Why you should be actively seeking a diverse workforce

The senior VP of talent acquisition for a major Singapore bank describes diversity as one of the institution’s core strengths. Here are some tips on managing a diverse talent pool.

With a vast number of nationalities, languages and cultures, Singapore’s workforce is already inherently diverse.

But that does not mean HRDs should stop thinking about the diversity factor when it comes to building a pool of talent.

In fact, diversity in the workplace is something that the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) actively promotes.

“Research has shown that well-managed diverse teams outperform homogeneous teams as they tend to be more creative, and effective at problem solving,” the government body said in its guide to managing workplace diversity.

The guide also enables organisations to assess their workplace diversity management levels.

Speaking to Channel News Asia, senior vice president for talent acquisition, group human resources at DBS Bank James Loo echoed MOM’s sentiments.

“Having a diverse pool of talent within the bank is a core strength for us,” he said.

“When you have a pool of talent with different backgrounds, from different disciplines, working cohesively towards a common vision and goal of the bank, this gives us tremendous strength as a bank.

“It allows us to see things from different perspectives, and take into consideration different viewpoints, and see things from different lenses, and allows us to make better decisions.”

So how can you ensure you are maximising your workplace diversity management?

By ensuring there is inclusion and cohesiveness between staff.

MOM offered some tips for how to be a more inclusive manager:
1.    Respect differences. Value the uniqueness of every individual.

2.    Keep an open mind. Be open to new ways and approaches and encourage your team to do so.

3.    Build self-awareness. Be aware of your own behaviour and beliefs and how they may affect the way you treat others. Be proactive in asking for feedback to understand other people’s point of view.

4.    Get to know your team members on an individual level. Be careful not to stereotype someone based on his/her profile. Get to know and understand your team members and adapt your management style to meet their needs.

5.    Acknowledge differences in communication styles and languages. Be mindful that some employees may have difficulty expressing themselves in our business language, English. Be attentive and take time to clarify any doubts. Be prepared to vary your communication style to communicate effectively with your team members if necessary. Consider enrolling these employees for English language courses.

6.    Make decisions based on team members’ abilities and task specifications. Avoid assigning projects, assessing performance, selecting training participants or assigning roles and responsibilities based on factors such as gender, nationality, culture, or age, unless specific traits are necessary to perform the job.

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