Karen Loon was interviewed by Human Resources Director on the HR challenge.

Being culturally inclusive naturally presents a challenge for already stressed-out HR leaders. There are so many rules and regulations when it comes to employee conditions that adding additional layers of procedures can be overwhelming.

Still, if you get the basics right, the rest should follow.

“There are three ways to support diverse employees in your organisation,” said Karen Loon, non-executive director.

“The first is through being a sponsor or advocate for diverse team members. The second way is by creating career development programs and pathways to leadership opportunities, and thirdly, you can create an open environment of psychological safety where all employees feel comfortable to discuss issues related to cultural or gender diversity, and any questions or concerns they might have. Leaders play an essential role in shaping inclusive workplace cultures through their day-to-day behaviours.”

Any environment where people can speak freely, with respect, and are encouraged to be themselves, will create a harmonious culture and one where people will want to be. If the C-suite executives are leading from the front, then it will have an impact on everyone else within the organisation.

 

“Visible commitment to diversity is essential, as it sets the tone for the right behaviours of the organisations,” Loon said. “However, to me, inclusiveness and diversity should be much more than a celebration. It should become part of the underlying culture of each organisation where people feel that they belong and are valued, no matter who they are and their perspectives. Leaders need not only be aware of bias and be culturally aware but collaborate and demonstrate humility and curiosity.”