My Diversity Training: Openness in Workplace and Society
The reality is that we are all human beings. It’s part of human nature that every person makes an imaginary boundary in his/her mind while interacting with a person from different culture. Somehow, we come to accept this way of thinking, which is called unconscious bias. Without being exposed to a diverse environment, it’s nearly impossible to think with an open mind.
For example, consider the topic of how to best address a superior in the office. There are significant variances in different cultures around the world in the way a person speaks to his/her superior. One of the Ericsson core values is “Respect”, and there are varying ways of showing respect to superiors in societies around the world. When so many different cultures come together in a work environment, then it can be difficult to get away from stereotyping or offending. The more we interact, the more we learn. Mindset is also significant, everybody needs to have willingness to become undisguised.
The individual person is the principal entity of a society. A person has his/her own feelings, beliefs and values. These can be known to others only by interpersonal communication. An office environment is a great place to share thoughts, ideas with a person from another ethnic group. Repetitive collaboration makes it easier to understand one another and makes the group stronger. Therefore, I think a truly diverse culture is driven by collective ideas about what is “right”.
Workplace Impacts Attitude
Ericsson gave me the opportunity to be a part of large multicultural organization. A huge enhancement of my cultural journey started after I came to Finland several years back.
We spend at least one third of the day in the office, and it is the time when our brains are fully functional and active. So, working within an international company like Ericsson is a big plus for mental enlightenment. Ericsson employs many people from many different nationalities. A single team can have members from multiple countries. So, it’s really a great place to work where every person is considered as “agent” and “target” at the same time.
However, there are many challenges of multiculturalism. One of the most significant challenges is to overcome resistance to change. A “we’ve always done it this way” attitude silences new thoughts and impedes progress. So, a person always needs to think beyond his (self-created) mental boundaries. The main challenge is to change the mind set of all people. To get a truly diverse society, it’s very important to counsel your employees. So, we need to train ourselves to realize the benefits of diversity.
“Think out loud”, ”think about others”, ”agreement”, ”co-operation”, ”value other’s beliefs” are some of key items that I have cultured so far in my diversity journey. But, I still have much to learn. We all crave for success, so why not also strive for communal prosperity.
Diversity is one of the few practices that has only benefits and no disadvantages. There are bumps in the pathway, but it is possible to embrace by openness.