5 Red Flags: Recognising Discrimination in the Workplace

The Carrie Benedet Leadership Coaching team firmly advocates building diverse and multicultural workplaces and championing the talents of diverse employees. We believe that inclusive organisations are the best at nurturing creativity and productivity among their staff, and these types of organisations can lead their home industries in abetting positive change.

In contrast, monoculturalism and lack of inclusivity could indicate a toxic workplace culture. In these workplaces, where positive ideals are not part of the culture, people do not grow to their full potential. If you want to thrive in an organisation that affords you and your colleagues equal respect—regardless of your gender, physical ability, ethnicity, religion, or cultural background—pledge your loyalty to one that practises what it preaches in terms of inclusivity and cultural diversity. Conversely, watch out for the following red flags that signal discrimination and an unequal playing field:

Discriminatory Selection Criteria for Recruitment

Sometimes, discrimination in the workplace happens as early as the recruitment process. In these instances, potential candidates can be screened using exclusionary job criteria, such as advertising only men for programming, engineering, or IT jobs.

Does the organisation recruitment process tend to favour candidates with a particular profile? Does its current labour force seem too homogenous? If so, there is a need for the company recruitment process to change for the better.

Perpetuation of Stereotypes

Another red flag is a workplace culture that perpetuates stereotypes about gender identities, ethnicities, health conditions, or cultural backgrounds. It should be cause for alarm, for example, if people believe that employees of a particular nationality are only good at certain types of work.

Whether such beliefs manifest themselves as jokes or as genuine conditions for fulfilling work requirements, no organisation should let harmful stereotypes go unaddressed. Anyone in a position to lead, should help employees dispel such notions about each other.

Exclusionary Infrastructure and Limited Protections for Employees

Discrimination may also be evident in the lack of support infrastructure or protections for employees who do not fit the so-called norm. For instance, in assuming that most of its employees are able-bodied, a workplace may not have sufficient provisions for its disabled or neurodivergent employees to get around the office or work comfortably.

Another pertinent example is a workplace whose dress code prohibits garments of religious or cultural significance, even if wearing these does nothing to hinder the employee from doing their work. Watch out for exclusionary infrastructure and protocols, as these are clear red flags for workplace culture.

No Leadership Opportunities for People of Diverse Backgrounds

Leadership matters in any organisation as employees pay attention to the people who are supposed to serve as their role models. But if only one type of person from a particular race or sociocultural background is fit to lead the organisation, it sends a discouraging message to everyone else.

To see whether an organisation is inclusive, examine the people it regards as leaders or decision-makers. Consider it a red flag if the top brass all seems to come from one race or background. It may mean that people of other backgrounds have difficulty securing leadership opportunities, despite having the same chances to contribute value to the organisation.

Absence of Regular Training Opportunities to Build a More Inclusive Workplace

Nurturing inclusivity and cultural diversity within an organisation require constant work. Given how dynamic the global economy is, the standard for what constitutes a truly inclusive and diverse workplace is always changing. Rather than depend on the knowledge and practices it currently has, an organisation must be willing to evolve and continuously improve its way of doing things. As far as inclusivity and cultural diversity are concerned, this should manifest in the form of training and upskilling opportunities for managers and employees.

Beware a company that is settled in its ways or a company that assumes that it is diverse enough as it is. Without a willingness to learn about the world outside its walls, or about the new ways it can engage its next generation of employees, an organisation can only do so much to realise its promise of being inclusive and diverse.

Leadership Coaching with Carrie Benedet: Let’s Work Together to Build Diverse, Inclusive Workplace Cultures

Global leadership coach Carrie Benedet has been training leaders from various nationalities and walks of life for many years. In our team, part of our vision for maximising workplace growth and potential is harnessing the power of inclusivity and cultural diversity.

Want to contribute to a workplace culture that will be known for its “green flags”? Work with Carrie Benedet today to learn how to nurture global talent, cultivate synergy within a diverse team, and build an organisation that people from different backgrounds will be proud to work for.

To know more about championing and advocating cultural diversity in the workplace, Reach out to Carrie Benedet here.

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