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How to Effectively Manage a Multicultural Workplace

At Extra Space Storage, we understand the advantages of fostering a multicultural workplace, and we’ve adopted diversity and inclusion-focused practices as a result.

Companies that create and maintain diverse workplaces have been consistently shown to outperform companies that don’t. In fact, multicultural workplaces tend to see higher productivity levels, more creativity, reduced employee turnover, and better overall profits. But companies can’t attain these benefits through diverse hiring practices alone; an inclusive management strategy is also needed.

Below are some tips that are helpful when creating inclusive management strategies for multicultural office environments and diverse teams.

Be Mindful of Personal Biases

A healthy multicultural workplace should celebrate differences, not disparage them. In practice, this means avoiding preferential treatment of one cultural outlook over another. Managers should also be aware of how their own personal biases and values might impact the standards they set for others. To ensure inclusivity, managers can offer to oversee dialogue between employees seeking to address misunderstandings, as well as between employees who want to better understand one another.

Develop Diverse Leadership

When companies only hire and promote one type of person, this can give off the impression that only people with similar backgrounds will be given the opportunity to advance. It’s good to remember that having a diverse management team is also important for creating a positive, multicultural workplace. One way companies can foster this advancement is through mentorship programs that give employees the chance to develop leadership skills and build helpful communication networks.

Ask for Feedback (& Be Willing to Listen)

Open communication is essential in a multicultural workplace. Leadership should give employees the opportunity to respond to company practices and listen when concerns are expressed. Managers should avoid defensive reactions when issues are brought up and should instead view them as an opportunity to make meaningful change within the company. After all, there’s no shame in admitting that adjustments need to be made, especially when the goal is to create a healthy environment.

Create a Zero-Tolerance Discrimination Policy

It’s one thing for workers to misunderstand each other. It’s another for them to explicitly engage in discriminatory or harmful behavior. This is why it’s good to instate company-wide nondiscrimination policies that outline what’s considered unacceptable behavior in a multicultural workplace. Managers that witness such behavior should take immediate action to protect the well-being of their staff.

Encourage Employee Connections

One of the best ways to manage a multicultural workplace is building strong relationships. This goes for both employees engaging with one another and for managers engaging with their employees. Through team-building activities, company networking events, and workplace committees, companies give employees opportunities to get to know everyone better and work together to solve problems.

Be an Ally

Allyship is the process of self-education and building trust with marginalized individuals or groups for the purpose of eliminating acts of oppression. To be an ally for underrepresented team members, leaders should educate themselves on cultural topics that are unfamiliar. Part of managing a multicultural workplace is recognizing that individuals experience things differently based on gender, race, and other multifaceted aspects of one’s background.

Extra Space Storage recently launched Everyday Allyship, a Diversity and Inclusion training aimed at helping leaders and employees use their power, influence, and voice for being an ally in the workplace. Learn more about our values and company culture.