Who benefits from cultural diversity?

As human beings, the need for a sense of belonging, is a natural feeling. Abraham Maslow, an American psychologist, came up with the famous Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. It theorises that it is critical to fulfil human needs from the basic, physiological ones, going up to the next levels, and culminating to higher levels of self-actualisation. The sense of belonging is part of our psychological and social needs, along with giving and receiving love, building friendships and interpersonal relationships, and creating connections.

But while we build and create those relationships and connections, we also discover each other’s differences, since we come from different backgrounds, beliefs, and cultures. While it has become a great experience learning about other people’s preferences, upbringing, and unique customs, at times it becomes a source of conflict or discord. Working with people belonging to a diverse set of cultures, habits and peculiarities can prove to be a valuable advantage to understanding and celebrating these differences.

This is the Future: A Diverse Workplace

Cultural diversity shows the preferences and habits that are unique to each culture or country. Cultural diversity in the workplace has been increasing in many countries, especially in those where it has become a melting pot of different peoples. Aside from that, the time in which we live right now possesses a generation that calls out for for diversity and equality. These disparate cultures and personalities have brought with them their own quirks and beliefs. Diversity in demography, physical health dispositions, psychological tendencies, religious beliefs – are just some of the elements that have spelled the differences among people in a group.

Putting together and including people coming from diverse cultures can increase engagement and elevate team and individual morale. Linking together diversity benefits the organisation by learning from how other cultures approach things, resolve issues, handle challenges. It provides a wide array of approaches or sources of experiences from across the organisation. Diversity also helps employees to be more adaptable, knowing how to adjust better with people of different cultures and backgrounds. It improves the way we interact and communicate, as well as gain deeper understanding on why others act, speak or think the way they do. It will reduce, if not eradicate, prejudices and misconceptions about other cultures and an individual’s uniqueness.

Diversity also creates fairness by providing opportunities despite divergence and disparity. It pushes for equality to offer employment, promotion or even decision-making in the workplace. Advocating cultural diversity will strengthen a sense of belongingness, retain a heterogeneous pool of talents, and ensure sustainably high engagement. Making people feel accepted and not discriminated against despite cultural differences, inspires, motivates and leads to high productivity.

Championing Diversity as a Cultural Transformation

Embedding diversity in the workplace will form part of a cultural transformation within the organisation. Intentionally looking into a diverse pool of talents from disparate backgrounds during recruitment will be the first major step to take. Championing diversity in the workplace will have to come from the top – top management, such as the CEO, has to role model that they advocate and push for diversity in the organisation. As such, it will ripple through and encourage the entire organisation to promote and respect diversity.

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

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