What do Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion actually mean for companies in NE Asia?
I sat down with the Human Resources team at the Taipei branch of a MNC yesterday - owned by a US multinational with its subsidiary headquarters in Tokyo - to discuss inclusivity in their workplace.
What they shared:
- Both the Tokyo and Taipei office staff have taken DEI training programs
- DEI is a very helpful framework for them
What is currently not relevant:
- Since both of these offices are almost entirely homogenous, there is very little emphasis placed on diversity in terms of cultural, ethnic, or racial differences
- In addition, since both cultures tend to accept a polytheistic approach to religion, there’s also very little discussion around emphasizing a need for greater acceptance of other’s faiths
What is relevant:
- Greater gender diversity (they’d like to see a higher percentage of females in top management positions)
- More acceptance and support for mental health-related personal issues and less stigma surrounding them
- Increased acceptance towards people with various types of disabilities in the workplace
❓ Is this similar to your own country or culture?
It is very different from my own roots (the US and South Africa, which are both very ethnically diverse societies).
💡 My own observations:
The planning and rollout of learning and development programs work best when they’re fully adapted to suit the real needs and working realities of the people taking them.
🙌 Here is where Cultural Intelligence comes in: instead of applying a learning or systems approach according to what you think is important, you adapt and apply it in the way that the team or host culture does.
Result? Everyone including you will learn much more and as trust has been built, there will then be room for further discussion and exploration.
Note: there are more regional differences than I have mentioned above in other parts of N.E. Asia. For example, Hong Kong has a more diverse population.