The Importance of Cultural Diversity in the Workplace - by Faiza Zameer

Customs, social behaviour, and ideas of a particular group of people or society which have been created over a long time are called culture. It is the art, traditions, achievements, languages, and values of social groups which are passed down from generation to generation.

Cultural diversity is created in the workplace by organizations employing individuals of varying gender, religion, race, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, education, abilities, and other attributes.

Workplace diversity means respecting and valuing the skills and differences that each employee brings into the workplace. A workplace that supports multiculturalism is an inclusive environment that provides equal rights and opportunities for all workers, regardless of gender, colour, age, ethnicity, physical ability, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, and so on. In other words, it means accepting and including employees of all backgrounds.

A diverse workplace should be able to acknowledge the individual strengths of each employee and the potential they bring. Valuing the differences of others is what eventually brings us all together and can be the secret to a successful, thriving workplace and a fair work culture which ultimately becomes an asset.

Several people are prejudiced in the manner they view things around themselves due to deeply held values and beliefs which may render them insensitive to the values of other cultures.

To reap the benefits of cultural diversity and to make it a reality, people from different parts of the society need to come together and support it, which includes people like politicians, business leaders, and teachers. There are many ways that people can and support multiculturalism because accepting each other's values is what will incur love for humanity.

First and foremost, people must recognize and respect other cultures which include celebrations, traditions, beliefs, etc. This is why we need to express ourselves, observe and get into contact with the cultures around us. One of the best ways of learning about new cultures is encouraging each other to attend cultural festivals and events in order to learn about music, food, and art. Another way is to read books or watch movies from other cultures. People should also make efforts to normalize accepting values and traditions from around the globe. An interesting and enjoyable way to become familiar with different cultures is travelling and experiencing it first-hand.

It is very important to stand against cultural discrimination and to be aware of how societies often force people to assimilate. While learning, it is also important for people to encourage other individuals around themselves to learn about other cultures.

Since the world is becoming a global community and societies are increasingly connected, embracing multiculturalism in the workplace is important for businesses that have an international presence. Hiring a diverse workforce can be extremely beneficial as individuals from different backgrounds with different languages can bring diverse skills which means access to a wider and varied talent pool with more innovative employees which will, in turn, benefit an organization.

You may not believe me when I state that cultural diversity holds immense importance for the economy.

In an organization where there are employees of different cultures and backgrounds. It means they will have different characteristics, skills, and experiences. Due to varied perspectives, different thoughts, and ideas, the work will show increased creativity. Having a variety of different perspectives will result in a more varied and creative approach to solving various problems which are highly beneficial when it comes to planning and executing a business strategy.

Having employees belonging to a diverse range of cultures is advantageous for an organization especially if it operates globally. Considering a very small aspect here, if an organization does business with another organization in Italy, an employee who can communicate in Italian will turn out to be an asset.

When customers see that a company believes in multiculturalism, they are able to relate to that company in a far better way. This can be done through marketing for example; the advertisements can show people of various gender, religion, race, age, ethnicity, education, abilities.

In an organization that believes in cultural diversity, employees feel more included and accepted as compared to organizations that are not multicultural. An organization that is open to hiring employees belonging to different backgrounds will attract a wider range of candidates who desire to work in a progressive environment. In this way, they will also attract the best talent.

Organizations that believe in a diverse workforce enjoy a good reputation and the general impression among employees, customers, business partners, and society is that they are socially responsible. This is done by understanding the differences in ethics, beliefs, values, and attitudes of different individuals and developing cultural awareness, and hiring the best employees regardless of these differences.

Organizations can create a diverse corporate and personal culture that is inclusive and everyone feels like they belong there and eventually sets themselves up for success.

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