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Workplace Diversity: An Easy Way to Get Employees to Value Cultural Differences and Get Along Better

April 17, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 186

Workplace diversity is a fact of life. There aren't too many places left where there is only one culture represented in the workplace - at least not here in the United States. Most employers want to help their employees get along with each other and derive the benefits from the diverse population at work.

Are you valuing cultural diversity in the workplace?

Each of us has a heritage with some group which should be honored and passed down. That heritage shapes who we are and how we do things.

Since a heritage is something a person is born into, it does not qualify as an accomplishment anymore than having blue eyes or red hair does. That being the case, how can anyone say that one culture is "better" than another? And yet, it happens in subtle ways all the time in the workplace.

Perhaps it doesn't show up as a blatant - "my way is better than yours" - but it can cause an unwillingness to consider alternatives. A failure to consider alternatives kills creativity - a much-needed ingredient for anything.

If you can see culturally different people as individuals and not as a race, ethnicity, or culture, you realize they are human like you, only with different skin tones, habits, or ways of doing things. What's more, once you can relate to people who are different from you, it is easier to overcome the barriers in communications that sometimes arise from cultural differences.

Food for Thought: Getting employees to understand to each other

The most important way to foster understanding is to plan activities that will get people talking to each other in an informal atmosphere. Get your employees talking to each other about their cultures by organizing "cultural" pot-luck lunches where employees bring in ethnic foods and share recipes.

At your lunch employees from different cultures can share photos and tell stories about their lives. You can even have a separate lunch for each culture represented at your workplace. Eating and sharing information about different cultures leads to understanding, acceptance, and friendship.

The benefits of workplace diversity

Diversity in the workplace adds new ideas and creates an exciting and interesting atmosphere. Because people from different cultures come to the workplace with different perspectives, they can add to innovation, problem solving, and creativity in a way that a "same culture" workplace cannot. Therefore, cultural diversity should be celebrated, not just tolerated.

Helping your employees value each others' differences will make your employees more accepting, your workplace atmosphere less stressful, and everyone will get along better. In addition, making the effort to create good employee relationships in a diverse workplace will help make you a better workplace leader.

Q. How effective are you as a workplace leader?

Find out by taking our free leadership quiz. It will reveal how you are doing in several essential leadership areas. It will also help you improve employee attitudes, skills, and productivity.

I invite you to get instant access to your free Leadership Quiz at:

How happy are your employees? Find out with our free Employee Morale Assessment. I also invite you to get it at:

Written by Harriet Meyerson, founder of The Confidence Center. Harriet works with companies that want to raise employee morale and with HR Managers, supervisors and executives who want to improve employee confidence and productivity.

Copyright: Harriet Meyerson You may print this article in your not-for-profit newsletter, magazine, or web site if you print the entire article and resource information.

Source: EzineArticles
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Article Tags:

Workplace Diversity


Diversity Programs




Employee Relationships


Cultural Communications

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