Have you recently hired (or considering hiring) people from other nationalities, races, health conditions, or age groups?
Are you getting (or looking to avoid) complaints of discrimination, abuse, and an unfavourable working environment? This article is for you.
Due to the proven effectiveness of remote working, human resources experts are now going out and beyond to diversify their talent pools. While diversity offers a number of benefits, it also comes with the need for extra knowledge on how to handle the changes and keep the workplace professional, friendly, and a catalyst for growth.
In this article, we are sharing some of the tips that can help you manage diversity in the workplace. We are drawing inspiration from the fact that it is one thing to claim that you are a company that values diversity and another to vividly show it.
- Be aware of common stereotypes
From the popular speech of the dangers of a single story, it goes without saying that our ingrained beliefs about certain people are the main determinants of how we treat them, and the workplace is not any different. More often than not, our actions towards minority groups are subconscious. As a human resources expert or an executive, you are not exempted from having certain false beliefs about certain groups of people.
By looking up the common stereotypes and assessing yourself, you pave the way for not only extending proper treatment to your new hires but also leading your team towards the same.
- Know the sensitive topics
Many, if not all, groups of people have a list of topics that they consider sensitive, which they entirely avoid or exercise extreme caution while tackling. While some topics are circumstantial, others are triggering all the time.
Engaging with the new hires to know about the topics that they consider sensitive is essential. Such knowledge also comes in handy when drafting the company’s dos and don’ts or training your team on how to participate in sensitive debates and benefit from each other’s knowledge and expertise for the same purposes of ensuring a friendly working environment and continuous growth.
- Inform your team about the stereotypes and sensitive topics
You cannot create a good working environment alone.
It may be that some employees have never worked closely with others from other backgrounds. And by continuing with their practices, they may be unintentionally spreading hate against particular people and/or widening the gap. In addition, others may not know about trigger topics or how to be sensitive in certain circumstances.
This calls for you as a leader to inform them about the stereotypes, the sensitive topics and anything else that can affect their interaction with the new hires.
- Invite the audience to educate others about their way of living
In the spirit of making the new hires feel safe and valued in the workplaces, the rest of the team can be too cautious to the extent of excluding them from group events to avoid crossing the lines.
To avoid this, invite the audience to share some ideas about their lifestyle, culture, and preferences. You need not designate special time for such as they can be done during breaks. This will not only break the ice, but also promote their sense of belonging and give other employees a chance of asking relevant questions that may be preventing them from connecting.
- Be fair and transparent
One reason why talented people who form the minority in a particular company quit is due to unfairness. Unfairness can be in terms of compensation or distribution of opportunities. Without your deliberate effort of being transparent and fair, all attempts of making the workplace suitable will fail.
- Treat employees as individuals
Belonging in similar race, nationality, or other differentiating factor does not mean that all the people in a certain group will exhibit similar traits. This means you should treat each employee as an individual, especially when resolving an issue such as conflicts or underperformance. Viewing and approaching individual approach prevents formation of sub-groups or the situation getting worse if some individuals get triggered.
- Deliberately promote diversity beyond hiring
You can hire people from another group but if there are minimal to no opportunities of interacting with the other employees, then there is a high likelihood of them assuming they were hired to add color to the company’s image. On the other hand, encouraging the people to form diverse groups eliminates misunderstanding and false notions.
- Collect feedback
Feedback about the state of the workplace after implementing the different tactics will help you to do more and reap more. Create room for the new hires to share their comments and suggestions and raise concerns of bullying, discrimination, and others, and make an effort to consider them.
Companies that embrace diversity and implement strategies that enable them to maximally reap from it will always be far ahead of others.