Hopefully, the days are long-gone when people were forced to be ashamed of who they are and where they are from. Waking each day dreading work, knowing someone will make a derogatory comment about your accent, skin color, ethnicity or religious beliefs is psychologically damaging and abusive. Everyone is entitled to a workplace that is free of ridicule and harassment.
The term workplace diversity became popular in the mid-1960s when the Civil Rights Act was signed into law. The United States made discrimination against people based on their gender, race, color, national origin or religion illegal. As a result, the corporate landscape had to change in many ways.
Respecting cultural diversity in the workplace encourages cooperation and collaboration. A corporate culture that values and respects productivity, performance and quality is encouraged. In this nurturing environment employees are seen for their contributions, expertise and abilities. Instead of focusing on unimportant and invidious differences, the focus is on the success of the business. Respect breeds profitability!
Create a Culture of Respect
Respect is a learned behavior just as being disrespectful is also a learned behavior. One way to create a cultural diverse workplace is by following these steps.
Training- Create awareness and sensitivity by providing a diversity workshop. Believe it or not some people may not be aware of how offensive their behaviors are to other employees. Lay the ground rules for what is acceptable and what is not. Emphasize what is important for success, such as working together to achieve a common goal.
Modeling-Lead by example. Change starts the top of the organization. Management needs to set an example of how others should behave and act. It is not acceptable for executives to act one way and have different expectations of their middle management and employees. Employees follow the lead of the top management
Reinforcing- Monitor compliance Make it someone’s responsibility to oversee the diversity program. Usually a Human Resources professional is appointed for this job Make sure that person is adequately trained for the role. Often, this will include continuing education courses on such things as changes in the law and mediation techniques. The latter is important as this person will be expected to take courses throughout the year.
Understanding personal biases is a good first step towards eliminating harmful bias. Encourage the employees to get to know each other, especially those from different cultural backgrounds. Hire a diverse staff and embrace diversity. Bring together a diverse mix of people when working on projects as innovation often comes from different points of view working together.
The world is a very big place with many different people. Workplaces should reflect that diversity. Celebrate the differences and the similarities we all share. Contact us to learn about the services we provide or to discuss your most important business issues. Schedule a free evaluation by calling us at (973) 998-9801. Or find us on the web at http://www.njmep.org/