Internationalising work communities as a resource
This section contains basic information related to an internationalising and culturally diverse work communities, as well as practical tips and links to how diversity is encountered and managed in the work community and how diversity can be harnessed as a resource.
Benefit from the international work community
More and more Finnish workplaces employ representatives of several cultures and work communities are becoming increasingly international.
In the workplace, the characteristics of the cultures of the locals, the workplace and the employee will then meet. The internationality and multiculturalism of the work community have many advantages for the organisation, especially when they are managed correctly.
Different people bring with them new ways of thinking. The multicultural work community is often richer and more creative than other work communities in their thoughts, perspectives, and know-how. Multiculturalism can improve the company’s services and increase customer satisfaction. For example, the employee is familiar with the habits of customers belonging to their own culture when it comes to products and services.
Tools for supervisors to support multicultural workplaces
Multiskills! A model for developing workplace skills in multicultural workplaces
This guide for supervisors provides concrete tips to help the workplace make better use of the employees’ know-how. In multicultural workplaces, in addition to professional competence, so-called workplace skills are needed. They are based on shared understanding and language. Workplace skills mean a shared understanding of workplace practices and common operating methods. In a multicultural work community, the development of workplace skills is emphasised due to the varying language skills and diverse cultural backgrounds of the employees.
The guide contains the Multiskills! form to support the work of the supervisor. It helps the supervisor to talk with the employee about workplace skills and how to develop them.
Employer’s Diversity Guide
The Diversity Guide for Working Life, published by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, provides information, concrete models, and tools for how diversity and inclusiveness can be promoted in the workplace. The guide helps when employers recruit immigrants either from Finland or abroad. It also provides advice on how to get employees to engage in diverse work communities.
In the light of research, the interactive guide concretises the best ways to support diversified work communities and is suitable for both private and public employers. You can find the guide at this link: Employer Diversity Guide TEM by Nordic… Flipsnack
Checklist — How do I manage diversity?
- Treat employees as equals — discrimination is illegal. Equal, fair treatment motivates everyone to do their best and strengthens trust in the work community.
- Use a wide range of recruitment channels to reach a wide range of job seekers.
- In the recruitment situation, evaluate the job seeker based on his/her skills. A person’s gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, religion, or ethnic background do not limit their ability to work, on the contrary, diversity is an asset.
- Prepare the work community in advance to receive a new employee. Orientation is a two-way, interactive process.
- Plan the tasks and related arrangements according to the employee’s skills and functional capacity together with them.
- Look at the workplace from an accessibility perspective for both employees and customers. An accessible working environment and accessible services can often be achieved with just minor changes.
- In the performance appraisal discussion, talk about issues related to equality and non-discrimination in the work community, for example, ask about experiences of discrimination and attitudes.
Multiculturalism in the work community
Multiculturalism in the work community can be seen as an opportunity and a resource instead of a challenge. The challenges of multiculturalism are overcome when the whole organisation commits to and demonstrates tolerance.
The starting point for a diverse work community is equal treatment of workers. The utilisation of diversity requires understanding, acceptance, and appreciation of diversity. It is the responsibility of supervisors and each individual to ensure that a culture that allows and utilises diversity is created in the workplace. Diversity is a resource that promotes the development of policies and services.
Source: Diversity, equality and equality in the workplace — The Centre for Occupational Safety (ttk.fi)
Multicultural and international work communities are supported by
- appreciation of diversity and as open interaction as possible
- absolute prohibition of discriminatory or racist behaviour
- the fact that members of the work community are familiar with each other’s cultural background (language, religion, customs, political situation)
- language skills (including those from the dominant culture)
- common operational guidelines and rules: what is desirable and what is undesirable behaviour
- good meeting practices and appropriate communication methods, equipment and software, and connections
- in joint events, communication in a language that everyone understands and making sure that essential and important things are understood correctly.