Diversity in the workplace
Director of human resources, Sheraton Hong Kong Hotel & Towers
In order to accommodate employees from minorities and ethnic groups, employers need to promote diversity in the workplace. Their objective must be to avoid discrimination and injustice, with a view to creating a sense of harmony within the workforce. This can lead to greater efficiency and productivity. It is an essential component for long-lasting business success.
Sheraton's management policy promotes a commitment to recognising and appreciating the diversity of people, ideas and cultures. We believe that a range of backgrounds and experiences, and a mix of people are prerequisites for our success. The corporate culture emphasises inclusion where associates [staff] at every level, wherever they come from, are given the chance to develop to their maximum potential. In terms of HR policies, we set this as the standard for ourselves.
Also, we organise a special diversity event every quarter and invite employees representing many races and nationalities to attend. Through games, activities and interaction, we hope to remind staff that diversity is something we should all appreciate. During these events, participants learn about the culture of other ethnic groups and get to understand both similarities and differences.
As a result of promoting diversity in the workplace for some years now, we are not experiencing any significant issues relating to teamwork and co-operation when people from different backgrounds work alongside each other. But we also believe in regularly reminding employees about our diversity policy so that we can continue to achieve this level of harmony.
Member of UBS Asia-Pacific diversity board, managing director and regional market manager, UBS Wealth Management HK
Diversity is a business imperative at UBS. We believe that only by fostering a diverse corporate environment, that appreciates the different backgrounds, cultures and perspectives of our employees, can we provide the innovation and creativity that clients demand of a leading financial institution. To maintain a leading position in the Asia-Pacific region, we must also continue to invest in our most important asset - our people. We dedicate significant resources to the development of talent, providing the necessary foundations for individuals to reach their full potential, wherever they are from or whatever their background.
By establishing a diversity board, made up of senior representatives from across the bank, UBS has made diversity a cornerstone of the hiring process. In addition, a dedicated team - with members in Australia, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore, and with champions in other markets - further encourages the adoption of diversity policies in the workplace. This year alone, we have held more than 50 related events. These have included engaging Hong Kong's top companies in roundtable discussions to share their views on key diversity and cross-culture issues. We recently arranged a successful event on cross-generational understanding, inviting a specialist to introduce ideas around this newly-emerging theme. We also like to hear from champions in other areas, the most recent being Cherie Blair [wife of Britain's former prime minister Tony Blair], who shared her views on diversity with UBS employees.
The feedback and results have been exceptional and have provided the encouragement and desire to continue developing our programmes.