We are living in an interconnected world fuelled by globalisation and technological advancements. As a result, the modern workplace is increasingly filled with modern teams that are undeniably diverse as well as inclusive and remote. In a post-COVID-19 world, this is the reality that many businesses are happy to experience.
About 69 per cent of U.S. businesses now allow a flexible workplace policy. The benefits of diversity and inclusion inside the organisation are more apparent than ever. From better problem solving, a better understanding of the customer base to increase overall performance, diverse teams are something every business strives for.
Diversity refers to a variety of diverse individuals within an organisation. Diversity is not just about gender, ethnicity, age but is also a mindset, personality, life experiences, etc.
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the definition of diversity can also be extended to the diverse ways of working as employees are offered flexibilities to work in their preferred ways, prominently remotely.
Inclusion refers to the extent to which diverse individuals truly feel a sense of belonging. Indications of workplace inclusion are the ability to express their opinions or participate in the decision-making processes freely.
Workplace diversity can enhance company culture and performance. It enables companies to access a broader range of talents whose world-views are diverse and positively contribute to the company's insights on a variety of subjects. Workplace diversity embraces different perspectives and leads to higher creativity and innovations.
Furthermore, workplace diversity promotes inclusion, thus making employees feel welcomed and included, which helps boost employee engagement and lower the turnover rate. The more the employees feel they are included, the higher the morale they gain. The sense of belonging, as a result, can enable businesses to obtain positive performance results, thus, enhancing collaboration and employee engagement.
Workplace diversity and inclusion provide a range of benefits for both the company and employees.
Companies that foster diversity and inclusion can attract more talented individuals that fit in well with the jobs and the company culture. People from different backgrounds can offer a wide selection of skills, talents, and experiences. Having a diverse and inclusive environment will benefit both the company and its employees by enabling employees to learn the skills from each other and bridge any skill gaps. Companies with higher diversity and inclusion in the workforce solve problems faster.
Working with people from different backgrounds, cultures, and life experiences will help stimulate creativity and enable them to think outside the box. After all, we are all born creative. Bouncing ideas off of each other and getting feedback and suggestions will help team members put the pieces together and build a magnificent, successful project.
Diversity also acts as a driver to global expansion success. Cultural and language differences can be problematic when a company wants to expand its business overseas. However, hiring employees who speak various languages will allow any company to communicate with a broader client base.
Companies that have a diverse workforce or have put effort into advocating diversity and inclusion are often seen as more humane and socially responsible. Ultimately, this makes brands look better, more sophisticated, and overall, more interesting.
Having a diverse and inclusive work environment does not imply employing individuals with different nationalities; it means harbouring a safe and positive community that welcomes everyone from any ethnicity, generation, skill level, and gender identity.
A diverse, open-minded, fair, and responsible workforce also fosters equal opportunities for all individuals and promotes zero tolerance for discrimination. Not only will this fairness attract higher quality talents, but it will also help ensure the emotional security of all employees.
Data from McKinsey research shows that diversified and inclusive companies not only can attract more talents but also perform better financially than their competitors.
And, if you add an excellent HR management that applies the best practices for an inclusive environment, you get the right work culture that supports creativity, cooperation, and unity. The environment that attracts people of skill, quality, and out-of-the-box solutions are the much-required remedy for troubling times.
Working remotely used to be an option for many. The pandemic came, and what looked like a temporary solution at first is becoming a long-term solution for businesses as (unsurprisingly) benefits may outweigh inconveniences.
Access to talent increased exponentially. When there is no pressure to fill expensive office space from Monday to Friday, where the applicant physically lives is no longer relevant.
This realisation makes building diverse teams more accessible since millions of people are gaining remote work skills, which means the pool of people to choose from is getting bigger every day.
International expansions can benefit from this state, as hiring local experts and people with specific skills or cultural experience is now the same as hiring anyone else. This change levelled the playing field for everyone. It is easier than ever to embrace diversity on every level.
Like with every change, there are opportunities and risks.
Although workplace diversity and inclusion exist under the new model of working from home, it still creates challenges in developing and maintaining company culture as well as building relationships. Fortune said that long distances highly promote people’s bias to favour people who are similar to them while reducing the chance for spontaneous communications between different people who may be around.
Moreover, some employees may have unequal access to opportunities and resources or essential tools for doing the jobs from homes, such as stable Internet connection or specific software, which creates differences that make it harder for them to feel included.
On the flip side, Harvard Business Review believed that working from home gives companies an advantage of retaining talented, especially highly motivated employees.
Despite offering countless benefits, fostering diversity and inclusion in the workplace do come with a handful of challenges. Here are common reasons why employers feel hesitant to embrace a multinational environment.
Although a diverse and inclusive workforce can lead to an increase in innovation, unique opinions and approaches to problem-solving, conflicts due to differences in perspectives also escalate at the same time.
Communication barriers are an obstacle that every international business faces and employees need more time to understand and cooperate. Even when people speak the same language, for instance, English, variations of colloquialisms and accents between American, British, and Australian English could potentially cause misunderstandings.
Whether you like it or not, stereotypes directed at specific groups of people happen. While working, instead of trying to communicate and understand each other, employees may use these stereotypes as an excuse for not collaborating with their co-workers.
What’s worse are grudges people hold against particular cultures, religions, and races. This would cause isolation and disjointed teams, which can quickly escalate to disruptions during the knowledge transfer process among employees.
People from minority groups could feel like they are unfairly treated compared to the major groups. Similarly, they might also think the manager is nicer to people with the same background.
This situation requires a sensible manager with strong leadership, EQ, and communication skills to manage a diverse team, make every member feel included, and align the team’s decisions with the business’ goals.
Building a global workforce is a complex, and not to mention, costly process. In some cases, organisations will sponsor the transfer of talents to different locations. The sponsorship could lead to endless administrative work and a (sizable) dedicated budget for accommodations and travel. Organisations need to establish guidelines for working visa arrangements plus employment policies and ensure they comply with local labour and immigration laws.
Cultural conflict is unhealthy and can significantly lower both the productivity and morale of employees. Diverse teams can lead to the long-term success of businesses. If disputes originated from cultural clashes cannot be resolved effectively, it would cause detrimental effects on employee satisfaction and the business's reputation, image, and more.
In the January Issue of Rewards, Recognition & Employee Engagement Excellence, the journal stated emotional safety is one of the pillars of an inclusive space, even online. It is essential to show every employee how their contribution matters, respect their voice and celebrate individualism as each member is unique. Treat everyone with fairness and equality.
Multiple practices can be adopted to help nurture a healthy digital culture. Nevertheless, an even more critical action is carefully listening to individuals. Without sufficient knowledge and evaluation of the ongoing struggle, any further steps towards inclusion may be disrupted. Every person is unique; therefore, the approach must be tailored to fit each specific case.
Creating an inclusive and diverse environment within an organisation revolves around the art of effective communications. Employees have to be proactive to engage in the team. Since working from home limits the opportunities for face-to-face communication, it fosters the use of telecommunications.
Having employees of different backgrounds allows a company to think in culturally diverse ways. However, it is mandatory that the means of sorting the ideas and issues be in unity.
People must be aware of other's perspectives towards the issues that are in discussion, and by welcoming different viewpoints, the company will have more fresh ideas while at the same time creating an environment where everyone feels connected and encouraged to contribute to the shared mission.
In a remote work environment, showing care to others is more challenging as there are few chances for in-person social interactions. One of the most common substitutes for a morning greeting in real life is an online gathering with the whole team. Team members should be encouraged to share and reflect on other's needs and expectations, thereby clearing out possible confusion and strengthen work relationships and performances.
Praises and good words are essential for promoting one-to-one relationships. Acknowledge employee's hard work with proper rewards can boost office culture and the sense of belongingness.
Everyone’s input should be considered valuable in different yet equally important ways and be acknowledged regardless of working circumstances. Suggestions for recognition in remote working are commendations via a personal email or a shout-out during an online meeting.
All your plans, including the diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) plan, must align with your company's values. Having the ultimate mission statement shows the commitment of your organisation towards the employees, allowing them to see the path that everyone is heading to and the goals they are trying to achieve.
After building a core statement, employers need to know who their employees are to tailor their plans appropriately. Captured information is valuable for both the DE&I and human resources planning, enabling employers to understand the staff better and timely address any needs and concerns.
There are many sources you can use to collect the data from your employees. However, most organisations might need to conduct some additional voluntary survey to acquire self-identification data, such as religion or sexual orientation. Please keep in mind that these demographics could not entirely represent every individual. Stereotypes are extremely harmful to your DE&I plan; hence, keep revising them throughout this whole journey.
Analysing data is the next crucial step to impose appropriate solutions. For instance, depending on the demographics information and proportions in each category, your result might yield no diversity in sexual orientation. It could be due to a trust-related issue in the workplace.
Establishing a sense of belonging is not just a psychological need; it is an essential factor for enhancing employees' engagement and productivity.
This could never be a one-size-fits-all curriculum to the diversity issue. Objectives in the strategic plan should relate to your employees, your customers and your community.
An employee-related goal could be to expand your recruitment to a more demographically diverse talent pool. The diversity could not happen in one day unless you give it an environment to gradually develop. However, the sense of connection is a long-term process, not just one-day training.
A customer-related objective could be to assess your customers' demographic information and train your staff to develop communication skills specific to your customers' needs. This requires internal and external teams to work together to create a consistent image for your company. Your employee base should be congruent to your customer base.
Last but not least is the community-related goal, e.g., contribute volunteer hours and funds to a local nonprofit organisation that serves a diverse segment of the population.
This step is where you go over the DE&I plan, answer questions, and acquire buy-in and support from all your employees. It is highly recommended to have a diverse committee to ensure the DE&I plan runs smoothly within the organisation and every member is heard. This committee could produce training and carry on conversations with employees.
Generally, each plan has an outcome, action, and people (or department) in charge. Try to think of specific actions and expected outcomes. You might want to break the action down into step-by-step instructions. This does not just help your employees know what you expect from them, but you can follow the plan better or make changes when needed.
Following the actions are the results. Set an expected outcome for your team so you can easily track them along the way. It is necessary to have a regular report from your employees about their activities as well as their satisfaction with the initiatives you made. Compare the results to your expected outcome and make any adjustments promptly. For example, ask yourself: did the training and/or change in recruitment policy work out? This will help you identify what slows down your plan.
DE&I plan is not static but rather an ongoing process that aims at meeting the workforce’s needs. Company culture and environment need to be nurtured over time with the contribution from all staff, leaders, managers, and even the newest recruits, not by one or two actions solely from the top management level.
Dynamic, diligent, diverse - these values define TRG’s Internship Program. Globalisation has been the catalyst of change for Vietnam’s labour force as well as economy and culture. We always put effort into giving all of our staff the best chance to experience those changes, thus, enhancing the diversity and inclusion at TRG.
When you first apply to a vacant position, you are required to undertake a psychometric assessment, which consists of behavioural questions that allow us to know more about you. We want to understand your identity, personality, and career interests in-depth to define your perfect place in our TRG teams. Do not worry about failing – this is just a warm-up questionnaire to get to know you better.
After having done the assessment, you will receive the result through an automatic email. It is a list of your characteristics based on your answers. There may even be things that you do not even know about yourself! This assessment also helps us to determine how well you can fit in with our teams. Therefore, you should be honest and cautious with every question.
Do you know that during some “peak time”, a team video call at TRG can have TRGers from Europe, Asia, Australasia, and Saudi Arabia simultaneously? At TRG, it is common to collaborate with members living in another timezone, sometimes even in the other hemisphere. Our interns are everywhere, uniting under this umbrella of TRG to bring out the most diverse workplace. Every name tells a different story, and we are here to listen and engage.
Click here to watch the Journey of an International Intern at TRG International.
Here at TRG, our culture includes you. We believe every member can make an outstanding impact on not only our teams but also our business. Your voice deserves to be heard. That is why we have many activities where you can voice your opinion.
A bi-weekly meeting between all Interns and TRG’s CEO – Mr. Rick Yvanovich, is hosted every two weeks. Interns can freely express their experiences working at TRG or any challenge that they have observed. What’s more, we have an open-door policy, which means that you can always contribute your ideas to improve our workplace and your journey with us at any time.
Every week, we also host a Vietnamese Culture Journey event where groups of Interns will share stories about Vietnam and their respective cultures.
You can always select your workplace and request our assistance when necessary. We have gone digital by utilising modern software such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, HubSpot… all of these applications help us to obtain insights and quickly get updates on the latest news of every TRGers, wherever you are.
We also organise online webinars three times a week and regular training workshops, which you can join at any time – or you can watch later on our Resources page. These activities ensure TRGers can stay agile to rapid changes during a crisis while also create an opportunity for you to sharpen your skills more.
Learn more about our TRG Talk: How to work from home efficiently and effectively?
Whether you are from the other side of the world, or in some city in Vietnam, TRG welcomes you always. Fostering diversity and inclusion in our workplace means encouraging our employees to be themselves, be different. We believe that everyone can contribute priceless values to TRG’s culture. Remember, our workplace culture starts with you.
To learn more about TRG’s recruitment process, check out our guide to successful internships here.
Ready to be a part of our team? Join our teams today!
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