According to Pew Research Center, in 35 years there will no longer be one single dominant race or ethnic majority. The population will be so diverse that leadership will need to adjust accordingly in order to successfully manage diversity in the workforce. But what does it truly take for leaders to create value out of diversity? How does diversity affect your ability to lead?
What exactly is diversity in the workplace?
Having a diverse workplace means that there is a variety of differences between individuals in an organisation. This includes diversity in race, gender, ethnic groups, age, religion, sexual orientation, citizenship status, and even mental and physical conditions. A diverse workplace accepts each individual as unique and different and makes everyone feel included and accepted.
Advantage of a diverse workplace
Having people from different backgrounds and experiences in life will help drive innovation within an organisation. Each person in the organisation can bring something new to the table and offer a fresh perspective on things. It also helps the organisation to understand its target demographics better and interact effectively with a diverse clientele and public.
Challenge of a diverse workplace
On the other hand, having a diverse workplace can also prove challenging and may hamper the organisation’s growth. If everyone insists on their own thinking or idea, a consensus will never be reached and thus will be detrimental to the growth of the company. Additionally, if employees will not be sensitive and respect the cultural differences of other employees or their clientele, it will be detrimental to their working relationships.
How to manage a diverse workplace
Even though having a diverse workplace will have its challenges, there are things that a leader can do to ensure that it is managed effectively:
- – Value communication: Because everyone may communicate differently, it is important to have one main channel of communication. This will be the one main source of truth for policies, procedures, safety rules, and any company-wide announcements.
- – Teach about diversity: Educate your employees about other cultures and how to treat each one as an individual. Often, racism is a product of ignorance. Make it fun and interactive by having an employee share something about her background and culture during company meetings.
- – Stick to standards: It is important that your employees understand the set standards in your organisation. If they feel that one employee receives preferential treatment because of his background, then it will be the start of a management problem. Non-discrimination policy should be strictly enforced.
- – Include sensitivity training for new hires: Having such training will help employees examine and adjust their perspectives about people from different backgrounds. It will help them understand other people in the workplace and enable them to work harmoniously. This will also help resolve conflicts in the workplace quickly.
- – Be abreast on diversity laws: Depending on where you live, your local government will have diversity laws that are designed to protect everyone from abuse or discrimination. Leaders should be abreast and well-updated on these legislatures to ensure that the workplace they manage adheres to these guidelines.
Do you need someone to help you become a more effective leader in a diverse workplace? Then, get in touch with me today.