Championing Diversity Through Mentoring
Today’s business world is a much smaller place than it used to be. Globalization and technology have made it possible to interact with professionals and experts across the world. There are now countless opportunities for individuals from different spheres of life to come forward and obtain employment in mainstream organizations. As a result, there is a high degree of diversity in today’s workforce, with different groups of people from various ethnic and social backgrounds working alongside one another.
This diversity has created a melting pot of knowledge and skills just waiting to be shared and developed through mentoring. As we explained in our previous blog post, “Changing Traditions: The Many Benefits of E-Mentoring,” aspiring professionals are no longer limited by time or geographical constraints. Add to that the benefits of diversity in the workforce, and the opportunities for career development are endless.
Along with the many benefits, there are some inevitable challenges that come with mixing employees from different cultures, backgrounds, and disciplines. Some of these might include subtle racial profiling, favoritism, groupism, and even verbal harassment. These problems, if not addressed thoroughly and early on, will ultimately get out of hand and may lead to employees leaving the company, either due to termination or an unhappy and mistreated employee leaving of his/her own accord. This sends promising individuals away and forces the company to assign valuable resources to the time-consuming process of recruiting and hiring new talent.
A strong mentoring program is not only a valuable tool to facilitate the transferring of knowledge within a diverse workforce, but also a means to helping that workforce to develop cultural and ethnic acceptance. A successful mentor can break communication barriers and moderate conflicts that arise between individuals. Besides providing professional guidance and assisting in career development, a mentor’s role is also to enhance interpersonal relationships and to meet the needs of employees at a human level.
One method a culturally-sensitive mentor might use to bring together a diverse workforce is conducting group meetings. The purpose of these meetings could vary, but some of the more obvious ones would be to:
- Highlight the beauty of different cultures and encourage each other to respect and welcome their differences.
- Remove communication barriers through group activities.
- Instill confidence in employees to ask questions, despite language challenges.
- Build solid professional relationships by encouraging employees to share skills with one another.
- Address and eliminating any negativity or bias that may arise.
- Constantly reinforce positive attitudes and a spirit of unity.
If your organization champions diversity and wants to boost the development—both career and personal—of its workforce, then you should consider incorporating mentoring into your business plan. Your employees will be thrilled at the opportunity to access skills and expertise on a global level, and learning from experts who come from different cultures will only serve to further enhance their development.
Creating a mentoring environment within a diverse workforce is an important step towards attaining unity, creating a positive, open atmosphere, building better interpersonal relationships, and retaining employees. Contact MentorCloud learn more about how to get started.
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