Article: What we can learn from Singapore’s workplace diversity

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What we can learn from Singapore’s workplace diversity

Here is an account of what we can learn from Singapore’s workplace diversity which flaunts a diverse society of various nationalities, races, religions and cultures.
What we can learn from Singapore’s workplace diversity

Singapore’s workforce is a replica of workplace diversity which flaunts a diverse society of various nationalities, races, religions, and cultures.  Throw a stone in the Central Business District, you’re about 90% certain of hitting someone of a different nationality, who comes from a different culture and has a different set of values as compared to you. 

Singapore has one of the busiest ports in the world. It has gained historical importance in trade and business because of the massive port. Formerly occupied by the Japanese, Malay, Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch and the British, it’s no wonder how many cultures have influenced the growth and development of Singapore. After its independence from the British, Singapore attracted foreign direct investments on a large scale and over the years it grew as the trading and financial hub that it is now.

By and large, the work culture in Singapore is a mix of Asian and Western influences. Chances are if you work in a medium to large scale organization, or in a multinational company, it’s not unusual for you to have a Japanese CEO, English manager, Chinese colleague, and a Dutch business partner. Well, you get the picture, the diversity is as real and tangible as it gets.

Corporate employee engagement 

More and more Singaporean employers are using various methods to keep their employees engaged and happy while at work. From skill-enhancing workshops to team bonding and engagement activities within the office space, such events aim to keep team morale high and establish camaraderie between employees and their managers. And concurrently, employers hope to build an agile and productive team for the years to come. This is particularly effective in a diverse workplace, where employees from different backgrounds can come together, to get to know one another better and build stronger relationships. 

“While there is no one-size-fits-all employee experience that will maximize engagement, forward-thinking organizations can identify the drivers that are most important for their employees and create a fit-for-purpose experience,” said Boon Chong Na, Managing Director, and partner at Aon Hewitt Singapore.

With the world getting smaller, it’s important to note that diversity is everywhere. Workplaces are diverse with differences in personality, talent, education, race, age, gender, religion, ethnicity, culture, and more. With so many different individuals as co-workers, customers, bosses, and clients, how do we all get along and work together for greater success?

Managing diversity in the workplace

  • Focus on what your team has in common, as opposed to what makes you different
  • Diversity is more than just ethnicity, race and culture
  • Consider bridging communication gaps and work preferences to help the team better understand one another
  • Be culturally competent
  • Take the time to learn and share about the different cultures, races and religions represented in your team 
  • Welcome ideas that are different from your own
  • Commit to continuous improvement
  • Learn, give and accept feedback freely, and listen to the different perspectives within your diverse team to find opportunities for growth
  • Be patient
  • A little patience and perseverance goes a long way
  • Acknowledge the everyone is driven differently
  • Make the effort to connect with your team to understand what keeps them motivated and appreciate them the way they would like to be appreciated
  • Engaging employees at the different levels is an effective way to reach critical mass and communicate the importance of diversity and inclusion. Team members are often eager to join in the process but lack the know-how and confidence to take action. Take the time to share tips and pointers learnt along the way and let team leaders know that there are many ways to contribute and support these efforts. 

Workplace diversity encourages creativity and innovation. Cultivate the mindset that these unique viewpoints from unique individuals have an invaluable impact on the business and workforce, and in turn, impacting the bottom line of the company. 

Managing diversity and inclusion in a diverse and multi-generational workforce requires that team members intentionally connect, collaborate, and have constant communication with each person in the manner that works for them. And when we do, we are on our way to a more engaged, motivated and focused workforce ready to deliver impactful results. Remember that it is important to keep at it; value the thoughts and ideas of your diverse team, and don’t forget to celebrate along the way!

Topics: Global Perspective, Diversity

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