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Coaching through the transition to a diversified workplace

6th February, 2023 by Silke Reichrath
Mental Health

Coaching through the transition to a diversified workplace

Workplaces are becoming increasingly diverse. Canada welcomed a record-breaking 400,000+ new permanent residents each in 2021 and 2022 and is aiming to attract 1.5 million more over the coming three years. In Toronto, more than half of all residents were born outside of Canada, and another 25% are Canadian-born children of parents born abroad.

Employers are competing to be attractive a diverse workforce in terms of ethnic, linguistic and religious background. According to Forbes, “firms are 33% more likely to experience industry-leading profitability if their executive teams represent more cultural and ethnic minorities.” In the face of labour shortages, political pressure and social change, they also increasingly need to accommodate aging employees, employees with disabilities, neuro-diverse individuals and differences in gender identities.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) processes

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) programs have rapidly gained in prominence to help employers attract and retain a diverse workforce and smooth frictions that arise. The global market for DEI programs was estimated at US$7.5 billion in 2020 and expected to grow to over US$17 billion by 2027. These initiatives are designed to close recruitment gaps, foster better intergroup relations and improve the retention of minority employees.

However, reviews have found that periodic DEI trainings and workshops are not very effective and sometimes backfire. In addition, having separate programs and approaches for the various axes of diversity – women in the workplace, DEI, special needs accommodation, etc. – can be inefficient and occasionally run at cross-purposes.

Experience has shown that sensitivity to diverse needs and harnessing diverse strengths has to become part of a company’s culture and core values, so it becomes woven into all departments and strategies. It’s important to diagnose an employer’s specific challenges by listening to the employees and to develop concrete strategies and tools for solving them.

Mind Management Coaching

In conjunction with DEI expertise, coaching can be a valuable tool in discovering a team’s current situation and determining where they want to get to. A coach can help managers develop values-based strategies to achieve that, shift objections and take action to implement the chosen options.

Mind management coaches can work with individual employees and managers to identify and shift negative believes, associations and emotional patterns in ways that are empowering and give employees agency over their relationships and conditions at work.

Coaching for mental health

Offering access to mind management coaching to employees as an on-demand service is particularly valuable in diverse workplaces. Immigrants tend to be more vulnerable to mental health challenges due to the disruptive experience of migration, lack of social support and conflicting pressures of the local culture and social network and the culture and family of origin. Yet they may be reticent to seek counseling or therapy due to stigma, limited awareness and competing priorities.

Coaching offered through the employer in the spirit of optimizing their performance and other areas of their life is a more positive, proactive and future-oriented tool that appeals to individuals who have moved to another country to optimize their lives. Reaching out to a coach does not require employees to self-identify as ‘suffering from mental health problems’ but rather as active sculptors of their destiny.

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