November 16th marks the International Day for Tolerance, so it seems like a good time to discuss how to build and maintain tolerance in the workplace and why we at Persona feel that a diverse work force is key to the overall success of our business.
Any organization depends on its employees working well together if it is going to thrive. The ability to share ideas, discuss projects, and generally respect one another is directly related to the ability of the team to reach their full potential.
Offer education about the link between respect and collaboration.
When employees are struggling to set aside their differences, take the time to teach them about how respect affects collaboration. It is okay to remind them that their job depends on their work performance and that their performance is affected by their ability to work with others.
If necessary, invite an outside business consulting firm in to talk to your employees about the necessity of tolerance. Often, they will offer workshops that you, as an employer, can make mandatory.
Lead your team by example.
You are the person your employees will look to for cues on appropriate workplace behavior. Think about the current examples you set. If you are happy and fun at work, odds are your employees are, also. If you struggle with arriving on time in the morning, you might find that a few of your employees also are frequently tardy.
Just as they gain good and bad examples from you, they will also learn tolerance. Be compassionate and understanding with your employees at all times, don’t tolerate nor engage in hate speech or discriminatory actions, and let them see you treat all your employees as equals. By this example, a clear statement of your expectations can be sent without the need for verbal reminders.
Set clear expectations for your employees.
Your employee handbook should have a clear statement about disciplinary actions that will be taken when employees refuse to get along. Hate speech, sexist remarks, and all other discriminatory behavior should be forbidden.
Hold everyone accountable.
There should always be steep disciplinary action for anyone that shows intolerance for a co-worker in the workplace. Whether you will write this employee up, force them to attend a training seminar, or even terminate them, the choice is yours.
Set a standard for tolerance and then stick to it. Everyone deserves to feel safe and welcome in their work environment and those who thrive on making others feel unwelcome will only damage your company’s ability to retain employees, perform at its highest functionality, and build rapport.
Here at Persona, we pride ourselves on a versatile work force full of unique individuals of different interests and skills. We know that, together, we can do a job better than we ever could divided.