It’s becoming more and more common to see people from diverse backgrounds working together in the same office, sometimes under challenging circumstances such as language barriers or cultural differences. Yet as an employer, it’s not easy to manage a multicultural team – more so with current work-from-home arrangements due to COVID-19.
In line with International Friendship Day celebrations just last month, the time has come for an increased emphasis on bolstering team connectedness when working alongside talent from around the globe.
Challenges of managing a diverse workforce
1. Communication barriers
Different languages, time zones and cultural backgrounds can often create a barrier between team members if they are unable to communicate with each other effectively. As some may not be the most fluent in English, fellow colleagues have to be patient and understanding. However, this may lead to miscommunication and potentially cause delays in work deliverables at times.
A successful employer should encourage effective communication among employees. This can be done through group training programmes or by simply spending time getting to know each other on a personal level.
2. Lack of confidence
Due to communication barriers, certain employees may also hesitate to express their opinions as a result. Yet, this can limit their ability to perform at their best. If you notice some colleagues feeling uneasy and less confident when contributing in team discussions, this is a red flag indicating it’s time to focus on team-building initiatives to bring about a more supportive space.
Lastly, stereotypes are understandable especially as your employees still need time to become acquainted with each other. In order to succeed in a multicultural team, it is important that the people involved are willing to be open-minded and flexible. Employers need to create an environment that fosters trust and mutual respect to make the most out of having hires from various backgrounds. To overcome these obstacles especially during pandemic times, it is thus important to promote cultural diversity in the workplace.
Starting with having team-building activities on a regular basis, your employees can understand each other better and in turn work closer together to avoid problems that may otherwise arise during miscommunication.
1. Casual online gatherings
Due to COVID-19, building connections with colleagues within your organisation has become much harder due to the lack of face-to-face interaction. But that does not mean it’s impossible.
Video conferencing is a great tool to use for more than just business meetings. As an employer, you can organise regular check-ins for employees to mingle and interact online. This gives them a chance to socialise and smooth any communication barriers, all while meeting like-minded people within the team as well as across other departments.
To spice things up, these virtual meetings can also be a great outlet to incorporate escape room challenges, scavenger hunts and karaoke sessions for something different every time. With some friendly competition in the mix, your employees can still stay connected and strengthen team dynamics. These mini breaks can be conducted at any time of the day and also serve as a way to alleviate stress.
2. Virtual workout classes
You can also make the most out of these virtual gatherings and take it a step further with fitness classes. By either engaging an external trainer or arranging an internally-led session, your employees can participate in a number of exercises that may include burpees, jumping jacks, squats and more. Don’t forget to remind your employees to turn their webcams on to encourage more bonding moments. Such workouts can also play an important role in encouraging healthy lifestyles to complement wellness programme initiatives.
3. Small acts of appreciation
Finally, small gestures like partnering employees up to order each other’s lunch and planning online happy hour sessions can foster closeness and boost team morale. During this period of remote work, you can still celebrate work anniversaries, birthdays and accomplishments by sending snacks that can make anyone feel valued as a team member. Ultimately, there are countless ways to create spontaneous interactions and deepen trust between staff.
Start creating a close-knit team
As part of shaping a more cohesive workplace, your employee benefits policy will also play a part in employee satisfaction within your team. Providing employees with excellent insurance plans will make them more productive and content in the organisation. When done well, you’ll not have an overall diverse workforce that’s close to one another but individual employees will also feel cared for and well-supported at work. Alongside Expat Insurance, your employee benefits package can go a long way to promote a stronger multicultural company in Singapore.
Have questions about the different employee benefits? Contact our team today.