So! A Sikh, atheist, Buddhist and Christian walk into an office. What happens next is up to you. How do you possibly manage employees who all have different backgrounds, religion, accents and beliefs? What happens when a diverse group of people are trapped in the same room for 8 hours + a day? How would you deal with uncomfortable clashes?
1.Get to know your staff
To effectively manage a diverse workforce, you need to understand their individual motivations, goals, backgrounds and reasons behind their practices. One of the best ways to get to know your staff (and to help them get to know each other) is to organise a social event (see the end of our article for our top suggestions). Create an opportunity; a space and time for staff to get to know each other not just as workers, but as people.
2. Learn about cultural nuances
Italians don’t drink cappuccinos after breakfast. The Japanese language does not contain innuendos. British people love to queue. Knowing and understanding the signature styles of a culture can help to overcome awkward moments and unfortunate misunderstanding. Have a good Google of the cultural norms of each of your staff members. Better still, play a game where you share the funniest nuances about your culture with each other.
3. Take complaints seriously
Discrimination: “treating a person or group of people differently, especially in a worse way from the way in which you treat other people.”
Any complaints should be dealt with sensitively and with immediate effect. Have a gentle reminder of your zero tolerance to discrimination posted somewhere within your
office building. It reinforces that any discriminative actions against staff is completely unacceptable.
Being sensitive to other cultures is not the same as avoiding the topic. It is about embracing, celebrating and discussing the norms and values of your employees in a way that makes the person feel comfortable. Being sensitive is about accepting that other people do things differently. And do you know what? That’s totally okay!
1. Name one interesting fact about your culture
2. Pick something out of your bag and share with the group why it’s important to you
3. Name one person, past or present, you admire and explain why
4. What’s the weirdest thing about the UK?
5. What are one truth and one lie about you? Let the others guess which is true/lie