Even though employers seem to have gotten better about making their workplaces more diverse, they still have to do more than simply hiring more people of color, and many companies haven’t even gotten to that point yet. There is a clear ethnicity barrier in the American workplace and your company can always do more to overcome it. Here are just a few things that will help you and your company accomplish this.
A lot of people have it in their heads that the key to ending racism and prejudice is to simply not see race. That sounds great in theory, but it doesn’t really work in practice. Everyone is different from everyone else, and it’s okay to acknowledge these differences. You don’t need to make a big deal over the fact that your colleagues are of a different race or culture than you, but you need to understand that there will be cultural differences and that you can acknowledge them in a respectful manner.
Offer implicit bias training
No matter how hard people try or how accepting they are of other cultures, they will always have some implicit biases that can affect their thinking. Since ignoring this issue will only lead to misunderstandings and grief in the workplace, acknowledge that these biases exist and offer training to your employees. This training should be available to all of your employees regardless of their race, religion, culture, or status within the company.
Let employees learn through experience
One great way to overcome bias in the workplace is to simply let your employees learn through personal experience. For example, if you are in an industry where women traditionally haven’t been in leadership roles and the best candidate for a management position is a woman, you can give her the position and let her skills speak for themselves. It might not change everyone’s mind, but those who may not otherwise accept a woman in a management position might learn an important lesson and confront some prejudices they might not have known that they have.
As with everything else in life, the best way to learn about a different culture is to ask questions. You need to be careful about sounding insensitive when asking, but you will be surprised at how much you can learn and how much people are willing to share. The more your employees and colleagues know about each other, the easier it will be for them to work together.