Embracing cultural diversity in the workplace

September 15, 2014 by Portia Mthembu 

In South Africa we’re very fortunate to live in a country that is culturally and linguistically diverse. Diversity enriches our lives and can have a profound impact in the workplace. For one, a workforce that is educated and tolerates differences in heritage has an increased success rate and teams with diverse individuals spur greater creativity.

In the ever-evolving global economy, diversity is also inevitable and so we’ve summed up a few ways your team can embrace diversity and look towards greater success:

Compile a diversity statement

A diversity statement recognizes and supports individual qualities that make each one of us unique. It shows your employees that you’re willing to embrace each person’s culture. A mixed team enables a more tolerant and motivated workplace.

Follow these guidelines to work out your company’s diversity statement.

Be open to talking about diversity

Naturally, people from different cultures will have differing working styles and will approach decision-making and accountability in different ways. Therefore, it is important to establish a facilitated discussion in which the human resources department can map out different approaches and clarify roles and responsibilities.

Consider incorporating language programmes

Good communication and the ability to effectively express ourselves are an important aspect for maintaining a happy workforce. Therefore, incorporating language training programmes within the workplace not only helps employees overcome communication barriers, but these programmes also contribute towards improving the skill set of  your workforce.

Learn more about the importance of good communication here.

Mix it up

Placing individuals with similar backgrounds in the same team can sometimes hamper the effectiveness of a team. But when team members are mixed up, greater opportunities for creativity, mentorship and growth can be experienced.

Host a “Friday Braai” get together

We know that South Africans love their braai meat and what better way to bring every employee together than to host a braai day?  Encourage each employee to prepare and bring their favourite braai dish. In this way, employees will have the opportunity to know one another better, while enjoying South Africa’s favourite past-time.

Host the perfect braai with these tips and tricks.

Compiled by Portia Mthembu, Who’s Who Web Content Administrator

Taking initiative in the workplace

September 11, 2014 by Portia Mthembu 

Taking initiative has become increasingly important in the ever-evolving work environment, not only for growing the organization but also, demonstrating your value at work. Thinking on your feet and taking action without being told, strongly correlates with personal achievement and professional Take actiondevelopment. Furthermore, showing initiative is a sign of your capacity to become a leader.

Therefore, what does it to spot opportunities that others have missed in the workplace and take advantage of them?

1. Be curious about the way the organization works and be open-minded to new ideas and possibilities.

Read the Simplex Process to learn how to identify opportunities and potential improvements.

2. Always be alert of ways to simplify processes and find new and better ways of doing things. Proactively suggest those ideas and be an example of implementing those processes.

3. Always think ahead. Justify likely obstacles with well-thought out plans that take the potential obstacles into consideration.

4. Be on the lookout for ways to save money and reduce costs.

5. Provide the questions you know are going to be asked beforehand. Think like your boss and take into account all deliverables from their perspective before you submit them.

Always review your work thoroughly or ask someone else to read through your work.

6. Always do your research and always be prepared. Read the material in advance, research the subject matter beforehand and immerse yourself fully on the topic at hand.

7. Deal with problems immediately. Take the necessary action, be decisive and put it all behind you as soon as possible.

8.Even when confronted with difficulties and setbacks, develop rational persistence to achieve what you’ve set out to do.

But remember that as important as it is to take initiative, it is just as important to be wise about when to take action. At certain instances it may be inappropriate to take initiative, especially if it involves generating too much work for people or when your idea will not be beneficial to the organization.

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Celebrating Heritage Day

September 10, 2014 by Portia Mthembu 

The month of September is an important one in the South African calendar as it is the time when the country’s cultural heritage is celebrated. On Heritage Day South Africans celebrate their individual heritage as well as the country’s rich diversity, an act that shapes the country’s national character and contributes towards building a “rainbow nation”.Wiki_Loves_Monuments

Coined National Braai Day, on September 24, South Africans are encouraged to come together and celebrate by taking part in a nationally recognised activity, namely braai. “We encourage all South Africans to unite around fires, share our heritage and wave the South African flag,” Braai.com writes.

Wiki Loves Monuments is another website that recognizes and celebrates the world’s heritage. Through a photographic competition, photography enthusiasts from around the world are called to submit photographs of monuments which can be taken from anywhere, at anytime around the world.

In celebration of Heritage Day, Wiki Loves Monuments ZA, the South African component of the international competition is also calling on members of the South African community to upload monuments from across the country. Again, photographs can be taken from anywhere and at anytime in South Africa. The only requirement is that all images are of a South African monument.

The competition runs until the end of September and you must have an account with Creative Commons to upload your photographs. For more terms and conditions visit Wiki Loves Monuments.

Read The Rainbow Nation to learn more about the significance of Heritage Day.

Compiled by Portia Mthembu, Online Content Administrator at Who’s Who