By Sanela Osmic
Despite the historical feats made by minority groups over the past few decades, their legal success, for the most part, hasn’t gone much further than idealistic words on a page. For example, in modern countries like Australia, only twenty percent of senior executives, chief executives, and directors employed by the top 200 companies are culturally diverse.
Embracing cultural diversity offers competitive advantages for both small businesses and large corporations. A proactive human resource strategy is a key component for any modern company. By creating an atmosphere of diversity, your company will fine tune its relationship with culturally diverse consumers. To assist you in achieving this goal, we have put together a list of ways you can turn your company into an example of cultural diversity.
Though you should never promote an employee based solely on his or her cultural identity; they should also not be excluded from leadership positions. You should judge fairly, look at the individual’s qualifications, skills and character, and employ the best person for the job. Doing so helps to spread cultural awareness within your company, and looks great from the perspective of a client or investor simply because your clients will be from a diverse background. Promoting a culturally diverse leadership also sends a message to lower level minority employees: glass ceilings do not exist in this company, and hard work and proper qualifications do pay off.
CULTURAL DIVERSITY TRAINING
Offering cultural training for new employees, and advanced cultural sensitivity training for manager positions, helps to guarantee and foster a culturally diverse atmosphere. Doing so helps teach employees to identity prejudices and misconceptions that may exist in their mind. It will teach them to respect other cultures, and promote compassion and understanding. This educational approach also fosters intercultural communication skills, and helps to create a more effective dialogue with employees who speak English as a second language.
Recognizing minority holidays is an emphatic method of promoting cultural awareness within your company. Make sure your human resource department incorporates holiday rewards similar to those for mainstream holidays. Be sure to offer the appropriate time off, and recognition of their culture’s holiday. Doing so will set your company apart, and build trust and loyalty among employees. Small things can have a big impact.
CONSIDER THE BENEFITS
Cultural diversity is created when all your employees understand and appreciate the numerous benefits of diversity in the workplace. A diverse culture brings new and innovative perspectives, offers fresh ideas, unique personalities, and different planning techniques. A diverse workforce garners mutual dignity and respect, and creates a public reputation of fairness and equality — which certainly will never hurt sales or investment!
THE BOTTOM LINE
It is a new world. Our world is a globally connected environment that demands a broad, and diverse workforce. This new world offers both the opportunity to prove your company is a modern, and culturally diverse place; but it also opens the doors of discrimination and the possibility of trapping minorities under glass ceilings. It can only help your bottom line to promote a culture of diversity, acceptance, and understanding within your company. By doing so, you will not only generate a stronger, more productive work force; but you will also give your company an excellent reputation among investors and customers.