How to Manage a Diverse Team for Maximum Productivity
| By TMA World
The Benefits of a Diverse Workforce
In this era of technology and globalization, our organizations are becoming increasingly diverse. Employing a diverse mix of people across a range of gender, age and cultural backgrounds will bring you several benefits, including:
- Increased productivity
- Improved creativity
- Increased profits
- Improved employee engagement
- Reduced employee turnover
- Improved company reputation
- Wider range of skills
- Improves cultural insights
Diversity has an especially positive impact on complex companies – those that have multiple product lines or that operate in multiple industry segments. Complex companies face so many risks they cannot afford to be tied to a single source of revenue or have a management team with members sharing the same background. Similarity in background results in less than optimal decision-making.
A diversity of backgrounds can be a competitive advantage as stated above, but only when employees are armed with the right tools to understand how to overcome differences. At TMA World we focus specifically on how to manage cultural differences through workshops and cross cultural training, delivered through our online tool, Country Navigator. Our training enables allows global leaders, managers and individuals to understand and leverage cultural differences, creating more productivity and breakthrough collaboration.
Strategies for Managing Diverse Teams
The best way to achieve a productive and diverse environment is not just leadership by example but with the use of specific strategies, here’s our advice on how to create a highly productive and engaged diverse team:
1. Establish small teams that will get new employees actively involved and fully integrated into the company's culture. The introduction to a company's culture may happen naturally, but it's better to intentionally create open communication lines from the outset so issues can be addressed.
2. Practice mentorship and team coaching to encourage retention and focus on long-term career goals. Discuss opportunities for advancement and growth offered by the firm. Remember the initial point for any good mentoring program starts with two important questions: What is the reason you are starting the program? What does success look like for the company and the participants?
3. Create learning and development programs that focus on building relationships and skills. Reward employees based on performance. According to the Human Resources Council, "Employee training is the responsibility of the organization. The responsibility of management is to provide the right resources and an environment that supports the growth and development needs of the individual employee."
4. Schedule activities outside of work that encourage communication and fun interactions. Promote healthy relationships and friendships among colleagues through social or community involvements.
5. Get employees' participation in hiring new talents and ask for referrals. Partner with schools to introduce the company's culture, help young people build self-esteem, and educate on the benefits of diversity. Many universities, colleges and even high schools welcome this type interaction with the corporate sector. It shows not only business leadership but social responsibility also.
6. Provide diversity training to make employees more aware of what constitutes a diverse workplace. Demonstrate how each can contribute to help in the company's success. If you are not convinced of training value in this area, consider the following three points as highlighted in a study by NCRVE UC Berkeley.
a. "Managers become more effective because they can provide suitable job assignments and at the same time they can evaluate employees properly.
b. "Second, employees also gain benefits. As their motivation and morale increases, they become more satisfied with their work. They can also have access to better mentoring and coaching. In addition, they are more committed to their professional growth because performance becomes the criterion for success.
c. "Finally, the organization and its environment will improve. The workforce becomes more loyal to the organization because employees develop a sense of ownership."
7. Make communication lines accessible across different generations (traditionalists, baby boomers, generations X, Y and Z) within a workplace. Use current technology to encourage participation and informality. An article from Harvard Business Review called "Managing People from 5 Generations" notes: "For the first time in history, five generations will soon be working side by side. But whether this multi-generational workplace feels satisfied and productive is, in large part, up to you: the leader."
8. Develop company policies aligned with government laws on equal employment opportunity. Set a team that will focus on diversity policy implementation to ratify across-the-board changes. There are convenient online resources to familiarize you and your team on this topic. For example, one such source is “Laws Enforced by EEOC.”
9. Celebrate important events such as International Day to End Racism, Gay Pride celebrations in June, International Day of Person with Disabilities, and International Women's Day every March. Establish a calendar to follow for the relevant groups in your company. Doing this shows leadership and commitment that you value and recognize diversity.
Workplace diversity is unavoidable. In spite of the challenges it may impose, managing diversity in the workplace should be everyone's business. When working properly, diversity will provide improvements to the bottom line if supported by executive leadership and management.
Diversity can also contribute to the company's development by allowing this collective knowledge or fresh perspectives to drive innovations of products, methods, and systems. Begin with making small attempts because no matter how minor; the impact will prove to be profound in the long run.