What is Cultural Diversity in the Workplace?
The most clear-cut definition of cultural diversity in the workplace is the existence and inclusion of people from various ethnic and racial backgrounds. Other factors that contribute to cultural diversity include language, sex, class, and geographics.
If we look at the workforce, we can see that while many places have a culturally diverse workforce, it sometimes is not inclusive or is not often supported. When this is the case, managers and teal leaders have to find a way to create a bridge for promoting inclusion and cohesion.
5 Common Types of Diversity to Understand
When we think of diversity, we think of the explicit and sometimes apparent things such as color (racial); however, other types of diversity can and should be considered.
This particular category looks at an individual's ethnicity. One's cultural diversity often plays a significant factor in one's perception of the world and societal practices; for example, in a workplace, cultural diversity can dictate how one communicates or handles conflict communication skills.
Focuses on the physical and visual traits; for example, Caucasian, African American, or Asian are examples of race.
From Christianity to Buddhism, or Atheism, religious diversity looks at the spiritual differences in the workplace. This can sometimes be a touchy subject as different religions may conflict with certain values and principles, creating tension or misunderstanding.
Not all disabilities are visible. There is now a movement to recognize that someone who suffers from mental health or ailments that are not always obvious is part of a workforce's diversity.
5. Sexual Orientation
While there are two genders, the way someone identifies is not always one or the other. When it comes to sexual orientation, many organizations and managers are seeking the support of the LGBTQ2+ community in promoting and educating on sexual orientation diversity.
These are just a few of the common types of cultural diversities that can be found within an organization and, in general, society. Yet, these differences are sometimes what unite us and strengthen us as well.
How to Promote Cultural Diversity in Organizations
There is a movement to promote and push for cultural diversity in business. As a result, many seek consultants on workplace culture activities to help understand the appropriate actions and measures to ensure cultural diversity in the workplace is respected.
One way of promoting cultural diversity in organizations is through education and providing resources. Some of these resources can involve managers working on building a team culture that focuses on the cultural diversity of an organization; for example, if you have a team with new immigrants, taking the time to learn about these new colleagues' backgrounds and culture can demonstrate a business's goal to be inclusive.
Another way of promoting diversity in the workplace can be through programs that focus on allyship and cultural awareness. These resources can either be created specifically by an organization, or they can be found online. However, managers and team leaders who take a step towards providing and getting these resources can be a tremendous asset in promoting cultural diversity in the workplace.
When promoting cultural diversity in the workplace, it is essential to consider that diversity does not just focus on race or ethnicity; it can also encompass social-economical status, age, education, and much more. Looking at cultural diversity from a broader scope can help companies and their management team create and support genuinely inclusive initiatives that are going to benefit the organization.
Workplace Issues Involving Cultural Diversity
Building a team culture is not always easy, nor is it always smooth sailing. There can be issues that managers may have overlooked or unexpected.
Some cons that come with cultural diversity in the workplace include:
- Not everyone is willing or comfortable sharing their views because of their cultural upbringing or experience with sharing.
- Cultural stereotypes and perceived expectations can make it hard to collaborate amongst colleagues.
- Colleagues and management are having conflicting styles and approaches to business operations and communication
Though these are just a few of the issues that could happen when promoting cultural diversity in the workforce, there are benefits.
Pros to promoting cultural diversity in the workplace include:
- Creativity and innovation through sharing of experiences.
- Professional and personal growth and development through hearing from diverse perspectives.
- Cultural sensitivity resulting in insight and empathy in the workplace towards colleagues.
These benefits can help strengthen a company's workforce, but it also represents every evolving and changing workplace culture, which is seeing a shift towards acceptance and respect towards those of diverse backgrounds.
Promoting workplace culture activities is not always easy, nor is it often initially accepted. There is both a learning curve but also a period of self-reflection where everyone that is part of the organization reflects on their unconscious biases. These biases can sometimes impact the work towards promoting cultural diversity.
Managing Diversity in the Workplace
When it comes to managing cultural diversity in the workplace, the first step to consider is how, as team leaders and managers, one can improve the changing workplace culture. This may require adapting one's approach to communicating with employees to determining the best way to promote inclusion in the workplace when many workforces have moved towards a hybrid office environment is.
By understanding the needs of the workforce and the people in it, only then can there be actual progress and action towards managing diversity in the workplace, primarily because the future and success of businesses revolve around employees working with different cultures in the workplace.
The next time someone asks, ‘What is cultural diversity in the workplace?’, managers are going to be able to not only answer this but demonstrate it in how they manage their business's operations.
Why Cultural Diversity in the Workplace Matters
The promotion and support for cultural diversity in organizations are becoming more prevalent. Outside support and internal support services are working together to ensure that the business goals align with the progressive movement of society concerning cultural diversity. As a result, employees are choosing workplaces that provide financial benefits and emotional and social support.
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