July 23, 2023

Embracing Cultural Diversity: A Key to Success in the New Zealand Workplace.

Learn more about how to embrace cultural diversity in the workplace and how to utilise this valuable asset for your business success in today's globalised world
Embracing Cultural Diversity: A Key to Success in the New Zealand Workplace.

New Zealand, a land of breathtaking landscapes and rich cultural heritage, has witnessed a significant rise in ethnic diversity over the years. With over 160 different ethnic groups with over 100 individuals captured in the 2018 census, the nation's work environments must adapt to this evolving landscape. The five largest ethnic groups in New Zealand - New Zealand European, Maori, Chinese, Samoan, and Indian - have contributed to the multicultural fabric of the country. 

Embracing cultural diversity is not only a legal requirement but also a valuable asset for businesses striving for success in today's globalised world. In this article, we will explore the value of cultural diversity in the New Zealand workplace and understand why it is essential for businesses to foster an inclusive environment.

Understanding the Cultural Diversity of Your Community

As the ethnic diversity of New Zealand continues to grow, particularly in cities like Auckland, it is crucial for workplaces to acknowledge and celebrate this diversity. Almost 40% of Aucklanders were born overseas, reflecting the multicultural essence of the city. To create a thriving work environment, businesses must recognise and respect the cultural backgrounds, traditions, and values of their employees.

Share the Vision - Explaining the Importance of Cultural Diversity for Your Business

As an accredited employer, when hiring migrant workers into your workforce, it is necessary for you to help them integrate and adjust to their new country as well as your workplace. However if you neglect to promote why cultural diversity is a positive thing within your current workforce you may not be doing enough to create a positive working environment. 

Employers should communicate the valuable reasons behind embracing cultural diversity within the company. It could be driven by the desire to connect with a diverse client base, gain fresh perspectives from culturally diverse teams, expand into global markets with cultural sensitivity, or access a broader talent pool. Sharing the company's rationale will help unite employees towards the common goal of inclusivity.

Build Your Team's Cultural Knowledge

A team that is unaware of its different cultures’ customs and beliefs can be a significant barrier to positive cultural diversity in the workplace. Businesses that invest in educating their workforce about New Zealand's ethnic makeup and the cultural norms can create a more unified, inclusive team. 

Initiatives such as workshops, seminars, and training sessions on cultural awareness can promote sensitivity and mutual respect among colleagues. 

Building a strong inclusive company culture through social interactions & events can also help employees to adopt a positive and helpful attitude towards each other, embracing the new experiences that come with having diverse cultures in the workplace. Recognising and celebrating cultural or religious days within your team can be a great starting point. 

Building a strong inclusive work culture

Make it Clear: Cultural Discrimination is Unacceptable

While laws in New Zealand prohibit discrimination, it is the responsibility of organisations to create a work culture that is truly inclusive. Company policies, values, and day-to-day actions will define whether the work environment fosters a positive experience for all cultures. Leaders should emphasise that any form of discrimination, no matter how subtle, is unacceptable. From seemingly harmless jokes to exclusion from informal gatherings, every employee must understand that their actions impact the workplace environment.

Understanding Cultural Norms as a Starting Point

Cultural norms act as a guide to socially acceptable behaviour within a particular community. Recognising and respecting these norms is fundamental to creating a respectful and inclusive workplace. 

Understanding what colleagues eat, wear, and how they interact is a good starting point for employees to show respect for diverse cultures. By appreciating and embracing these cultural differences, businesses can build a harmonious work environment that values everyone's unique contributions.

Tips For Fostering Cultural Supportive Workplace. 

To ensure skilled migrant workers feel welcome and valued in your work community, it is essential to celebrate their differences. As an employer, leading by example and embracing diverse cultures will encourage your workforce to do the same, promoting a sense of acceptance and inclusion. Here are some tips and ideas to help increase your chances of success. 

Include & Support their Families

Recognise that your business is not just an organisation to make profits or deliver services; it is a living organism where people spend a significant portion of their time away from their families. Demonstrating inclusion and support for the families and partners of migrant workers can have a positive impact on their overall well-being and job satisfaction.

By organising events such as family-friendly BBQs or gatherings and inviting families to attend, you create a sense of belonging and comfort for your migrant workers. This, in turn, fosters loyalty to your company, contributes to a happier working environment, and provides greater job security for your valued employees.

Supporting migrants families

Offer Language Support and Communication

Language barriers can sometimes be a challenge for new migrant workers, affecting their ability to fully integrate into the workplace. Providing language support, such as language courses or translation assistance, can greatly facilitate communication and understanding among employees.

Encourage a welcoming and patient attitude from your existing staff when interacting with colleagues who are still improving their language skills. This will create an environment where everyone feels respected and valued, fostering stronger bonds among team members.

Establish Mentorship Programs

Pairing new migrant workers with experienced employees as mentors can significantly ease their transition into the workplace. Mentors can provide guidance, support, and help navigate the company's culture and processes. This kind of support can make a huge difference in helping new employees feel at ease and motivated in their roles.

Providing Settlement Support & Services For Your Migrants

Immigration NZ requires accredited employers hiring migrant workers to provide information that covers essential aspects of living and working in New Zealand, including how to find somewhere to live, get an IRD number, use public transport, and access healthcare services.

At Malcolm Pacific Immigration we provide you with an accredited employer app that provides you with all the information you need to cover to support your migrant workers. Our ten core courses within the app help your meet the Immigration NZ requirements, they include:

  • How to Get an IRD Number 
  • Industry Education and Training 
  • Workplace Health and Safety 
  • Accommodation 
  • Costs of Living 
  • Transport 
  • How to Apply for a New Zealand Driver License 
  • Healthcare Services
  • Community Group Services
  • Citizens Advice Bureau Services

Each course includes questions to confirm that the employee can comprehend the information provided and can be used as evidence to ensure you meet the requirements. 

The Bottom Line

Cultural diversity in the New Zealand workplace is not just about meeting legal requirements but about fostering a culture of inclusion, respect, and innovation. Embracing diversity enriches organisations with a wealth of perspectives, ideas, and talents that contribute to their success in an increasingly globalised world. 

By understanding the cultural diversity of their community, sharing the vision behind inclusivity, promoting cultural knowledge, and rejecting any form of discrimination, businesses can create a vibrant and dynamic workplace where every employee feels valued and empowered. 

And from the migrant’s point of view the transition period between countries can be a stressful one for both your employees and their families, but when done well, you are gaining a loyal employee who is determined to make the best out of this move for themselves as well as your business. Everyone wins! 

Contact Malcolm Pacific Immigration’s Employer Services for more information

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