How to Manage a Diverse Workforce

diverse workforce

In today’s corporate world, having diversity in the workplace is no longer an option – it is an expectation.

Thanks to having learned about the benefits of workplace diversity, companies are embracing various initiatives in their recruitment and hiring processes. This has helped them to build diverse workforces with various types of people performing various roles.

However, some companies still treat diversity as an initiative that ends at the hiring stage. Very few firms are concerned with making continuous efforts towards achieving diversity at all levels and sections of the organization. In order to fully reap the benefits of having diverse employees,
employers must be willing to learn about diversity management.

Without following the right techniques and practices, companies risk losing out on some very talented employees. Here are a few tips on how you can manage employees from different backgrounds.

Be Firm with Policies

Company policies need to be transparent. All processes, from receiving a raise to requesting a holiday, should be clearly outlined so that employees are aware of what is expected.

Never create a policy that favors one particular ethnic, racial, or religious group. By making things equal for everyone, you are showing your employees that they all have an equal opportunity for growth.

By instilling this mindset in your employees, you are ensuring that your workforce stays happy and is receptive to changes made in the organization. Besides keeping your employees happy, this also makes it easier for you to manage them effectively.

Understand Different Cultures

When a new employee is hired, take some time to learn about the nuances of their culture. This will give you some understanding of the social environment which the employee is coming from.

Laying an equal footing for all your employees will empower them, but you still need to understand how an individual employee thinks in order to determine how best to interact with them.

Most people who come to the U.S. for work may dress and speak like the rest of us, giving the impression that they think the same way. However, unique cultural differences play an important role in the way individual employees function.

For example, in the U.S., many employees prefer to be more independent and take care of tasks independently. On the other hand, Japanese workers might feel more productive when they are part of a team.

Knowing about preferences like this can help you place your employees in the right kind of roles where they will excel.

Be Wary of Taboos

It is also important to learn some of the taboos in particular cultures.

In the U.S., for example, making a circle with the tip of the thumb and a curled index finger indicates an ‘OK’. However, in a country like Brazil, the same symbol communicates something that is obscene. Be wary of taboos so that you can avoid offending employees from different cultures.

You also need to be careful about the jokes you make. Whether you make an offhand comment about a particular culture or something that you think is just a harmless quip, this could make some workers uncomfortable, and it’s your job as the manager to keep everyone on your team happy and motivated.

Of course, you can’t learn about all the different cultural taboos on your own, which brings me to the next point.

Keep up Communication

When you have an employee whose background you know very little about, spend some time with them and learn as much as you can. By learning more about their ethnic and cultural backgrounds, you can better understand where your employees are coming from. And, in turn, you can fill them in on details about your own culture.

Whenever an employee asks you a question, be sure to rephrase and repeat their question so that you understand what they’re asking for. This will also tell your employees that you’re paying attention to them, and want to help them feel like a part of the team.

These are just a few tips on how to manage diversity at the workplace. Remember, every time you hire a diverse employee, you are bringing a fresh perspective into your company. You want to make sure that your employees are all comfortable and happy, so that they can put their various skills and talents to good use and help the business succeed.