Diverse cultural perspectives can inspire creativity and drive innovation. Local market knowledge and insight makes a business more competitive and profitable. Diversity is a good thing because it’s the way to understand the world. Isaac Asimov said, “There are no nations! There is only humanity. And if we don’t come to understand that right soon, there will be no nations, because there will be no humanity”.Cultural sensitivity, insight, and local knowledge mean higher quality, targeted marketing. It helps dispel negative stereotypes and personal biases about different groups. In addition, cultural diversity helps us recognize and respect “ways of being” that are not necessarily our own so that as we interact with others we can build bridges to trust, respect, and understanding across cultures. A lot of companies consider lifestyles, personality characteristics, perspectives, opinions, family composition, education level or tenure elements of diversity, too.
Myanmar is one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the world. There are 135 official ethnic groups in Myanmar. The ethnic groups in Myanmar are usually geographically distinct. But by and large they tolerate and accept their differences. Speaking at the Forum on Diversity Management in the Age of Globalization in Nay Pyi Taw in 2017, Prof. Dr Walter Kaelin of University of Bern said,
So the state has a responsibility to manage that diversity in a way that all different communities can feel respected and included. On the same occasion Dr. Myint Thein, Writer Nyein Chan Lulin, said, “People with diversity in races, culture and religions are the pride of Myanmar. The country’s people struggled in the past and today we passed the democracy arch and our federal goal is in our sight”.
Myanmar is also known for its warm hospitality. Balancing diversity with harmony is something the Myanmar government continues to grapple with. The majority of the population (68%) is Burmese-speaking Bamars, descended from Indo-Tibetan nomads. These people dominate the government, the civil and military sectors of the country. Most tourist areas, including Yangon, Bagan, and Mandalay, are regions dominated by Bamar people.
Think of the human race as a whole; we are a very diverse species across the globe, with many different cultures, languages and beliefs. Why then, in this age of globalization, should we not focus on ensuring our workforces are just as diverse? In fact, diversity and inclusion often go hand in hand because the two are intertwined when it comes to cultivating your uniquely diverse and inclusive environment. One of the The Harvard Business Review articles says that diversity doesn’t stick without inclusion.
To appreciate diversity in a nation, at workplace and in other areas of society, awards have been instituted such as Excellence in Diversity & Inclusion in International Education, The Excellence in Diversity Awards and Global Diversity Award. The Excellence in Diversity Awards is held annually in various venues across the United Kingdom. The awards are honoured to individuals and organizations across five different sectors: Charity; Education; Housing; Public; and Private.
In other words one can say sameness breeds sameness. If you employ only heterogeneous groups – that is, employees who hail from similar cultures, perspectives, and socioeconomic circumstances – then you’re limiting your creativity and innovation. Conversely, employees from diverse backgrounds will bring diverse solutions to achieve a common goal – your goal. Diversity in cultures means diversity in skills and therefore products and service offerings. When companies recruit and retain a diverse pool of people, it brings about different benefits to the company as well as its employees. Employees in inclusive environments feel appreciated for their unique characteristics and therefore comfortable sharing their ideas and other aspects of their true and authentic selves.
Maureen Wild, certified business etiquette and workplace ethics seminar leader said, “When employees respect each other and get along in the workplace, it’s amazing how productivity increases, morale increases and employees are more courteous to customers.”
Diversity brings in different talents together, all of them working towards a common goal using different sets of skills. Having a wider range of skills and knowledge available to them, these companies often enjoy a more diverse and adaptable range of products and services that they can offer to their respective markets.
A workplace culture of diversity goes a long way toward helping your employees feel included, no matter who they are or where they come from. This inclusiveness helps break down barriers and reduces the fear of being rejected, not only for who your employees are, but for the ideas they voice. The Harvard Business Review recently published a research showing that, “… people like to fit in, so they are cautious about sticking their necks out. When we have a strong, homogeneous culture, we stifle the natural cognitive diversity in groups through the pressure to conform.” But diversity has its challenges as well. For instance, professionals from Asian countries such as Vietnam or Japan may feel less comfortable speaking up or sharing ideas, particularly if they are new to the team or in a more junior role. Conversely, assertive colleagues from the U.S. or Western Europe, or those from Scandinavian countries who emphasize flat organizational hierarchy, may be more inclined to speak up meetings or negotiations when others don’t.
Cultural diversity also improves insights and reduces racism. By enjoying a more culturally diverse workforce, it is often found that employees then spend more time in their daily lives with people from cultural backgrounds that they are often never exposed to. These are employees who will view the world differently, and who will apply their personal circumstances and experiences to contribute unique perspectives to benefit your company.The end result of this is that employees learn new cultural insights and this in turn, reduces negative emotions such as racism, homophobia, sexism and the like.
Looking to the big picture, a diverse workforce – employees of all abilities, creeds, and experiences – make a difference. Diversity is the chance to successfully develop your business in a global market. John F Kennedy rightly said, “If we cannot now end our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity”.