Fostering communication in a diverse workplace requires emotional intelligence, committed listening, and openness to new and different workplace practices. The following example focuses on workplace diversity, but most of us could describe incidents involving cross-generational, ethically diverse or skilled teams.
Through a strategic US partnership, a large hospital in Qatar has US staff on temporary assignment. One such US transferee recently arrived in Doha to become the hospital’s head of recruiting. She had heard of Qatar’s laws giving preferential employment treatment such as promotions and non-termination rights to Qatari citizens. While concerned about potential discrimination issues, experience had taught her to reserve judgment.
Upon starting work in Doha, though, she quickly learns that the nationalization program- Qatarization was effectively a quota system that seemed to disregard person’s capabilities for a job. Given the imperative of hiring highly qualified staff, she planned to propose to senior management that they adopt and follow US hiring standards and practices.
Reporting directly to her is a local recruiter who had studied HR in the U.K. Upon learning of her supervisors plan to change the recruiting policy, the recruiter respectfully and delicately informs her that Qatar’s nationalization programs are similar to UK positive action policies and US affirmative action programs. She further explains that Qatari citizens are actually a minority in their country due to disproportionately large number of foreign temporary workers. Thus the laws in effect support a minority group, much like UK laws and US.
By explaining a core HR concept using examples and terms familiar to her manager, the recruiter is helping the new boss better understand the history and rational of the country’s laws. While the new manager has still some concerns about the laws, she can now at least make a more informed business decision.
Reference: SHRM BOCK, 2017, class discussion only.
Group Discussion Activity
1) If you were given the position of HR recruiter in Qatar, what policy and practice you would have followed to ensure diversity at work?
2) Give your suggestions for improving cultural intelligence or cultural training for HR managers before hiring and recruiting.
3) What are the main take away points from this study of cross cultural and diverse teams.
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