An obvious conception developed in recent years is that, contemporary organisations are becoming increasingly universal, reflecting the universal trait of the economy. In agreeing to this notion, it follows that organizational competitiveness and success will depend on the capability to effectively manage diversity in the workplace.

In the articles that were recently issued by Times of Malta and the Malta Chamber following data presented by the education Minister Evarist Bartolo, a total of 34,157 foreigners were registered working in Malta by September 2016. It is statistically proven, that foreigners have become one of the driving forces, pushing up Malta’s population figures which amount to around 6% of the island’s population and which is almost double the number of people currently living in Gozo. Such boom is a representation that our workforce is becoming increasingly diverse - having individuals relocating from diverse countries such as Italy, UK, Hungary, Bulgaria, Serbia, and Romania among others.

In layman's terms, diversity covers the differences in age, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, beliefs and educational background among other obvious measures, however diversity technically goes beyond this as it incorporates the notion of how people perceive themselves and others. These perceptions often affect people’s interactions, and issues related to communication, adaptability and change arise – issues that organisations need to deal with effectively to ensure that diversity adds value to their operations. It is only through this that true employee well-being and engagement can be harnessed in contemporary workplaces.

Promoting and supporting diversity in the workplace is a significant characteristic of good people management, it’s about appreciating everyone in the organisation as an individual. However, to reap the benefits of a diverse workforce it’s vital to have an inclusive environment where everyone is able to participate and achieve their full potential. Research shows that diverse organizations are in fact, not only more innovative and smarter, but also more efficient at employee retention and profitability.

The advantages of a diverse workplace are multi-fold. From different cultural and work ethic backgrounds, experiences and work practices, a diverse workplace helps foster creativity and increased readiness for change. Employees from different cultural backgrounds contribute to more effective decision-making and problem-solving, while also offering a range of perspectives, a broad spectrum of expertise and a more robust process for critical evaluation - the Gaming industry is in fact a clear representation of such.

While some organizations believe that as society becomes more diverse, the workplace will adapt and diversity would just transpire, we now know that for a change to take place, employers need to take action. Gaming companies, but also many other local organizations are recognizing the importance of taking said action. The introduction of different multi-culturally led team building activities are effective and a fun exercise that promotes an appreciation of diversity.

Successful organizations recognize the need for action and are ready and willing to spend resources on managing diversity in the workplace. However, whilst many realize the importance and value of diversity at work, some are unsure as to how to turn their good intentions into the necessary policies, plans and practices needed to build and sustain a dynamic and inclusive workplace. Needless to say, a strategy must be created and implemented to create a culture of diversity that infuses every department and function of the organization. Additionally, the execution of the strategy shall not be treated as an HR function alone, however managers are to commit fully and authentically.

When managers are attuned to the necessary skills and practices needed for guiding a diverse team, and when all employees apprehend the workplace’s culture and values and their role within it, a better ‘fit’ is achieved and employee engagement increases. Organizations that take diversity seriously and implement effective integration strategies have bigger success in attaining optimal employee performance and retention of staff.

Diversity has brought change, and the most powerful route to change begins in creating a healthy environment whereby honest and open conversations are promoted. A good place to start is to take a healthy stock of whether your company is ready to embrace diversity and turn it into an advantage whilst diminishing the polarization that surrounds it and its correlation. Its promotion and inclusion in the workplace is a constant work in progress, and it should be maintained and nurtured in order to be effective.

Charlene Debattista

IT & iGaming Assistant Recruitment Manager

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