Staff are ready to embrace diverse co-workers, but HR is failing to provide the necessary coaching to drive integration
Organisations in Asia Pacific are failing to fully prepare employees for a more inclusive work environment due to a lack of D&I coaching or support in the form of flexi-work policies.
This despite the finding that most hiring managers and employees see value in working with diverse teams made up of mature workers, people with disabilities, and returning mothers.
Only about 16% of employees say they have access to D&I coaching sessions, such as soft skills training, according to a recent study by PERSOLKELLY.
Top three countries with D&I coaching programs in place are China (23%), Thailand (22%) and Australia (22%).
As for flexi-work policies, more than half of employees say they are not offered flexible working arrangements (61%) or family-friendly policies (67%).
“Organisations are facing different sets of challenges when it comes to driving workforce integration,” said Jessica Ang, Regional Head of Corporate Brand Marketing, APAC at PERSOLKELLY.
“To prepare for the transforming workforce and truly impact change, leaders must engage with their employees to overcome challenges and champion an inclusive workforce.”
Across the region, Vietnam and China have the highest levels of concern about working with mature workers (96% and 95% respectively), people with disabilities or special needs (92% and 93%), as well as returning mothers (91% and 93%).
Some of the concerns raised by respondents about working with mature workers and people with disabilities or special needs include their physical capabilities, ability to adapt to change and need for flexibility. For returning mothers, their perceived lack of availability and focus are cited as top issues.
While concerns exist, returning mothers are appreciated for their ability to multi-task and focus. 95% of respondents recognise the benefits of having mature workers in the workforce, citing their experience as the main advantage.
Positively, employees are most optimistic (83%) about working with people with disabilities or special needs. These groups of workers are seen as being able to provide an additional perspective to business challenges and are regarded as loyal employees.
Soft skills training and flexible working policies are identified as two key practices that can help dispel current misconceptions of working with people from diverse backgrounds.