Creating Harmonious Working Relationships Among Diverse Employees: Strategies And Approaches – OpEd
It is difficult to manage properly the diverse types of employees in an organization for achieving the goal of the organization within the limited resources and time. So, we need to employ competent employees in all levels in the organization with a view to aligning employees as per organization types and mode of business and its goal. Organization, methods and the process of implementation, strategic process analysis and development are also the crucial factor in obtaining better performance and stability of the organization. Besides, employee satisfaction and harmonious relations among employees in a favorable workplace environment are also to be considered carefully for the interest of the organization.
Moreover, there are various factors that contribute to the rising workplace diversity in the organization or company. These may be increasing numbers of immigrants, company mergers and joint ventures in different countries, increased engagement of business consultants and temporary employees, international business competition and the idea of globalization, which has transformed the world into a global village. Globalization has occurred because of a combination of factors such as improved infrastructure, advancements in technology. Infrastructure have not only provided cheaper means of communication and travel but have also revolutionized the speed in businesses communication around the world. Domestic companies are also spreading their operations to new countries across the globe in search of new markets or outsourcing some aspects of their production process through various strategies of business expansion.
Managing employees of different cultural diversity, through the integration of appropriate strategies plays a very vital and key role in improving the competitive advantage of the business in the competitive market. Globalization calls for specific approaches that promote harmonious working relationships within increasingly culturally diverse workplaces. Hansen (2002) observes that workplace diversity is critical to the existence of businesses and identifying key strategies to ensure harmonious working relationships among culturally diverse employees is integral to the survival of any business. Diversity in this case means the differences between individuals based on their culture, education, socio-economic situation, skill and traditions which influence their perceptions, values and beliefs in the working situation. Nowadays, there is increased pressure on human resource departments to integrate culturally diverse employees, while at the same time maintaining high levels of motivation among the divergent group of employees.
As felt among the main issue in a culturally diverse workforce is creating synergy, teamwork and one cohesive atmosphere made up of the various cultural groups within the workplace (Hansen, 2002). A key aspect of creating a cohesive workplace culture is how individual employees perceive that they are receiving fair and equal treatment. Identifying employee perception of fairness begins by evaluating current employee benefits and assessing specific suggestions that are appealing to a diverse workforce. Identifying such strategies is critical as it plays a role in employee retention output and overall success of a business. Dissatisfied employees who feel they are not being treated equally especially pertaining to their culture, may have low levels of motivation and their output may not meaningfully impact the overall successful performance of the business that needs stability and harmonious atmosphere.
Identifying the most suitable and effective strategy in managing a culturally diverse workforce in a manner we should create cohesiveness and harmony, increase employee satisfaction and maximize their output within the company by effective use of existing employees. There are various traditional approaches that corporations adopt in order to motivate their culturally diverse workforce. These are such as benefit plans insurance, training and retraining, retirement programs and re-employment opportunity.
As it has been felt that traditional approaches are no longer pertinent to raising harmony in a culturally diverse workforce in the enterprise or company. To this end, it is required to frame strategies that will not only ensure that each employee feels valued and treated properly at the workplace, but will create employee loyalty to the company and motivate them to increase their output as per direction. These strategies can retain employees; companies loose their experienced employees to those corporations that maintains better strategies in handling cultural diversity and ensuring employee satisfaction with the proper employee value.
Offering benefits for employees
Approving the various needs of culturally diverse employees, companies may offer benefits that are flexible according to the specific needs of individual employees. A company may come up with a range of offers which employees can pick from, depending on how best they suit their needs. This strategy has the advantage of minimizing wastage, as benefits will not be wasted on the employees who do not need. Giving employees benefits that they do not need has no additional value to the company as the benefits will have no motivational effect (Bohlander & Snell, 2007).
Renowned companies come with offers like, a benefits package that consists of vacation, health insurance and sick leave or financial opportunities for target achievement. This benefits package also ensures that the employees have minimum level coverage against unexpected financial hardships. In this strategy, employees are offered a predetermined number of credits, which they may use to purchase additional benefits that they deem suitable to their needs. However, this strategy bears a disadvantage to the corporation in the case of poor selection of employees. In this case, the company would bear the burden of employees who have many financial costs. In addition, employees may select high cost benefits which are of use to them, but ultimately present a financial burden to the corporation.
This strategy must be analyzed carefully by the company before settling up a particular benefit plan. The strategy selected must be beneficial to the company and to the employees as well. The strategy should be comprehensive enough that can address most of the employees, if not all issues pertaining to cultural diversity, and at the same time protects the interests of the company and overall profitability. The overall diversity management strategy should give the company a competitive edge on the global scale and boost its ability to recruit and retain employees, in addition to attaining the ability to adjust to the evolving and increasingly culturally diverse workforce.
There were many approaches that used in the past, to manage a culturally diverse workforce, which have proved to be redundant, if not ultimately disastrous in terms of maintaining harmonious working relationship with employees and overall company performance. An example shows, when a leading insurance company in California US, gave its leading salespersons tickets to a Christmas event being held in a local church. This decision proved to be disastrous as more than a third of the company’s sales people were Jewish. Such as strategy, though aimed at rewarding hardworking employees, was not culturally sensitive, which lead to boycotts and resignations of employees and within six months, this mistake had cost the company more than one million dollars (Tahmincioglu, 2004). So, choose carefully the approach that would suit to all types and diversified employees.
The importance of careful evaluation before deciding on a specific strategy that creates harmony in a culturally diverse workforce should be shown during planing the strategy. The selected approaches should match the needs of the diversified workforce as how catastrophic it might be for the company in the event of a mismatch. To arrive at the most suitable and comprehensive strategy for dealing with cultural diversity at the workforce, we need to consider various diversified groups to boost their motivation and ensure that they experience fair treatment in their workplaces.
Various studies have revealed that people from different cultures and backgrounds have different ways of acquiring knowledge, skill, conduct, pattern of behavior and if this factor is not integrated in the new-employee training manuals, then the immigrants will not know what was intended of them, and their work experience and output may become inappropriate and redundant. Companies should consider that conventional approaches to employee training may not be suitable for the a workforce of culturally diverse and the knowledge and information deemed as crucial for the traditional employee may not be so for immigrant workers.
Further, the training of new-employees should include topics that educate the workforce about the specific, particularly those that to which the new employees belong. Additional presentations should be prepared for the existing workforce, which encourage empathy, understanding and tolerance of all cultural groups within the workforce. The training should aim at ensuring that all employees have cultural competence and are able to relate with colleagues from other cultures, with a sufficient amount of respect and empathy. Being culturally competent will ensure that employees understand how to communicate with individuals from different cultures, as some cultures are regarded as high context cultures while others are low context cultures as were seen in various MNCs.
It is really critical in human nature that how people from different cultures communicate, and how their way of communication is bound to influence the communicative process within the workplace. It is shown iun many cases that individuals from high context cultures are often misunderstood by those from low context cultures. Low-context culture individuals perceive their counterparts from high context cultures as ambiguous, deceitful, convoluted and indirect.
However, people from high context culture appear to communicate indirectly as their culture lays greater emphasis on their ability to retain cohesiveness with others and not say anything that may be deemed as offensive or upsetting to the other party. In this context, high context culture will not say anything that appears offensive, making low context colleagues perceive their indirectness as deceit in many situations.
Communicating more directly by high-context colleagues, may aggravate employee relationships when some individual feel that their colleagues are not treating them properly, or they are being insensitive to their feelings. In this connection, training in cultural competence and development will ensure that the workforce has the basic idea of how individuals from different cultures perceive situations and their ways of communicating and acquiring meaning from communication. This will ultimately lead to increased harmony, cohesiveness and employee satisfaction at the work place So, this types of training and motivation in all levels can ensure a harmonious atmosphere within the organization for longer stability and raising solidarity among diversified employees.
Need-based strategies and approaches are also carefully considered by the multinational corporations operating in various parts of the world use to accommodate the culture of the local workforce, and how to integrate it with the wider operation of the whole company. While companies expand business to new territories or other countries heir businesses have been operated in the spirit of globalization, they frequently encounter diverse cultures and cultural practices in different countries that may not be particularly suited to their operational direction of the business.
Based on the above discussion cultural aspects in the organizations must be accommodated and integrated into the company vision and employee-cohesion strategy if the organization/company expects to put any meaningful impact and realize its goals within that particular cultural setting in the organization as a whole. Aspects of culture that multinationals are faced which include employee work ethics based on culture, religion, among other factors. It is also equally prevails that Local conglomerates and MNCs are encountering these difficult situation in different ways and on different issues existing in the cultures of diversifies employees. Due importance should be given to this crucial factor in achieving convenient workplace relations, longer stability and better performance in the future.
Mohammad Mosaddek Hussain