Diversity is a hot topic. With the world becoming increasingly globalised, the talent pool spans a greater geographical area. Also, as more companies recognise the importance of inclusiveness, we are seeing a workplace which is starting to demand more balance with diversity and inclusion becoming the norm.
Its taken a while to get to this place with many people, whether due to ethnicity, religion, gender or disability, encountering a power struggle filled with challenges to get to where they are today. Their determination has helped pave the way for others.
I have been incredibly lucky in my career as I have not personally encountered any bias towards me for any reason – and I have worked in the male-dominated sectors of agriculture and engineering. These sectors seem to be gender agnostic. If anything, the men I have worked with have been very protective of me. However, my situation doesn’t mean I don’t understand how hard discrimination can be – and being a victim of prejudice or harassment for any reason and on any level is unacceptable.
We all need to help create an environment that is truly diverse and inclusive, which is not easy. It requires dedicated time and investment from both employers and employees.
However, if implemented correctly, the benefits of a diverse and inclusive work culture and talent pool are considerable.
Not only are organisations able to enjoy higher staff retention and engagement, but they’ll also start to reap the benefits of creativity and the multitude of ideas that naturally come with employing a diverse team.
To establish and embed diversity in the workplace, companies in Asia need to:
- Create a safe environment and culture with open channels that support diversity
- Develop an inclusive approach to hiring that looks beyond standard qualifications and establishes clear diversity goals
- Build greater ownership among employees to champion their cause and encourage leaders to lead by example
- Engage the community with events and interest groups and proactively support the growth and development of minority communities
So, whether we have personally experienced bias or prejudice first hand or not, we should all be working together to increase understanding and tolerance in the workplace. A complex and challenging subject, as everyone has subconscious bias on some level, its essential that companies and employees work together to position diversity as a key competitive strength.