Workplace diversity happens when a company hires employees who have different experiences and backgrounds. While it’s true that overcoming certain diversity issues in the workplace offers several benefits, like greater productivity, company morale, profit, and teamwork, it also carries plenty of challenges for managers and employees.
To ensure that you’ll be getting the most out of workplace diversity, you need to be aware of the problems linked to it, so you can deal with them effectively. Some of the workplace diversity issues that might arise are:
- Communication and language barriers
- Resistance to change
- Increased discrimination between subordinates and managers, as well as employees
- Plenty of unresolved conflicts in the workplace
- High employee turnover
- Loss of time and money
While those are serious issues, note that the effective management and handling of workplace diversity can help you avoid them. Here are some tips for coping with the common issues linked to workplace diversity:
- Establish clear communication – In this case, it’s necessary to set clear and understandable policies, company ethics, and health and safety information. All these details should be easy to interpret. Make sure to check for misunderstandings and uncertainties from time to time, too, so you can deal with them right away.
- Plan a retreat – It could be a camping trip or a weekend getaway with the entire team. Your goal should be to facilitate activities that’ll encourage your team to get to know each other. Note that one of the biggest challenges linked to diversity is the refusal to know someone who has a different belief system, ethnicity, or background. You have a chance to solve that by planning a retreat for the team.
- Recognize your people as individuals, instead of stereotypes – A well-managed diverse workplace actually establishes a culture which recognizes everyone as individuals, not stereotypes. A wise tip in developing such a culture is to arrange and facilitate exercises that will build relationships.
- Conduct research about different cultures – It’s necessary to have a working knowledge of the ethnicities, backgrounds, and religious affiliations of your co-workers. Your decision to get to know more about your colleagues can show them that you respect them, thereby resulting in a peaceful workplace. It’s also the key to improving the way you perceive others.
- Ensure that people are accountable for their actions – This means you have to impose policies and disciplinary action in case someone fails to stick to the diversity policies established in your workplace. In case of abuses, there should be a process that can help victims report the case. It’s also advisable to set a protocol for addressing the issues.
The issues linked to workplace diversity are actually manageable. What’s important is to show everyone the significance of being proactive in embracing different kinds of people and cultures when it comes to building a better and more productive workplace.