- Category: Blog
- Published: April 09, 2015
- Written by David Walker
Discrimination. It’s a human quality. Some have it; others despise it. In the workplace, it can be a source of power for the cruel, or a weakness which the subservient are subjected to on a daily basis. Every workplace is different, but the most productive workplace is one where discrimination is minimized.
Detecting it is one thing. Taking action against it is another- nobler task. It requires education on the topic, and can reap rewards, including a more positive vibe and higher efficiency in the work setting. Here are some tips for facilitating a reduction in prejudice in the workplace.
Keep an equal status for all groups
If your work setting involves multiple teams completing different tasks, working together toward a common goal, give each team an equal level of status and attention when conversing and working with other groups. Recognition is a form of power. Like anything else, you can receive it, and you can take it away. Refraining from giving special treatment to certain groups will enhance positive sentiment of everyone involved.
Personal interactions are crucial
The worst thing group members can do at work is not talk to each other. We were all made to socialize; get to know each other. Talk, have some fun, and remember to be professional in the workplace.
When you can get everyone to work together to achieve a common goal, it bonds those people together. Building relationships is key in every workplace, and yours is no different. Working toward a common goal will absolutely work wonders with raising the overall level of positive communication, internal and intra-group feelings and will harbor a place to set the foundation for continuing these kinds of interactions within groups.
The right social norms are key
In every group/ work setting, keeping the correct social norms alive is a primary concern to keep stable. The right social atmosphere is important for everyone’s success. To start, it helps when authority figures voice an active disdain for prejudice and racism throughout the teams. With most power residing at the top, it is a top-down responsibility to keep everyone on level ground.
Social Facilitation is also a key factor in any team effort. What this shows is that people more efficiently perform simple tasks and tasks that they have been trained well at, and perform not as well on more difficult tasks when others observe. When teams are well-trained, this can work well, but it can completely shatter a positive work environment when discrimination is let in.
Social recognition- what we know about people that we work with increases with time. The more we work with the same people, the more accurate we are about how they work and think. We’re good at judging people, but sometimes we have to leave out the constant judgements. They can belittle what we have to grow from. When giving evaluations of others that we work with, people can be taught to be more accurate in their analyses of other workers. If people are motivated to make more accurate evaluations of others, they can do so. It just takes the right reward.
Also important in social interaction in the workplace, but more specifically in one-on-one and small-group interactions are these hints:
When conversing between co-workers on any topic, state your intentions clearly, so you can all move forward and not get lost in communication.
Carry out initiatives/ goals, just like you always would. But be careful. In conversation, our expectations can have an effect on others, and can carry out a negative self-fulfilling prophecy, which can stall positive progress.
Reward reciprocation. When others are willing to work with you and not against you, and are opening themselves up to show it, reward them. Even a simple, “Thank you,” or, “I appreciate your help,” will work wonders for relationship-building.
When appropriate, maintain a retaliatory capability. If you are attacked on some level, retaliate on the same level. This usually means explain your position, and how you reached that position. Going overboard will take you backwards.
It is also important to remember that, whoever and wherever, people bring their life with them to work. It is impossible not to. Whatever anyone is feeling, if someone is having an off day, it is crucial to recognize the situation, and be empathetic. Whatever the issue- car trouble, family issues, training issues, school issues, debt issues- if someone in your group wants or needs to talk about something, do so with them at an appropriate time and in an appropriate way.
All of these hints will help you take control of your work environment, and allow for the highest level of success you can all achieve, but it takes initiative from everyone in order to create change in and fully facilitate a great work environment. It is possible, and you do have a right to be happy, be efficient, and be productive at work.
David Walker is a guest contributor, who works with Student Loan Hero. He enjoys writing on the topics of Solving Workplace Issues and Managing Student Loan Debt, especially seeing the numbers of students and graduates with increasing amounts of debt on the rise in recent years. He lives in Chattahoochee, Georgia and loves to visit Stone Mountain. In his free time, he loves to study Administrative Law, Psychology and Finance.