How to Create a Culturally Inclusive Work Environment

Provide a thorough orientation:

  • Ensure your orientation includes the organization’s vision, mission, values, structure, teams, and staff members; and identify with diversity roles in the workplace.
  • Introduce policies affecting the workplace such as diversity policies, human rights, anti-discrimination, anti-harassment, and other employee safeguards.
  • Clarify workplace values including how teams and management work together and operate.
  • Provide written instructions on how to access phone, voicemail, internet and internal file directories, etc.
  • Develop a training plan outlining daily and/or weekly objectives, responsibilities and scheduled check-ins.

Help new immigrant employees adjust to the Canadian workplace:

  • Before the new hire arrives, familiarize yourself with potential cultural differences, to help ease their orientation and better prepare your organization for success.
  • Provide a peer-buddy from the same culture, a mentor of any background or a supervisor who is available for questions and support.
  • Provide sector-specific English language training or subsidize the cost of language training outside the workplace.

Develop a workplace that embraces culture:

  • Host monthly company luncheons and holiday events, enabling employees to practice their English and build relationships with their peers.
  • Regularly update equity policies, recruiting processes and training procedures to ensure that diversity initiatives remain current.
  • Train all employees in culture competency and how to communicate in a diverse workplace.

Provide opportunities for ongoing development:

  • Include opportunities for individual development as well as team-building and workshops to help foster skills for working with diverse teams.
  • Offer mini-workshops or sponsor courses to improve communication skills such as report writing, giving presentations, accent reduction or business English.
  • Examine your workplace signage and internal/employee communications to ensure they are culturally inclusive.
  • Train all supervisors on effective performance review practices, and work with employees to develop action plans for their goals and ensure employees are acknowledged for their work achievements.

The above content was adapted from IEC-BC.

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