When we think of workplace diversity, what image comes to our mind?
The answer would be a combination of people with different culture, race, backgrounds, gender.
There are many other ways to think about diversity, such as age, ethnicity, cultural background, sexual orientation, gender identity, intellectual or physical ability -- the list goes on.
People come from different backgrounds and each individual’s upbringing is shaped by their parents, education, community, religion, and experiences.
In Bangladesh, it has recently been observed that a lot of multi-national companies are taking diversity issues seriously.
They believe that a diverse workforce can not only help in overcoming the challenges of workplace complexities, but also can bring innovation and positive changes for an organisation.
Thus, they are putting a lot of effort into promoting diversity. However, some local organisations, such as local banks and government-run institutions, are still lagging behind in terms of diversity, as they are still operating in a traditional manner, causing trouble to the future development of our country.
The discrimination we face
A common issue people face in Bangladesh, as well as the rest of the world, is gender discrimination, as organisations are still specifying “gender” for the allocation of some positions.
Often, recruiters prefer male workers over female workers for technical jobs, because of the traditional thinking that it is difficult for a woman to visit different sites on a regular basis.
Most multi-national and banking organisations have set restrictions on physically disabled people.
And, sadly, indigenous people are also deprived of opportunities in our country.
It has been observed that the young generation faces discrimination in terms of educational qualifications, as competition is rapidly increasing in the job market.
Many of the top organisations in Bangladesh mention, in their circulars, the names of the institutions from which the candidates should have graduated. This is clearly discriminatory.
We have to be free from this outmoded way of thinking if we want to be developed as a nation. In that case, diversity training can be a solution to overcome these issues.
Diversity training not only bridges gaps between co-workers, but also makes us accept, understand, and celebrate differences in each of us
Diversity training educates employees on the proper ways to treat people from different backgrounds.
It is influenced by the way the concept of diversity is understood in a workplace. It explains raising awareness about individual differences in workplaces and how those differences can be used in a team, in a way that gets the job done.
For successful diversity training in a workplace, managers have to come up with some interesting ways to integrate the training into daily tasks, not just give a lecture to employees once a year.
To be better
In Bangladesh, diversity training is conducted in different ways, such as company-wide training seminars, in-house workshops, or workshops in corporate settings with different training agencies.
Nowadays, training agencies are taking vital responsibilities in terms of diversity training.
Most organisations in our country have very specific and narrow preferences when it comes to hiring employees, from age to ethnicity.
These unwritten rules cause great losses, not only for people, but also for organisations, because they are losing talent.
Diversity training not only bridges gaps between co-workers, but also makes us accept, understand, and celebrate differences in each of us.
Managers from different organisations in our country must understand that both employees and organisations can benefit from diversity training.
The top management of different organisations in our country can change their way of thinking and decision-making perceptions by acquiring knowledge about the power of diverse workforces through diversity training.
We should promote diversity training in both public and private sectors, to treat people better, for a better future.
Tahsin Kabir is doing MBA in HRM in North South University and worked in Catalyst Solutions BD.