Imagine arriving, on your first day of work, at a company where everybody has different cultures and speak another language. They also have different religious, traditions and public holidays, that don't match yours.
The existing people have absolutely no understanding, of your religious, traditional, spiritual, cultural and family needs. Thus, when you ask for leave, to sort out “your issues” - they look at you, confused. They then speak amongst each other, and say "NO!" End of discussion.
After a while, more people - just like you - join the company. None of you feel welcome. So you form your own little side group. You know each other, and you understand each other. Yet, you may never really understand “them.”
Then your new group gathers together and gossips, about "Them!" Just as do they, about you.
By now, you have already learned their language. It is expected that you to speak it, at all times. So you do, as well as you can. And they snigger at your pronunciation and joke, amongst themselves. You try to understand their culture, but they're still clueless about yours.
And it gets worse. When there is a promotion, they choose from people like them. Or they advertise, and employ somebody, from their background. Whether you are skilled, or not, you are very seldom included, in a project team.
When all of this turns into anger and conflict, they just do not understand. They never did, and they never will. Sadly, our misunderstanding, of them, is just as bad.
Direct communication, between “them” and “us”, is practically zero. Soon unions are brought in, to ensure fairness.
Does this sound like your firm?
This scenario plays out every day, around the country, with so many people in similar situations. It can be fixed, through a willingness to change and focused workplace conflict resolution and diversity training.
Is your firm, welcoming, caring, understanding and open to diversity? Do you need to change?
Brian V Moore
8, January, 2016
Mobile: +27 79 643 4457