The world is an amazing place. Packed full of rich cultures, there are people from every corner of the world who have something unique and beautiful to offer.
Which is why celebrating the richness of the world’s cultures is the focus of World Cultural Diversity Day. Held every year on 21 May, its purpose is to generate social cohesion and promote intercultural dialogue to help achieve peace and sustainable development.
So, with this important day looming, we thought it was the perfect opportunity to explore the importance of embracing cultural diversity in the workplace.
Let’s look at what workplace cultural diversity is, why it is beneficial for your business and how you can create an inclusive workplace culture for all.
How To Create Inclusion With Cultural Diversity In The Workplace
Recognising Cultural Diversity In The Workplace
New Zealand is an incredibly diverse place. We have a large range of cultures, ethnicities and religions living in our beautiful country. Recognising this cultural diversity in the workplace is not only essential, but it can also be very beneficial!
Employees from different cultural backgrounds work alongside each other every day. So, it’s imperative to recognise the needs and values of the different cultures, ethnicities and nationalities amongst your team.
Successful businesses are increasingly those that recognise the importance of promoting cultural diversity in the workplace and who take deliberate steps to create inclusive environments, allowing team members of all backgrounds to thrive.
What Embracing Diversity Can Do For Business
There are many reasons to embrace cultural diversity in your workplace. Firstly, as we’ve already mentioned, we live in a diverse society, so any number of cultures can be represented in a workplace. Recognising and embracing that allows people to be comfortable in their workplace and allows them to be at their best every day.
When people are comfortable, they thrive. Being part of a diverse and inclusive environment creates increased creativity and innovation, improved problem-solving abilities, and a better understanding of different perspectives and ideas. Creating a welcoming workplace culture that values diversity promotes a place of respect for all team members.
Aside from the team culture aspect, it is important to note that many younger employees (who make up a growing proportion of workers) hesitate to join organisations with poor ethics and diversity. So, it could actually be detrimental to your business to ignore the diversity that no doubt exists in your workplace!
The Benefits Of Workplace Cultural Diversity
Cultural diversity can bring many benefits for both employers and employees. Some of the key benefits are:
- Better understanding: Working with people from different cultural backgrounds brings the opportunity to learn from each other and gain a better understanding of different customs, beliefs, and values. This can lead to an overall greater cultural awareness and more sensitivity, which can improve communication and collaboration.
- Improved customer service: Having employees who understand and can relate to different cultural groups can be a real advantage in terms of customer service. Customers will feel more comfortable and valued when they encounter employees who share their cultural background or are sensitive to different cultural needs.
- Greater innovation: A diverse workplace brings together people with different backgrounds, skills, experiences, and perspectives. This can lead to greater creativity and innovation as employees are consistently exposed to new ideas and ways of thinking.
- Improved problem solving: As well as innovation, diverse teams are often better equipped to solve complex problems. That is because they bring different perspectives and approaches to the table. This can result in more effective problem-solving and decision-making company-wide, giving your business a competitive advantage.
- Employee retention: When employees feel valued and respected for their unique contributions and perspectives, they are more likely to be engaged and committed to their work. This can lead to higher levels of job satisfaction and lower turnover rates.
- Increased profits: Being known as a culturally diverse company earns you a great reputation, both as an employer and as a company of choice for customers. People who align with your company values will choose to shop with you, potentially leading to increased profits.
How To Embrace Cultural Diversity In The Workplace
Creating a harmonious, culturally diverse workplace doesn’t have to be hard. Here are some of our best tips to make it happen:
Consider ways that you can tie your organisation’s core values to your employee’s personal principles. This will give them a strong connection with your business. Not only does this help to create cultural diversity in the workplace, but it can also increase engagement within your team and improve staff retention.
When you recruit consciously, you are aligning your hiring process with your organisation’s mission and long-term goals. It involves looking at each candidate in depth, not only to assess their skills, but also how they would fit into your organisation as a whole and whether they believe in your mission and align with your values.
The great thing about recruiting in this way is that you can share your values around cultural diversity to avoid bias when hiring.
Celebrate Different Cultures
We can all learn a lot from each other whether it be skills, knowledge or cultural experience. By celebrating different cultures in your workplace, you can integrate and recognise other cultural values and points of view for greater understanding and communication.
Encourage inclusion by hosting shared cultural lunches and recognising specific festivals or other significant dates. Not only are you promoting learning and acceptance, but you can all have a great time while doing it!
You may find that people from different cultures have different needs in the workplace. So, adopting flexibility will allow you to cater for everyone. Get to know your team members and ask them what their individual needs are. Then, come up with a way that each employee can maximise their opportunities while still adhering to their culture. Remember, one size does not have to fit all!
We may not all speak the same native language, but we can all still achieve excellent levels of communication. Ensure you have a workplace that creates spaces for open and honest conversations. Address conflict as soon as it arises and encourage awareness and respect amongst your team.
Consider Cross-Cultural Awareness
You may even choose to undertake a cross-cultural awareness programme within your organisation. This is a form of training that helps all your team understand and respect the cultural diversity that exists within their workplace. It helps address language barriers, and specific cultural communication styles while promoting being open to the differences in each culture without stereotyping or bias.
Embracing Cultural Diversity
Diversity is part of what makes the world a fascinating place and promoting inclusion in your workplace can have many benefits for employers and employees.
So, if you are ready to embrace diversity in your workplace, we are ready to help you do it. Chat to the Spice Gals today about how to create an environment of inclusion.