In order to meet the needs of Saint Cloud’s changing demographics, it has become critical for area businesses to meet the increasingly multicultural needs of our community.

Businesses benefit from cultural diversity as wider varieties of people, skill sets, experiences, and knowledge are attracted. These new perspectives can create fresh ideas that provide a competitive advantage.

However, whether or not a business benefits from cultural diversity depends on their ability to integrate diversity into the workplace. In hopes of aiding establishments in the Greater Saint Cloud area, we have come up with some tips for employers to consider when hiring individuals from different backgrounds. These tips will also help businesses shape a working environment that encourages and respects cultural diversity.

Seek Diversity in your Recruitment Process

The first step in recruiting diverse people to your company is to diversify your company’s audience. We are living in the age of information, technology, and social media, so do your research and figure out how you can better reach your target market. In addition to getting your name out to a broader audience, it is wise to do so in person. For example, your company could sponsor community events, which will increase your visibility in the greater community. You could hold a recruiting event at a location your desired audience frequents. View more information on recruitment strategies and best practices.

Include Nontraditional Applicants

Have a decision-making structure that gets everyone involved (gender cultural groups, etc.). In the hiring process, it is crucial to welcome applicants with nontraditional majors to apply so that your brand becomes known for hiring people from various educational backgrounds.

Provide Learning Resources

It is essential to have appropriate resources and educational materials available to educate your staff on all cultural backgrounds within the company. This will make hires from other cultures feel welcome!

Find small ways to celebrate different cultures within the office like acknowledging all holidays that employees celebrate. Do not be too forward or make anyone feel singled out; in other words, don’t try too hard. As Sonya Brathwaite said, “The diverse executive will attract diverse people to your company just by virtue of them being there—as they will demonstrate that it is possible for a minority to succeed in your company.”

Promote Diversity in the Current Company Culture

Within the already established network of your company, it is essential that all company communications contain diverse messaging and imaging (race and gender are not the only forms of diversity) and be sure to offer benefits such as flexible schedules, accommodating cultural and religious holidays, and an openness to appropriate cultural clothing. For more tips on incorporating diversity initiatives into the workplace and company culture, click here to view the resources on our website.

Open the Lines of Communication

It would be detrimental to overlook communication when discussing cultural diversity in the workplace. Styles of communication vary worldwide, so understanding the basic differences in communication will strengthen collaboration, success, and relationships.

Understand Differences in Cultural Norms

Aside from verbal communication, cultural norms are another way that communication can easily be misinterpreted. It is crucial to gain an understanding of these differences within your company, as they largely influence the mechanics and relationships of the workplace.

Norms that need to be considered are decision-making customs, conceptions of time, power hierarchy, individualism vs. collectivism, gender differences, generational differences, and socioeconomic differences.

Finally, be aware of different etiquette and manners; what is polite in one culture can be rude in another.

Saint Cloud is becoming an increasingly multicultural community, so diversification of the workplace seems inevitable and, when done well, can be very beneficial to any company. It provides a wider range of perspectives, which help broaden the scope of ideas and solutions within a company.