Diversity in the workplace: how to treat it naturally

Diversity in the workplace has never been more important. With global commerce expanding exponentially, opportunities to transact business with other cultures are rapidly increasing. Within the United States, growing communities of immigrants and their descendants present challenges to the traditional way of doing business, along with incentives for creatively expanding into new markets. Recruiting and hiring employees from diverse backgrounds not only enriches the workplace in terms of cultural awareness and interpersonal growth, but also provides insights to new client bases that can help to meet community needs while increasing company profitability.

Some organizations are less familiar with multicultural hiring regulations. But employment laws require fair consideration for non-Caucasian applicants to be hired as well as given opportunities for promotion as they develop new skills to fit higher-level job openings. It may be difficult for employers who lack experience with diversity and workplace compliance to know how to practice nondiscrimination and ensure equal pay. Many companies establish compliance programs to cultivate an environment of diversity compliance. You don’t have to get specialized certification credentials or become an expert to integrate diversity at your company. There are natural ways to promote workplace diversity compliance.

Update HR Diversity Processes

Recruiting methods should include connecting to sources that attract diverse applicants. This may include social media professional networking sites like Linked In as well as special interest job placement sites for culturally diverse professionals. Journals, newsletters, and magazines also frequently cater to certain types of diverse job seekers, and the Human Resources, or HR, search process can be adjusted to advertise job openings or find available applicants in specialized publications. College alumni associations that traditionally work with diverse graduates are eager to network with prospective employers to match new grads with jobs. HR policies and procedures for hiring, retention, and promotion may need to be updated to accommodate the company’s need and desire for non-traditional applicants. All employees should receive equal pay for doing the same work. Incentive programs and promotion opportunities must be given to all eligible employees, regardless of their cultural heritage, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and other identity markers.

Coordinate Employee Training

New hires of every background will need a certain amount of orientation or training in order to assimilate into the company’s culture. This is often handled by management in a low-key way, using group activities like role-playing and discussion. Longstanding employees may also benefit from participating in diversity training as part of the necessary diversity management initiative.

Employees should be treated equally and fairly during the training period, they should be encouraged to ask questions or seek additional assistance, and they should receive training about different cultural perspectives on relevant company issues. However, the company should maintain its regular standards without making exceptions for an employee who may insist on doing things differently due to prior cultural conditioning. Everyone can learn to appreciate employees’ varied backgrounds and strategies for doing things in a mutually respectful way.

You may be interested: Guide for designing an effective welcome program for new employees

Schedule Event Programming

Depending on several factors, including company size, number of employees, and cultures represented, you may want to bring in a special speaker or host a cultural appreciation event to promote cross-cultural interest and understanding. A professional speaker with experience or training in this area often has techniques that help to illustrate key principles associated with cultural sensitivity and workplace multiculturalism. Although the legal implications of diverse hiring and promotion practices are at the core of diversity regulations, there is much to be gained personally and professionally from hearing a presenter or participating in a themed event, such as an international fair onsite, that is worth the effort.

Utilize Gamification

The growing use of gamification in the workplace as a training tool can be especially effective for the issue of diversity. Some cultural issues are sensitive, and people tend to tiptoe around them. Others may cause employees to bristle. A game-playing training approach makes the process interesting, fun, and practical while avoiding some of the tensions that may occur during training sessions. Common workplace gaming programs include diverse themes, characters, and settings, which provide natural exposure to ideas that might otherwise seem alien or complex. The use of customizable games allow to include content on any topic, which is perfect for this aim.

Offer Diversity Internships

If your organization has branches, or if you network with a local company that is similar to yours, you might be able to set up an employee exchange to bring in someone from a different culture temporarily to expose employees to new ideas. In exchange, one of your employees who performs similar job duties can be lent to the other company to ensure continued productivity. Alternately, new college graduates that are not looking for full-time employment might be willing to particulate in an internship for professional experience, giving your employees insight to his or her cultural background and outlook.

Coworkers from other countries or cultures are a wonderful source of cultural enrichment. Most people appreciate the opportunity to get acquainted with someone who is perceived as different from themselves. While federal law mandates workplace compliance services to attract, hire, and retain employees from nontraditional backgrounds, an additional benefit is the personal growth that every employee may experience as a result.

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