost your business. The employment of different genders, sexualities and ages as well as ethnicities has a massive impact. Diversity can be difficult, but by implementing these five easy steps within the workplace, employees at all levels of a business can find harmony.

1. Flexibility For All
Be aware that diversity often means that people will want flexibility in their work at different times in the year. Your employees might require time off to celebrate a holiday pertaining to their culture, whether this is Hanukkah, Chinese New Year, Diwali or another festival. Sometimes this might not be possible, but to at least be sympathetic and understand (or even ask) about why this holiday is so important to their culture will go a long way. Similarly, a new father might want to take time out just as much as a new mother. You don’t always have to say yes to every demand, but be prepared to be flexible for all employees.

2. Make an Effort
Making the effort for inclusion of all staff is paramount. Invite the input of both younger and older employees – a diversity of opinion and experience could make the difference in your business. Don’t discriminate on gender or sexuality either. These attributes don’t have to have any relevance on a person’s capability and again it can allow different perspective on a situation. With employees from other cultures, make the effort to pronounce their name properly if it’s particularly difficult to say. Don’t just force a nickname on them or avoid saying it, as this could be alienating. Also, be respectful of any miscommunication that may arise from language differences. Don’t get offended or ridicule your colleague, just politely explain where things got lost in translation.

3. Know what’s appropriate
Jokes that can be controversial are best left outside of the workplace. If they stereotype race, gender or age, then colleagues could be easily offended, even if it’s meant to be amusing. Even friendly banter should be left away from the office – the people involved might be fine with it, but others in the office overhearing might not like it. Let go of the stereotypes and just accept people for what they are, not what their race, sexuality, gender or age dictates they should be like.

4. Training
Training employees in diversity in the workplace is the quickest way to encourage and implement complete diversity. Set up courses and workshops among staff to encourage team building. Allow opportunities for all employees to express their opinions and situations where they will feel comfortable doing so.

5. Promote the Benefits
If you can actively promote the benefits within the workplace, whether you are an employee or an employer, then other colleagues should follow suit. Promote the difference of perspective that a diverse workplace can have. Demonstrate the new ideas and personalities that can drive a business and the mutual respect and dignity that can make it enjoyable to be a part of. Any business that is completely and effectively diverse can develop a fantastic reputation as a fair employer in the job market.

Posted in categories: Culture & Languages
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