When your company has a diverse population of employees, you can benefit from a stronger, more competitive organization that features improved productivity and increased profits. Diversity and inclusion initiatives can yield innovative ideas, creative problem-solving, and new perspectives that can flip the old way of doing things on its head. The best ideas will rise to the top. But it can also bring about contentious viewpoints and tense situations, and if you’re not careful, hostile feelings in the workplace. Here’s how to manage a team of diverse construction employees.
Understand the benefits
A diverse workplace encourages new ideas, includes all employees as equals, ensures fairness, and respects differences. Ideally, you’ve harnessed the strength of the combined talents of your diverse team. All employees should feel as though they’re equal contributing members of the team.
Develop a plan
First, encourage workers to embrace diversity. Let them know about the benefits of a diverse population of employees. Teach them how they can create and support a fair and diverse workplace. Try to correct any personal biases you notice and remind everyone that “different” is a neutral term, it doesn’t imply better or worse. Let your employees know how others feel when they joke about or put down others.
Reach out to people
Set an example by getting to know people from other cultures, sharing stories about your heritage and theirs- you might be surprised how much you have in common. Be flexible and willing to try different, even unfamiliar, approaches. Recognize each person as an individual who has something important to contribute to the organization.
Confront the problem
When there’s a conflict or a misunderstanding, you need to address it immediately. If you ignore it, hoping it will go away, it only gets worse. Otherwise, emotions will fester, and frustrations will turn to anger, grudges, resentment, and hate.
Focus on the behaviors
When you sit down to mediate the situation, use language that targets a cessation of the offending behaviors; don’t label or attack people. Use active listening skills to let each employee know you hear their concerns and are working to understand their needs. When your employees trust you and feel respected, they’re more likely to engage in their work, be more productive, and stay loyal to the company.
Learn from the experience
As long as it’s handled properly, conflict between employees can actually be very positive. It might yield personal growth for a struggling employee, a boost in company morale, enhanced communication, more efficient procedures, or a genius innovation. It’s up to you to understand the dynamics, approach it appropriately, and guide everyone to an acceptable solution.
For more tips on how to manage your employees so you foster a positive work environment that supports sustainable growth, contact our team today.