The cosmopolitan city of Dubai is made up of a diverse group of ethnic cultures. While culture and heritage plays a large role in employee diversity, additional points of difference include gender, age, personality types, and cognitive ability. Points of cultural difference between employees are oftentimes viewed in a challenging light; however, these challenges can be utilized to full advantage and embraced as a benefit towards increased productivity, acquiring new languages, enlightened cultural understanding, and an opportunity to solve difficult problems in a new manner.
Urbanization paved the way towards the fundamental need to employ a multicultural team. In the UAE, a diverse workforce has led to substantial increased financial development. Research figures unveil that companies who include mixed cultures in their workforce are 35% more likely to show fiscal returns that are over and above national industry averages. Success however, is determined by the strategic approach by which the company opts to integrate cultural diversity.
Common cultural integration challenges include:
#1 Mutual respect and attitude
In order to create effective communication between employees from various backgrounds and career levels, a sense of individuality needs to be fostered in the workplace. Mutual respect for one another’s differences needs to be established that is respectful of all genders, ethnic backgrounds, cultural practices and lifestyle. From top tier to bottom tier in employee hierarchy, the communication method needs to be implemented for optimal success.
Our natural inclination is to be resistant to change. One of the biggest reasons why employees resist change in the workplace is due to poor management of change. While some employees are more open to change, others are highly resistant. A good tip is to focus on maintaining open communication channels with all employees in order to prepare them for future developments. In this way, there will be no surprises, and employees will be fully prepared for company adjustments.
#3 Implement a diverse workplace policy
Managers and HR professionals are often times most challenged by the implementation of diversity workplace policies. However, individual employee assessments, adequate data analysis and research data can provide comprehensive understanding into cultural intelligence difficulties that management may endure.
In today’s modern society, HR professionals and senior management are required to embrace cultural diversity and offer innovation methodologies that embrace cultural differences between employees, thus creating an effective and solution driven workforce.
Here are a few top solutions to improving cultural diversity in the workplace:
#1 The power of inclusion
Engaging employees at all levels on of the best methods utilized. It is best to approach cultural diversity from both a top-down and bottom-up strategy whereby all employees are engaged and benefit one way or another.
#2 Adopt an open-door policy
Encourage employees to interact with one another through a variety of activities within the organization. By allowing employees to feel comfortable expressing their opinions freely, a positive and inspirational corporate attitude is developed.
#3 Include cultural development exercises
Host regular in-house workshops that stimulate cultural understanding. Employees will be provided an opportunity for personal growth and improved employee relations with management and fellow colleagues.
#4 Request feedback
By conducting employee surveys, management will gain valuable understanding of employee expectations which allows leadership to be fully equipped to develop strategic advancements within the company.
Empowering employees and open communication channels have been linked with the top two success factors within the UAE’s work space. By developing a positive corporate attitude and encouraging mutual respect across a wide spectrum of cultures, it is proven that businesses goals will sooner be reached.
Danielle Suchley is the Managing Director of Blue Sky Thinking Group, a Dubai based holding company which includes Safe Hands, a first aid company; Finsbury Associates, a wealth management company and Beneple, an HR & corporate insurance business.
Danielle has 13 years leadership experience managing businesses across the finance, insurance, tech and wellness space. For 2 years running, she has been recognised by International Adviser as one of the Top 100 influential people globally within the Financial Services space.