It was almost comical watching me attempt to cut my food. This world and my home is designed for right handed people, which is somewhat upsetting since my husband and son are left handed. I compared my home environment with the definition of unprejudiced, institutionalized discrimination and was shocked to learn how much I expected them to adapt and overcome obstacles. I certainly didn’t plan on making my home right hand friendly but I don’t have a single pair of left handed scissors either! The experiment left me feeling inadequate and frustrated.
In a work place, these feelings could lead to low work productivity, poor performance, and a general sense of unhappiness with your occupation (Kirkman, Shapiro, 2001). Accommodating a diversified workforce is essential to understanding cultural, ethnic, and gender differences (Kirkman, Shapiro, 2001). Offering education about cultural sensitivity can help managers with hiring new employees and avoid stereotypical or prejudiced behavior. It also allows for the increased minority promotion and a more diversified skill set (Kirkman, Shapiro, 2001).
Companies that promote cultural diversity are more likely to attract the most qualified applicants and gain the respect of perspective clients (Kirkman, Shapiro, 2001). A diversified workforce can bring about new ideas and global connections that will enhance and potentially be profitable to a company. Each employee brings a new skill set, a new strength, and perspective to their job through life experiences, culture, and ethnicity (Kirkman, Shapiro, 2001). If an employee feels valued and respected by management and peers their work performance will improve and they will feel more comfortable sharing ideas.
Productivity will improve and it enhances employee satisfaction and harbors a sense of pride and teamwork within the company (Kirkman, Shapiro, 2001). Obtaining cultural diversity must incorporate adequate and clear communication, team building, education, and a respect of people’s views on time and work day productivity (Kirkman, Shapiro, 2001). Good communication is essential due to language barriers, and its effect on work performance. Some cultures do not take criticism well, while others may look for suggestions.
Team building and education are important because many cultures prefer to work alone and others prefer cooperative assignments (Kirkman, Shapiro, 2001). Cross cultural team building will help accommodate all these preferences and help employees respect each other’s differences. Time and calendar mean different things to different cultures and ethnicities. An effort must be made to set up a companywide expectation that incorporates allowable time for holidays and religious preferences (Kirkman, Shapiro, 2001).
It was easy for me to relate my left handed experience to the work place. Through the experiment and research I have come to a new understanding of the importance and benefits of cultural diversity. Due to ever changing technology, companies worldwide can incorporate diversity in their workforce and build stronger, more profitable, and happier work places. Successful cultural diversity may even lead to a workplace culture in which employees can thrive, feel respected, and be quite profitable to their employers.