Managers have a lot on their hands when it comes to regulating the workplace. If gender-, age-based, or immigration labor advertising has taught us anything, it’s that the field of labor is experiencing a huge spike in diversity, and managers need to act accordingly. Here are some practices managers can adopt when looking to manage a diverse workplace environment.
Enforce Positive Communication Networks
Communication is key in a workplace, which is a fact that holds true when managing diversity. In most cases, interpersonal issues that arise in the workplace were results of pent-up frustration or unspoken emotions. When left to their own devices, these things can essentially “boil” inside a person, ultimately culminating in a dynamic outburst. In order to avoid that sort of situation, it’s advised that managers enforce strong communication policies in a working environment. Scheduling weekly hourly meeting wherein employees can express their concerns can be a good practice to implement. Alternatively, managers can designate a comment box wherein employees anonymously write down their concerns with their peers, and the manager can use that information in order to prevent conflict.
Teamwork is not only beneficial for establishing positive working relationships; companies that work together grow together, and operational efforts that are based on a collaborative system are by far more successful than isolated efforts. Employees traditionally view a chain of command in the work place negatively. This chain of command does not necessarily start with interns and end with management; a more experienced employee can be viewed as the unofficial second in command when it comes to team projects, which is not a promising age diversity management practice. Alternatively, a younger employee might be inadvertently placed at the bottom of the ladder during team projects, which can also cause future conflict. For these reasons, it’s best to establish a neutral zone when engaging in team work. Of course, the manager has the final say in all situations, and all concerns must be directed to him or her; however, by establishing neutral ground among employees, everyone feels as though they’re an equal contributor to the greater goal.
It’s advised that managers celebrate all achievements in the workplace, both large and small. This can go a long way toward making employees feel as if they are valued and appreciated (because they are). This practice does not necessarily have to involve a significant cost; small achievements like an employee reaching their one-year employment anniversary can warrant a simple ‘Thank You’ email, or perhaps a lunchtime announcement. On the other hand, a person’s 50th year with the company calls for cake, and is a special event that no level-minded, newer employee should object to.