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Creating a Culturally Safe Workplace

The Diversity Professionals

Copyright DiversiPro Inc.

Creating safe, inclusive environments in the workplace demands commitment and effort, and requires people to step out of their comfort zones

A culturally safe workplace is safe for people; where there is no assault, challenge or denial of their identity, of who they are and what they need.

It is about shared respect, shared meaning, shared knowledge and experience, of working together with dignity, and truly listening.

Pate said that ensuring diversity and inclusion is a process that requires leveraging differences to be more creative. Referring to The Inclusion Breakthroughby Frederick A. Miller and Judith H. Katz, he said, Inclusive organizational cultures leverage diversity by creating an environment with a broader bandwidth of acceptable styles of behavior and appearance, thereby encouraging a greater range of available paths to success.

Working toward these goals forces institutions and individuals to be more culturally competent, an experiential understanding and acceptance of the beliefs, values, and ethics of others as well as the demonstrated skills necessary to work with and serve diverse individuals and groups, saysEddie Pate, vice president of diversity and inclusion at Avanade Inc., It requires acquiring knowledge of different cultures and exposing oneself to something different, creating an environment in which diversity conversations are legitimate, and where people feel comfortable talking about who they are, he said.Copyright DiversiPro Inc.

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Bad behaviour in the workplace is in the news a lot these days.But as we know bad behavioureven illegal behaviourcan happened outside the workplace.2Its Everyones Responsibility

Copyright DiversiPro Inc.Managers, supervisors and frontline workerseveryonecannot play deaf, blind and dumb. Creating a culturally safe workplace is everyones responsibility.3Inclusive organizational cultures leverage diversity by creating an environment with a broader bandwidth of acceptable styles of behaviour and appearance, thereby encouraging a greater range of available paths to success. Eddie Pate, VP diversity and inclusion, Avanade Inc.Copyright DiversiPro Inc.Eddie Pate, vice president of diversity and inclusion at Avanade Inc. had this to say

It also requires acquiring knowledge of different cultures and exposing oneself to something different, creating an environment in which diversity conversations are legitimate, and where people feel comfortable talking about who they are.4R.E.S.P.E.C.T

ResponsibilityEveryoneSpecialPositiveEmpathyCaringThinkingOn Click Animated VersionCopyright DiversiPro Inc.The bottom line isit comes down to respect. This is what respect means to me:

Responsibility: Take personal responsibility . You cannot control the actions of others, only your own. Being responsible means being aware of your behaviour and attitudes and how you interact with others.Everyone: Be inclusive in how you show respect. Sometimes we are more respectful to those we perceive as being our equal or who are superior to us. Everyone deserves to be treated respectfully regardless of their status in the organizationSpecial: We are unique bewe are special in our own way..Recognizing our uniqueness and the things that make each of us special will engender even greater fairness and respect. Seeing individuals as special forces us to act and think differently Positive: Being respectful towards another person shouldnt be a chore. Approach it with a positive attitude, knowing that your actions will be rewarded by mutual respect .Having a positive attitude allows us to be open to change and learning.Empathy: A growing body of research has identified the decline of empathy. As the gap between the haves and those who dont have enough widens, so too is the empathy gapEmpathy is not the same as sympathy: Empathy allows us to walk in someone elses shoe, live in someone elses skin. Care: We are each others keeper. Caring is a contact sportit means reaching out and touching someone. That may be a gentle touch on the shoulder of someone whos having a bad day. Or even a virtual touch that shows we understanding.Think: We should always be mindful always thinking about how our actions (or inactions) may negatively affect others. In this social media driven, always-on world, we need to stop and take time to think about how we are interacting with others and how that interaction enables or disables others.

5CultureValues, beliefs, attitudes, traditions, and standards of behaviour that govern the organization of people into social groups and regulate both individual and group behaviour.Copyright DiversiPro Inc.Culture are those values, beliefs, attitudes traditions and expectedBehaviours we simply take for in and day out.Culture are those written and unwritten rules that we all abide by..In many ways culture is who we are.

But its not only about national culturesThere are organizational culturesWhat is your organizational culture?

6Copyright DiversiPro Inc.

Notion of modestyWorldviewsApproach to familyConcept of personal spaceReligious beliefs Concept of selfRules of Kinships/relationships Concept & importance of timeMusic Arts Celebrations TraditionsCustoms Language SymbolsGender rolesTempo of workLearning stylesThere are the more observable aspects of culture..And there that are below the surface..We are more open to forgiving mistakes made for those observable aspectsNot so..for those deeper aspects of culture(below the waterline aspects shape who we are)7Geert Hofstede" Culture is more often a source of conflict than of synergy. Cultural differences are a nuisance at best and often a disaster."Copyright DiversiPro Inc.Hofstede is an influentialorganizational sociologist, who studied the interactions betweennationalculturesandorganizational cultures.

He warned about the mine field of culture

Hofstede's study demonstrated that there are national and regional cultural groupings that affect the behaviour of societies and organizations

Hofstede's research gives us insights into other cultures so that we can be more effective when interacting with people from other countries.

If understood and applied properly, this information should reduce your level of frustration and anxiety

8Cultural IntersectionsCopyright DiversiPro Inc.The workplace is where many cultures intersect. Although it can be a rewarding place to grown and learnthe workplace can be a source of tremendous tension.Thats because it is where three important cultures --- values and beliefs intersect.

9National CultureShared understanding based on the beliefs, values, attitudes, andbehavioursthat form the heritage of a nation state. Copyright DiversiPro Inc.Affects the fundamental way individuals experience theworld, including their understandings of governance, leadership, and values.

National cultureinforms the way groups establish inter-group or interpersonal hierarchies, beliefs about thedistribution of wealth, strength of the political structures, the inclusion or exclusion of minorities,and so on.

10Organizational Culture Sharedinstitutional beliefs, values, and a guiding philosophy, which are usually expressed in vision,mission, and value statements.

Copyright DiversiPro Inc.Organizational culture includes many processes, such ashiring, communication, sector identity, planning, sharing ideas, safety, training, orientation,informal socializing, resolving conflict, and so on.

these values are often expressed and monitored through policies,bylaws, processes, and procedures. Many of these aspects of organizationalculture, that emerge as the history of the organization unfolds, are guided by deeply held valuesand beliefs that lie below the surface and may feel like common sense to those who part of thein group.11Personal CultureThe integration of individual traits, skills, and personality formedwithin ethnic, racial, familial, and educational environments.Copyright DiversiPro Inc.Mindbugs

Copyright DiversiPro Inc.What are Mind-bugs?In the book Blindspot.the developers of the Implicit Association Test refers to Mindbugs.The unconscious defects in the way humans think and make decisions. For example:- We believe we have figured out the way things areregardless of evidence to the contraryand dont grasp the contradictions between our view and reality.- We justify conclusions that serve our interests.- We do not see the limitations in our point of view and want to win arguments without examining whether there are problems with our own thoughts.


Copyright DiversiPro Inc.Here is a visual demonstration of mindbugsthe dimensions of the two table tops are identicalthey may not seem to be..but they are14

Copyright DiversiPro Inc.Copyright DiversiPro Inc.

I often use these photographs to illustrate how people can have different stories..Some people say the individuals on the right are camping.and crossing a river.Others say the person on the left is fleeing a disaster.

What is the story behind these two photographs?16(AP Photo/Dave Martin)A young man walks through chest deep flood water after looting a grocery store in New Orleans on Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2005. Flood waters continue to rise in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina did extensive damage when it made landfall on Monday.

Copyright DiversiPro Inc.


(AFP/Getty Images/Chris Graythen)

Two residents wade through chest-deep water after finding bread and soda from a local grocery store after Hurricane Katrina came through the area in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Copyright DiversiPro Inc.18Copyright Diver


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