For a global company to be successful they need to become inclusive, ensuring diversity is valued, understood, and appreciated. In order to make sure that your employees, and your firm, can benefit from the creativity and innovation that diversity can bring, it is vital an inclusive work culture is implemented, taught and monitored.
While hiring a diverse workforce may appear straightforward enough, there are elements which will require careful consideration if this diversity is to be successful. Diversity in areas such as age, gender, race, language, religion, and so on, can lead to misunderstanding, isolation, or anxiety if employees do not have a mutual respect and consideration of these differences.
Training your team to become inclusive takes a concentrated effort but the rewards include, new approaches to business, inspirational attitudes, novel thinking methods, and different tactics for problem-solving, so it is well worth your firm’s time and money.
The following points give an outline for supporting inclusion and diversity within your business:
1. Cultural Awareness Training
This is the crucial first step in helping your team understand how cultural differences can impact our perspectives, and how we interact with others.
Cultural awareness training can cover areas such as:
• The role of culture within the workplace
• How concepts of culture impacts upon business and personal dynamics
• Direct and indirect communication
• Best practices
• Methods and tools available to improve team efficiency and success
Most quality, professional cultural awareness course help to develop cultural sensitivity, provide support for developing intercultural communication, and show how culturally diverse work practices can operate in harmony alongside each other. Some courses are bespoke for specific cultures, and sectors, or can be tailored to your requirements.
Cultural awareness training will give your employees, managers, and colleagues methods for dealing with conflict, and more self-awareness.
2. Managing Bias and Culturally Formed Preferences
We are each a product of our environment – our culture has educated us to act and react in certain ways. This doesn’t necessarily make us a bad person, but it does give us unconscious biases and preferences, some of which we remain blissfully unaware of, until they are questioned or encountered in a time of conflict.
In order to overcome these natural biases, it is essential that they are understood.
One way to do this is through training courses which address cultural bias. They can encourage employees to review, question and analyse their own views and beliefs, so that they have a greater understanding about what has helped create these views, and why other’s views may be different – but just a valid.
Training for cultural bias must be aimed at reducing defensiveness (when questioning our actions and beliefs we can all become defensive), through communication, understanding of the importance of culture in our upbringing, and helping staff to address issues of difference with an open mind.
3. Employee Resource Groups
Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are affinity groups, or networks, within the workplace which are designed to bring people with similar traits, backgrounds, and beliefs. Originally these groups centred around points such as gender, religion and age, but more recently these groups have evolved to encompass interest based groups which can bring together people from culturally diverse background but whom share a common interest either in business or their personal life.
For instance, and ERG might be centred on volunteering in the local community, a sport, or environmental issues.
These ERGs help to bring together individuals with a shared passion and enable a focus on a common goal. Building successful workplace relationships is easier if there is a shared vision in which staff are encouraged to follow and participate.
Senior management, and team leaders should also be encouraged to participate in ERGs as they give increased awareness, foster visibility, and encourage wider participation. They also help with perceived business visions, organisation, and inclusion.
4. Diversify your Teams
The best way to support inclusion and diversity within your business is to build a culturally diverse team.
If you have a small, homogenous team, with limited room for expansion, consider bringing in guest speakers for an event from a different cultural background, or someone who is of a different age/gender to the majority of your staff.
This can lead to positive improvements in creativity or problem-solving, and can inspire new ways of dealing with old issues.
If your team is larger and looking to expand, consider bringing someone on board who isn’t your usual stereotypical employee. For instance, an employee who has trained and worked abroad, as they are likely to have different perspectives on your industry.
If you require assistance creating a diverse and inclusive business, talk to Creative Word Training and see how we can help.