April 11, 2017
The business world has become more and more diverse on daily basis. These changes can often make some employees uncomfortable as they try to interact with individuals they may not have been in contact with previously in their lives. Encouraging acceptance of all types of people in the workplace has become another important task of the manager or supervisor, who must often educate themselves on a variety of topics, so that they can help others open up to new concepts.
1 – Educate on Diverse Cultural Aspects
The single most important action business leaders can take to encourage acceptance of diverse people in the workplace is to educate themselves about cultural differences and lifestyles. The owner or manager can then inculcate this knowledge into everyday conversation and actions, helping to spread the information to others in a natural, organic fashion. When the leader of work group is comfortable with diversity in the workplace, others incorporate these same attitudes into their own mindset.
2 – Encourage Opportunities To Share Cultural Information
Often, other workers are curious about the experiences of those of diverse backgrounds, but feel uncomfortable directly asking questions. Facilitating these interactions often falls to leadership, who should institute “food sharing” days or other activities that can help to begin conversations that increase understanding.
3 – Emphasize the Strengths of A Diverse Work Environment
Businesses around the country and around the world are actively including diversity in their companies because of the benefits they provide in serving customers and providing ideas that increase profits. Leaders should actively include workers from diverse backgrounds in decision-making and idea creation, so that the appreciation of other viewpoints becomes part of the company culture.
4 – Be Aware of Culturally Significant Holidays and Events
Business leaders should also be aware of culturally significant holiday and events that could affect scheduling of meetings and other activities within the workplace. In this way, individuals of diverse backgrounds will not feel they are automatically excluded from proceedings because of their differences. Calendars can be posted within the organization so that all employees know when other workers may be absent from the workplace. “Free days” can be offered for all employees to utilize for their own needs, in the spirit of fairness to all.
5 – Be Sensitive To Diverse Lifestyles and Cultural Limitations
Some concepts apply to all employees who could be considered diverse, such as women, older workers, those of minority racial or religious groups, LGBTQ individuals and the disabled. Open communication is often the best way to integrate individuals into the general workforce, with sensitivity to the differences in lifestyles, abilities and preferences. Encourage frank conversation, but also understand that some situations require private conversation rather than group interaction on a topic.
Diversity training can be a good way to encourage employees to accept the many differences that they must deal with in the contemporary world. However, training must also carry into the working environment, and managers are often the key players that set the tone for harmonious work relationships.