Tips to create a diverse and inclusive workplace culture

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June is internationally recognised as Global Pride Month. But beyond rainbow coloured designs and virtual festivals to celebrate the LGBTQ movement, it is also a reminder to embrace diversity in the workplace.

There are several benefits to cultivating an inclusive, healthy workplace culture such as different perspectives to generate new ideas. Keep reading to find out how your team can discover and nurture new talent for a more diverse and inclusive workplace culture.

Implement fair hiring and evaluation processes

Discovering new talent starts with recruitment and giving candidates a fair chance regardless of their gender, race, ethnicity, and religion.

One way to achieve fairness at the interview stage is to ensure that the key hiring team is diverse. Alternatively, consider using an AI recruitment tool to remove human biases at this stage.

Also, it may be time to evaluate the onboarding training that new employees receive to ensure that they are well integrated into the organisation with clearly defined role expectations and fair practices.

Such recruitment protocols ensure that employees are introduced into the organisation’s mandate on fair inclusion from day one.

Empathetic leadership which prioritises trust

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Studies have found that empathetic leadership has a direct impact on employee productivity, loyalty, and engagement.

Empathetic leaders tend to intuitively pick up on your employees’ emotions, understand their perspectives, and take appropriate actions to make their team members feel accepted and validated.

Unlike traditional leadership styles which adopt a command-and-control protocol that alienates employees and stifles creativity, a leader with an empathetic nature can connect with employees.

Managers who trust their team can foster safe spaces for employees to perform their responsibilities. In turn, employees will feel more secure and motivated in their role.

Essentially, as people are becoming more educated and mindful of their self-worth, they want to be valued for more than just a paycheck.

Especially during a crisis, employees not only look towards their leaders for directions but also for assurance and confidence, which only an empathetic leader can provide.

Support and celebrate employees differences

In Singapore, most organisations exercise respect and tolerance for cultural and religious differences. Here are a few tips to make your employees feel more valued regardless of their background:

  • Offer floating holidays for employees from different religions or minority backgrounds that are not on the official public holiday calendar. While businesses already observe national public holidays, allowing employees the flexibility to take a day off on days that are important for their cultural background can certainly help them feel more appreciated.
  • Plan virtual group lunches to allow employees from different backgrounds to share their cultural practices. Such events can help to bridge differences and encourage more personal interaction between employees.
  • Highlight special dates from all cultures represented in the workplace through company newsletters or food items related to the festival.

Here are some ideas that you may want to consider:

Gift ideas for different cultural and religious events

Cultural and Religious Events Gift Idea Cost
Chinese – Lantern Festival Disposable Chinese lantern $14.39 for 12 pieces from Lazada
Indian - Diwali Colourful clay diya $9.49 for set of four from Lazada
Malay – Hari Raya Hari Raya cookies $13.99 for two tubs from Qoo10
Irish – St Patrick’s Day Plush Elf Decoration $3.01 from Shopee
French – Bastille Day Macarons $2.50 to $56 from Macarons sg

ALSO READ: Singapore is 2nd-worst globally for workplace diversity; 1 in 4 workers bullied: Poll

Nurture talent to go beyond what is asked of them

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Embracing diversity often means that employees have to go beyond the standard protocol to embrace the deeper meaning of their roles.

Much like what Starbucks did in 2018 when the coffee chain in North America closed 8,000 stores for racial bias training that cost the company an estimated $26 million, the intention goes beyond establishing standard work processes to address unconscious bias issues.

Investing in training and nurturing allows employees to open up to more diverse views and ways of managing their work, hence cultivating a cohesive workplace that is characterised by harmony, productivity, and efficiency.

Of course, not every organisation has the budget to spend millions on training and development. Organising monthly workshops or wellness programmes that address gender identity, mental health, and common stereotypes can be just as effective.

Mindful communication and inclusion

Mindful communication is the key to bridging any gaps in inclusion. Consider getting a third-party perspective or employee feedback on how you can improve communication during team meetings.

If someone brings a unique idea to the table, offering recognition can motivate others to participate more openly in the future.

Remember that exclusionary practices can often lead to lower productivity and can also affect problem-solving capabilities. As such, taking a deliberate effort to be an inclusive communicator, rather than playing favourites, is a necessary step to help the workplace thrive.

Building a more inclusive workplace

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Creating a diverse and inclusive workplace culture that makes your team members feel valued and understood is essential to improve workplace culture.

While you may need to invest some effort and finances into developing a system that works, the result will be well worth the time. If you need some funds to get the process started, here are some of the best SME loans and SME credit cards for your business.

ALSO READ: Your colleague spreading rumours about you? Here's how to deal workplace bullying

This article was first published in ValueChampion.