Dealing with Diversity in the Workplace

The saying ‘variety is the spice of life’ is never more true than when it comes to diversity in the workplace. Diversity, particularly in this area, can make for a highly-skilled and multi-talented team. The unification of a diverse collection of people, all working together for the same result can accelerate an organisation far ahead of its competitors.

Diversity, by its very nature, is always going to be something that requires special attention and care. Too often, the emphasis is placed on getting the job done and done quickly, without considering the importance of diversity within the team. This can quickly make for an unhappy workforce, that feel that they are supposed to all be the same as one another and should not stand out from the crowd.

Handling diversity in the workplace entails a greater understanding of those people around you that seem so very different. Successfully dealing with diversity requires empathy, patience, compassion and education.  When successfully handled, the end result can be a happy, productive and fully unified team.

 Potential Obstacles

Whenever there are differences in personality, beliefs, world-views, etc. there is potential for fall-out. It’s a natural reaction to the unknown. It is the way diversity is dealt with that will mean that any combustion is avoided or invited.

The very concept of diversity needs to be both understood and respected. This often takes some outside assistance, as all parties involved will need to be actively encouraged to gain that mutual understanding and appreciation.

Initiating an open dialogue early on can help facilitate the mutual respect and understanding needed for a harmonious and diverse team. Speaking freely and openly can encourage friendly exploration of the differences within a workforce. Team members who are encouraged to explain their backgrounds, views and beliefs will feel more respected and able to comfortably ask others about where they are from. When everyone in a team is aware of these aspects of their fellow employees, it enables mutual respect, which is crucial in dealing with diversity at work. Once mutual respect is present, working towards that common goal will very effectively bring this diverse collection of people together.

Relocation and Diversity

Diversity and knowing how to deal with it is an important step when moving to a new country and should form part of the preparation when relocating. Knowing what to expect and how best to handle it can make all the difference when it comes to how long it takes to get settled and comfortable in a new role or a new company.

Embracing diversity and creating a harmonious workforce comprising individuals of different backgrounds, experiences, knowledge and understanding can result in a team better positioned to solve problems and implement successful strategies. Knowing how to bring these individuals together is the key to creating that harmonious team.

6 thoughts on “Dealing with Diversity in the Workplace

  1. I believe that dealing with diversity in the workplace is a two way street. The transferee must do their research in advance so that they are able to fit into the already existing workplace dynamic. As well the company and companies employees need to be understanding and patient when interacting with people of different backgrounds. Just tolerating our differences isn’t enough, celebrating what makes each of us unique is what creates a positive working environment.

  2. I absolutely agree. Adequate management in a multicultural-working environment is required to obtain positive results. Diversity enriches team members and can help them grow as human beings. I am from South America but I studied and worked in the UK for 26 years. I think I learned a lot over there, especially to respect and accept people as they are. Working with people from diverse backgrounds, different languages just made me grow and feel one with them. I was lucky I could speak English from the start. It was an amazing experience to learn from each other, putting away prejudices and trying to reach the same goal. However, not everybody was prepared to see diversity this way. Education, travelling, an open mind are therefore, important to ovecome any prejudice that may be at sight.

    • Hi Maritza,

      Thanks for sharing your experience. It’s true, not everyone finds it as easy to embrace diversity as others and in these cases, as you rightly say, encouraging that open mind and nurturing interest in others with things like education is critical. Did you encounter any adverse encounters personally?

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