Are You an Inclusive Employer?
Success factors and resources to help you build an inclusive and harmonious workplace
Singapore is a multi-racial and multi-cultural society where individuals from different cultures, ethnicity and religions interact with one another every day. Likewise, within the workplace, talent comes from different demographics and backgrounds. This is good for the businesses as it offers a greater wealth of experience, perspectives and ideas.
To leverage these differences, employers must be inclusive.
An inclusive workplace is important for organisations to achieve desired outcomes. It provides a harmonious work environment where employees have mutual respect and appreciation for one another, come together to leverage their diverse experiences and knowledge to co-create solutions. This cultivates a sense of psychological safety that facilitates innovation.
An inclusive work environment maximises complementarity and enhances knowledge and skills transfer between employees, which in turn develop workforce capabilities to achieve better business results.
Organisations with diversity and inclusive practices reported experiencing benefits such1:
- Enhanced ability to better attract, recruit and retain best talents.
- Increased creativity / innovation.
- Increased access to new markets.
- Increased company profits.
Here are some success factors to help you build an inclusive and harmonious workplace:
Recognise the Business Case
- Recognise the business benefits of an inclusive and harmonious workplace (e.g. improve staff retention) and work towards achieving the benefits.
- Be conscious about it and develop an implementation plan for your strategy.
Get Management Commitment
Senior management play an important role. They...
- Identify the relevant KPIs in diversity management and monitor the progress regularly.
- Set the tone for the organisation by communicating the importance of an inclusive and harmonious workplace. They also act as role models by participating in initiatives promoting an inclusive and harmonious workplace and demonstrating inclusive behaviours.
Get Everyone Involved...
…include HR, managers and employees. Competencies to build inclusive workplaces can be incorporated in the following HR practices:
Recruitment & performance management
In addition to adopting the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices (to recruit and select candidates based on merit and to reward employees fairly based on ability, performance, contribution and experience), HR and hiring managers can work together to identify the workplace diversity management values or competencies that are most important to your organisation (e.g. the ability to communicate sensitively). Incorporate these values or competencies into the recruitment and selection process to assess candidates. Key competencies such as the ability to work well with and manage a diverse team can also be part of the development plan.
Learning & development
- Employees and managers should be equipped with the knowledge and skills to be effective leaders of teams comprising employees from different profiles.
- New hires should also be made aware of the value of inclusion from the time they join in on-boarding programmes. The organisation norms, values and culture can be captured in an easy-to-access manner. New hires working in Singapore for the first time could be given an orientation package including relevant information about rental and housing, laws and regulations and social and cultural norms to facilitate their entry into the workplace and Singapore. For more effective communications among employees, it is important to highlight to them that English is the common working language in Singapore and over time, provide training for employees to enhance their proficiency in English.
Create Opportunities for Your Employees to Interact and Forge Bonds
- This can include formal and informal activities such as Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives and Family Day to facilitate interaction between employees of different profiles and departments.
- Workplaces can also be designed to create common spaces to allow employees to interact.
Track and Monitor Effectiveness
- Track the progress of your organisation's diversity management programme to evaluate if the objectives are met and to identify areas of improvement. Feedback can be gathered from employee surveys or during exit interviews on employees' awareness of diversity management initiatives, perceptions of policies / practices and senior management's commitment in supporting inclusion.
- Monitor the profile of your workforce for inclusivity in terms of age, race, gender, religion, marital status and disability in line with the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices.
Appoint your company's OneWorkplace.sg representative to gain access to a free diagnostic assessment of your company's workplace integration practices, and funding support from the National Integration Council to help your employees from different cultures and nationalities work better together. For more details, please visit the oneworkplace.sg.
1Creating an Inclusive Workplace. A Start-up Kit. (2012).