The world often grows, changes, and expands without us. The result is an increasingly globalized and diverse workforce that’s enveloping people without the cultural, historical, or social cues to handle the breadth of experiences and expectations thrust upon them. To help sort out a few of the basics, here are some of the best tips for working in a diverse environment.
Respect All Cultural Differences
Culture is a broad and vast topic that both undergirds and shapes how we understand ourselves, our world, and one another. Culture impacts your interactions at work, so you must learn how to navigate its complexities. It exists in both small and large forms—your family unit has its own culture in the same way that the United States has its own culture.
Culture is larger than ethnic or international boundaries. There are hundreds of microcultures within the US that you must learn how to understand and appreciate if you are to make it in the American healthcare system. Start from a place of respect for all people and do not make assumptions about others. Through a foundation of mutual dignity, people of entirely different cultures can work on the same projects with ease.
Work Against Racial Discrimination
Unfortunately, racial discrimination is a common enough practice that many people don’t even realize how or when they may offend or discriminate against people of other races. Whether from devious intentions or unquestioned biases, racism hits at the heart of the American workplace every day. Working in diverse environments means you must learn how to control any discriminatory behaviors in yourself and call out any you see in others. Microaggressions are common examples of racial discrimination, so learn about them and work to combat your biases.
Be Wary of Ageism
Ageism is discrimination against people based on their age. If you are an older individual working in an office of young professionals, you may feel out of place at times. Yet, there are instances when people may intentionally leave you out of projects and conversations because they assume your age makes you incapable of performing the tasks at hand. The workplace should celebrate age and ability diversity, but your job may not do this. If legal recourse is the best option in your situation, learn how to prove age discrimination in the workplace, and find sound legal counsel.
Strive for Unity, but Recognize Diversity
Unity is great to have on a team, both in ideology and mission. However, unity does not mean homogeneity. Avoid belittling other cultures and celebrate the differences in your team rather than overlooking them. In a group, it is important to recognize the dominant culture and pay attention to those in minority groups who others might pass over.
Use these tips for working in a diverse environment as you forge ahead into new social territory. At the end of the day, respect, honesty, and active listening can overcome many of the problems you may face.