In recent years, Middle Eastern businesses have kept pace with changes that have swept across the region, trading in traditional approaches of the past in favor of a more modern view that embraces global interconnectedness, cultural diversity and inclusion.
A diversified workforce includes people with varied backgrounds, such as religion, culture, language, educational backgrounds, skills and abilities, and identification.
When you put a individuals of varied backgrounds together in the same room, you will get different perspectives and opinions that will increase productivity, creativity, innovation, increase revenue, reduce employee turnover and eliminate the fallout of miscommunication over different business etiquettes. Studies have shown that the increase in productivity and revenue has been explosive in well-managed diverse teams.
The key phrase in this is managing “a successful, diverse workplace.” Most business fail to deal with a diverse work group in a way that enhances their productivity, but employ a “cookie cutter” approach where they measure diversity through simply their hiring strategy. To increase the productivity of a diverse workforce, you have to deal with them with a certain skill set geared toward diversity.
Several Middle Eastern businesses have embraced these inclusionary approaches and practices, developing skilled and sensitive leadership to promote cultural diversity and inclusion, and worked diligently to created a better workplace for everyone, where talent and team work are the main drivers of the company.
To attract talent, you must be an authentic, approachable, empathetic and engaging leader.
The easy start point is that today’s business leader must strive to be authentic, approachable and empathetic, interacting with employees regularly to encourage the sharing of experiences and perspectives. Today’s business leader needs to reach out to his or her employees frequently, offering the kind of constructive feedback that brings out the best in each worker.
These actions ensure that a leader is transparent and relatable. Developing trust with workers who may be experiencing similar situations builds relatability and helps attract the best talent — as employees and as partners.
A business leader managing a diverse Middle Eastern workplace should encourage teamwork that centers on a common purpose. This purpose serves as a unifier, fostering a sense of belonging for everyone.
However, there are unique strategies that must be employed when the teams are diverse to allow trust and encourage people to participate. HR must be engaged in creating the managerial training to teach these skills. Otherwise, although you might have a diverse team, you will fail to benefit from the diversity of views and life experiences to grow your business.
For example, you can create diversity champions. These employees can offer support to co-workers who may find it difficult to move away from traditional, cultural norms. They can also help those who feel marginalized. Through these efforts, diversity champions can give management insights that better guide cultural diversity and inclusion initiatives.
Fostering diversity and inclusion in the workplace can be challenging anywhere. This gradual process will likely incur mistakes, but reaching out to others and making them feel welcome in the workplace offers a great start.
Another great start is treating this as a productivity issue, and researching and implementing evidence-based strategies that work with your business.