Helping Ethnically Diverse Staff Thrive

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Did you know ethnically diverse staff face challenges daily and may be less likely to have their voices heard?

Suki Xiao from As You shares her lived experience and the common challenges that ethnically diverse people face in the workplace, along with tips for allyships with employers, managers and leaders, in her upcoming webinars with Engineering New Zealand Diversity Agenda and HRNZ.

Ethnically diverse staff face unique challenges that are different than the majority in your workplace. To be an ally in diversity, equity and inclusion means acknowledging these different lived experiences and deliberately helping build an inclusive culture.

Suki Xiao

Challenges that ethnically diverse staff face

One of the top challenges that ethnically diverse staff face is, the pressure to conform, i.e.: the pressure to be like the majority; whether that is in their behaviours, looks or interests. You may even see them devaluing or hiding their cultural heritage in order to fit in.

Another challenge that ethnically diverse staff face is the lack of role modelling. “It’s hard for these staff to find relatable role models that look and sound like them, because representation at the top is little. This in turn makes ethnically diverse staff question whether they have got what it takes to make it to the top when others have failed” says Suki.

On top of self-doubt, ethnically diverse staff often get stereotyped or typecast into certain roles which impacts on how they are being perceived and the range of opportunities they get access to.

What you can do as an ally

As You recommends that the first thing you can do as an ally, is to acknowledge that ethnically diverse staff face different challenges than the majority of staff. Not everyone has the same lived experience of the workplace – be curious to ask what the differences are and tap into your empathy in those moments to really understand.

As You’s second recommendation, is to deliberately help build an inclusive culture. This means if there is a situation where ethnically diverse staff are being excluded or not treated the same, speak up and use your power as an ally to advocate for them.

For more tips on diversity, equity and inclusion, check out As You’s video below on Helping Ethnically Diverse Staff Thrive in the Workplace, or explore their website for upcoming webinars. For a more personal one-on-one coaching session, you can book a virtual call with Suki, or make an appointment with her in-person during her monthly office hours at the Ara Rau skills and employment hub.