Using cultural diversity to create real room for your employees
Cultural diversity in the workplace is a hotter topic than ever. We’ve always lived in a big wide world, with different people coming together to work for one company or organisation, but today the variety is compounded by a hybrid workplace.
There’s no such thing as one-size-fits-all (there never was), so you need to ensure that your business makes space for everyone… But: what do your employees actually need when it comes to cultural diversity? And what’s just “meh”?
For diversity and inclusion (D&I), be wise and familiarise.
The only way to truly know what your people need is to familiarise yourself with the different cultures represented in your organisation and to find out where you might be coming up short or nailing the brief when it comes to diversity and inclusion (D&I).
Only then can you start creating a warm, cosy, welcoming space for everyone. One that achieves more than fresh air, water in the cooler, milk in the fridge, and access to food, a canteen, or a restaurant (although these are obviously important).
What do people look for when it comes to cultural diversity?
When we say “make a space”, we mean it literally as well as metaphorically.
Cultural diversity and inclusion go beyond telling people that you accept and value them; you need to show them actual spaces in which they can be comfortable.
- Prayer rooms
- Feeding rooms
- Kid-friendly spaces, if appropriate
- Pet-friendly spaces, if appropriate
Before you panic, you don’t need Disney World Workplace (we made that up) to achieve cultural diversity. But it’s good to think about the various ways you can help employees to feel included, valued, and seen.
Cultural diversity has business value, beyond compliance.
According to Deloitte, there’s a direct correlation between economic growth and social progress, and to achieve one or the other, you need to balance both.
The same Deloitte research reveals organisations with a diverse workplace are:
- 6 x more likely to be innovative
- 6 x more likely to anticipate change
- 2 x more likely to meet or exceed financial targets
All because of diversity? YES, because:
- It enhances employee engagement.
- It increases innovation and agility.
- It improves customer service.
- It enhances recruitment.
- Put simply, it’s the right thing to do.
How to make diversity-centric spaces in your space
So let’s say you have the spaces and the buy-in. Next step? Consider cultural holidays and leave. Consider awareness and sensitivity. Consider having your people teach each other about themselves and each other.
You can start now. Here’s how:
1. Include cultural D&I in the business strategy.
Ensure that you align and embed your cultural D&I strategy into the overall company strategy. Detail how it influences the company’s value drivers and metrics, profits, employee engagement, and long-term plans to keep it top of mind.
2. Have a targeted, specific approach to D&I.
Evaluate all the necessities your employees need to be themselves at work while also being productive. For example, prayer rooms allow employees to pray in the vicinity instead of leaving the office for a few hours. Focus your available resources.
3. Evaluate your Employee Value Proposition (EVP).
To acquire (and retain) quality talent, you need to understand the needs, views, and “buying criteria” of the talent pool. This includes conducting market research into employee trends, beliefs, and changes. InteractRDT can help with this.
4. Get quantitative and qualitative data for D&I.
Data not only helps you to make informed decisions, but it’s also the best tool for trying to understand diversity and develop appropriate, effective solutions. Qualitative and quantitative data, when blended, can help you to know what your employees need, want, and feel – and decide what to do about it.
5. Some cultural diversity advice from the pros:
- Cultural diversity not only improves “comfortability” in the workplace but also boosts Employee Experience (EX).
- Include the entire company in your cultural diversity strategy to encourage teamwork, respectfulness, and acceptance.
- Try hosting different team-building events, each with a different cultural theme, for employees to learn more about other cultures.
- Ensure that your employees are happy with their physical working environments: cleanliness, refreshment, air, warmth/cooling, etc.
- Finally, get InteractRDT in to help with the research, because we can unveil the true potential of EX when it comes to authentic cultural diversity.