Racial discrimination, wherever it exists, has never been a good thing for anyone. You might think that working people must be mature enough to understand that race is not something to laugh or degrade others with, but sadly, even in the workplace of grown-ups and adults, racial discrimination actually can still exist.
When people make fun, take advantage, humiliate, mistreat and underestimate others because of the race they belong to, that is considered racial discrimination. An atmosphere with this bias in the workplace affects work, the employees and their relationships with each other and the employees’ relationship to you--the employer.
It is good to think ahead before you begin managing employees. You must already be alert for the possible occurrence of racial discrimination in the workplace. This will be a good read for you as I list 6 ways by which you can prevent the event of racial discrimination in your company. If you’ve already known that there is such in your company, this will also be helpful for you to know how to get rid of it; it’s not too late!
Here a 6 ways to prevent racial discrimination in your company, in your workplace.
#1 - IT STARTS WITH YOU
Racial discrimination in the company, if not from the employees, mainly comes from the employer. You are the boss, the manager, thus, you are the role model of your employees. Although they have their own thoughts and will, you highly influence them.
Avoiding racial discrimination should begin with you, the boss. You can begin with diversity when in comes to hiring people in your company. There’s no point in mainly choosing hires based on their race. It’s a factor to consider, especially for jobs that strictly require a specific nationality, but not at all times. When you hire employees, don’t put race as a standard. It’s great to have different kinds of people coming from different corners of the world working together with you.
#2 - LET RULES RULE
Even before some employees get the chance to highlight others’ races, let them know that there are rules to be followed. Make an anti-discrimination rule as one of them. First and foremost, explain to them the reason for posting this policy, then tell them the consequences to be received by those employees who will promote and magnify racial discrimination in the workplace in any way.
If necessary and helpful, give warnings sanctions based on the degree of the racial discrimination acts. Since one can discriminate another based on race in terms of disheartening words, deceiving motives, physical abuse, work inequality and many more, the punishments must vary. Whatever degree one’s discriminating act might be, there must be a penalty.
#3 - MENTOR AND GUIDE
Employees have different personalities and attitudes. Some might easily comply with rules you give, however, there are some who are stubborn or too careless. There are hard-headed employees who have a hard time controlling themselves when it comes to mentioning something about races. Some are just insensitive to feel and understand.
Conducting seminars and trainings could be one way to handle these kinds of people. The aim of such programs is to remind the employees of the proper manners at work and the right attitude at work in the workplace with workmates. They must learn something that’ll make them change for the better. You can also start short heart-to-heart talks with all employees and kindly give advice to the offender and the offended. In that way, you can subtly or directly smash in front of the offenders’ faces that racial discrimination is not accepted and not tolerated in your company.
#4 - TAKE TURNS TALK
Be an approachable boss so that employees who experience racial discrimination at work won’t be afraid to open up and so that witnesses of such prejudice won’t be scared to report and give information. See to it that you establish a comfortable atmosphere for your employees to be able to share their thoughts and experiences. Victims of racial discrimination need someone to vent to.
Encourage open communication because those who are discriminated might feel unsafe and very uncomfortable in the workplace. Talk to them; know their concerns. Give them pieces of advice, and work it out on the other employees so that racial discrimination won’t grow bigger. Managing a group discussion among employees might help as well. It would be a good time to raise important concerns and talk about them properly.
#5 - STRENGTHEN BONDS
Team building is definitely an important part of the lives of your employees. Organize out of town team building activities; it’s a good time for everyone to bond. You can also do it in the office. Do activities or games that will require teamwork and individual efforts. Don’t let employees choose their teammates. For fairness, draw lots is good, but if you really have the motive to avoid racial discrimination, group them by your own choice based on diversity. In one group, let there be different races. In that way, each one’s potential will be more recognized and highlighted. They will get to know more of each other too.
Activities that require competitiveness bring out a part of every person which isn’t expressed in paperwork and daily reports. Team building shows more skills, boosts confidence and develops relationships. For everyone to appreciate everyone regardless of race, you must let them see and experience that everybody has his/her own gifts, and race doesn’t matter when receiving such gifts from above.
#6 - RECOGNIZE EFFORTS, NOT RACE
Giving a task to someone assuming that he/she can do it best because of his/her race is a big no-no. If it’s a task not requiring any nationality, then don’t restrain any employee to do it. Don’t conclude with stereotypes. Put “race” out of the criteria for judging whether a certain employee must be recognized. Performance, efforts and outcomes are the basis. Race has nothing to do with someone’s ability to finish a task quickly. Be free to appreciate everyone’s work without questioning one’s successful task because of his/her race. Give promotions fairly! Never ever promote just because of one’s race. Never demote just because of one’s race. Never deprive anyone deserving to get promoted to be really promoted. Recognize hard work and not race.
Truly, racial discrimination is one of the big illnesses one company could have. It can affect your company -- its performance, progress, productivity and product. Most especially and most negatively, it can affect your employees -- their performance, progress, productivity and product. Racial discrimination can affect their lives entirely; they can lose confidence, self-esteem, interest and motivation. Negativity is all it has to offer.
Don’t let racial discrimination get in your company and in your workplace. If it has already arrived, do something to push it out. As an employer, you’re the one who is most responsible for this. If you’re a discriminator of races, your employees might find it unproblematic and accepted, so be mindful of your thoughts, decisions and values.
If it’s just about race, you don’t have to make an effort reading résumés, interviewing applicants, conducting tests just to find the best ones; you can just sit down and call a certain race instead. --- But no, that’s not what you do because you know well that work is about what your heart wants to do and what your mind and body can contribute and not about what runs in your blood.
Nicole Ann Pore is a daytime writer for HR Dept AUS, an Australian company providing HR assistance, support and services for various kinds of business needing help in their establishment and growth. Nicole writes about work essentials both for employees and for employers. She enjoys writing about anything related to Human Resources, its various roles, its function for the company’s success and the Psychology that goes with it.