UK’s Multicultural Workplaces: Common challenges and how to address them

Julia Esguerra

11 October 2018    |   

If you think you’ve noticed a rise in migration in the UK over the past year, you are not wrong. According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), there was a 13% increase in net migration from 2016 to 2017, with them mostly coming from non-EU countries. Migrants most commonly move for employment reasons, followed by formal study. Because of this, it’s no surprise that work environments in the country are becoming increasingly multicultural. With the benefits of new ideas and management techniques that international workers bring, also comes the introduction of different approaches in the workplace. We all know that misunderstandings stemming from differences in culture is nothing new, especially in the workplace. Here are some common cultural differences that carry over in the workplace: 1. Punctuality, time, and attendance Different cultures value time differently. This has become one of the biggest issues in multicultural offices. The British, Germans, and the Swiss are known to see time as linear. They value punctuality very highly and don’t approve of meetings that end later than they’re scheduled to. For them, being on time is a sign of respect. Spaniards, Italians, and Arabs, on the other hand, believe that establishing personal relationships is more important than being on time. When not managed correctly, this can cause tension among managers and employees. Read More: Only a Matter of Time: Punctuality and attendance in multicultural workplaces 2. Working outside of office hours Since 2017, France has been implementing a law called the “Right to Disconnect”, which basically gives employees the legal right to avoid work emails outside working hours. This protects them not just from not receiving fair pay for their overtime work but also from risks of stress, burnout, and relationship difficulties. This is very different from British workers who, as reported early this year, worked an average of over 7 hours a week without pay in 2017. Although this is most probably frowned upon there, too, there is a culture of working long hours that is simply accepted. 3. Casual vs. formal work interactions Although a more casual environment is becoming common, in many countries it is still the norm to be very formal, especially between employees and their managers – one of the most popular is Japan, where calling one’s manager by their first name is considered rude. This is very different from the culture in North America, where some of the biggest corporations such as Google and Facebook are adopting a casual environment and laid-back corporate culture. For the UK, it’s a little bit of both casual and formal. Brits still feel the need to acknowledge the distance and the roles between people and are very mindful of seniority when it comes to making decisions. However, daily interactions between managers and their subordinates are usually casual and informal. New employees from other cultural backgrounds may take a while to get used to this. How do misunderstandings affect productivity? Misunderstandings among colleagues may cause additional stress to employees. This is different from the kind of stress brought about by fatigue and exhaustion from their actual work. Employees who suffer from high-stress levels are more likely to have lower engagement, higher absenteeism levels, and less productivity. Beyond this, poor communication results in inefficient processes that not only waste time and resources but affect customer satisfaction as well. Overall, low morale in the workplace usually results in lower productivity for the business. It is of utmost importance for business owners to make sure morale inside the workplace is high because when employees are satisfied with their work, it usually carries over their performance as well. Affecting your employees in a positive way, whether it’s inside or outside the workplace, is something every business owner should strive for. Read more: Happiness and Healthcare: Why UK’s healthcare workers need a morale boost How should managers handle multiculturalism? Eliminating miscommunication with employees from different cultural backgrounds can be quite the challenge, even for seasoned managers. Management is one of the biggest factors that may make or break a multicultural environment. It is essential that those in the higher-ups adjust their leadership and management style based on the needs of the multicultural team, as these are very different from a traditional team’s. In line with this, leaders must also make sure that lines of communication are open for employees to exchange ideas with other employees and to give feedback to their managers. This way, diversity is maximised and used to the company’s advantage. Using software solutions can also help manage multicultural workplaces, like Time & Attendance software Tanda. Because the software automates and standardizes key administrative processes such as scheduling rotas and updating employees, there is no risk for things getting lost in translation or misinterpretation. Read more: William Gooderson’s 8 Characteristics of Good Managers Using technology to manage multicultural environments So how does Tanda do it? It sets the expectations for punctuality regardless of cultural background. Each week’s schedule is visible on the employee’s app, making it easy to establish exactly when they need to come in. Managers have a quick way of communicating updates and changes via SMS, email, or in-app notifications. Further, since leaves and unavailability can also be filed through Tanda, human error and ambiguity are removed from the process, making it easier for employees in a multicultural workplace to adapt. Miscommunication presents a barrier to efficient operations in multicultural work environments. Thankfully, there are accessible solutions that many businesses in the UK can avail of. In fact, over 100 businesses have teamed up with Tanda to ensure their employees can work well together, wherever they’re from. Tanda handles onboarding as well as day-to-day rota scheduling and leave management. Start your free trial today to find out more about what time and attendance software can do for your business! Ready to find out what Tanda can do for your business? Book a demo today.

If you think you’ve noticed a rise in migration in the UK over the past year, you are not wrong. According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), there was a 13% increase in net migration from 2016 to 2017, with them mostly coming from non-EU countries. Migrants most commonly move for employment reasons, followed by formal study. Because of this, it’s no surprise that work environments in the country are becoming increasingly multicultural.

With the benefits of new ideas and management techniques that international workers bring, also comes the introduction of different approaches in the workplace. We all know that misunderstandings stemming from differences in culture is nothing new, especially in the workplace. Here are some common cultural differences that carry over in the workplace:

1. Punctuality, time, and attendance

Different cultures value time differently. This has become one of the biggest issues in multicultural offices. The British, Germans, and the Swiss are known to see time as linear. They value punctuality very highly and don’t approve of meetings that end later than they’re scheduled to. For them, being on time is a sign of respect. Spaniards, Italians, and Arabs, on the other hand, believe that establishing personal relationships is more important than being on time. When not managed correctly, this can cause tension among managers and employees.

Read More: Only a Matter of Time: Punctuality and attendance in multicultural workplaces

2. Working outside of office hours

Since 2017, France has been implementing a law called the “Right to Disconnect”, which basically gives employees the legal right to avoid work emails outside working hours. This protects them not just from not receiving fair pay for their overtime work but also from risks of stress, burnout, and relationship difficulties. This is very different from British workers who, as reported early this year, worked an average of over 7 hours a week without pay in 2017. Although this is most probably frowned upon there, too, there is a culture of working long hours that is simply accepted.

3. Casual vs. formal work interactions

Although a more casual environment is becoming common, in many countries it is still the norm to be very formal, especially between employees and their managers – one of the most popular is Japan, where calling one’s manager by their first name is considered rude. This is very different from the culture in North America, where some of the biggest corporations such as Google and Facebook are adopting a casual environment and laid-back corporate culture.

For the UK, it’s a little bit of both casual and formal. Brits still feel the need to acknowledge the distance and the roles between people and are very mindful of seniority when it comes to making decisions. However, daily interactions between managers and their subordinates are usually casual and informal. New employees from other cultural backgrounds may take a while to get used to this.

How do misunderstandings affect productivity?

Misunderstandings among colleagues may cause additional stress to employees. This is different from the kind of stress brought about by fatigue and exhaustion from their actual work. Employees who suffer from high-stress levels are more likely to have lower engagement, higher absenteeism levels, and less productivity. Beyond this, poor communication results in inefficient processes that not only waste time and resources but affect customer satisfaction as well.

Overall, low morale in the workplace usually results in lower productivity for the business. It is of utmost importance for business owners to make sure morale inside the workplace is high because when employees are satisfied with their work, it usually carries over their performance as well. Affecting your employees in a positive way, whether it’s inside or outside the workplace, is something every business owner should strive for.

Read more: Happiness and Healthcare: Why UK’s healthcare workers need a morale boost

How should managers handle multiculturalism?

Eliminating miscommunication with employees from different cultural backgrounds can be quite the challenge, even for seasoned managers. Management is one of the biggest factors that may make or break a multicultural environment. It is essential that those in the higher-ups adjust their leadership and management style based on the needs of the multicultural team, as these are very different from a traditional team’s.

In line with this, leaders must also make sure that lines of communication are open for employees to exchange ideas with other employees and to give feedback to their managers. This way, diversity is maximised and used to the company’s advantage.

Using software solutions can also help manage multicultural workplaces, like Time & Attendance software Tanda. Because the software automates and standardizes key administrative processes such as scheduling rotas and updating employees, there is no risk for things getting lost in translation or misinterpretation.

Read more: William Gooderson’s 8 Characteristics of Good Managers

Using technology to manage multicultural environments

So how does Tanda do it? It sets the expectations for punctuality regardless of cultural background. Each week’s schedule is visible on the employee’s app, making it easy to establish exactly when they need to come in. Managers have a quick way of communicating updates and changes via SMS, email, or in-app notifications. Further, since leaves and unavailability can also be filed through Tanda, human error and ambiguity are removed from the process, making it easier for employees in a multicultural workplace to adapt.

Miscommunication presents a barrier to efficient operations in multicultural work environments. Thankfully, there are accessible solutions that many businesses in the UK can avail of. In fact, over 100 businesses have teamed up with Tanda to ensure their employees can work well together, wherever they’re from. Tanda handles onboarding as well as day-to-day rota scheduling and leave management. Start your free trial today to find out more about what time and attendance software can do for your business!

Ready to find out what Tanda can do for your business? Book a demo today.

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4 Tips to Maximize Table Turnover and Staff Productivity

The pressure is on to maximize table turnover and your entire staff’s productivity at your restaurant: on one end, you have no empty tables with more customers hanging out outside or by the bar, waiting to be served. On the other, your team is pushed to serve every dish and bus out every plate as soon as possible so that other people can enjoy what you have to offer. Peak times are a double-edged sword for restaurateurs. The quicker your service during peak hours, the higher the revenue you will generate. Here are 3 tips on how restaurateurs can maximize table turnover and increase in staff productivity during peak hours: Train Hosts and Servers to Communicate When hosts and servers communicate effectively, an organized seating and reservation system for your restaurant will be possible. With it, you’ll avoid having tables sitting idly for 5-10 minutes after it’s cleaned. To avoid lost productivity during peak hours, train your hosts to pre-assign tables to those who are in line. Apart from that, you should also train your servers to signal the busser to clear off the tables as soon as the check is collected, and let the hosts know that their table will be ready for the next guest shortly. When communication between hosts and servers is constant and clear, guests who are next in line would be seated almost immediately. Serve Them Immediately National Restaurant Consultants president David Kincheloe says that you’d want to have a table turn three times during a 5-10 P.M. dinner period. The best way to do so is not by rushing your customers to leave, but by ensuring that service is swift during peak hours for a quicker table turnover. Maximize table turnover by making sure that servers arrive at their assigned tables within a minute after customers are seated. Have them serve water and take drink orders immediately. Ask customers if they have dined at the restaurant before. If so, just give them a quick refresher on the menu instead of the full rundown. If there’s a large party seated (usually six people or more), have two or more servers assigned to the table so that you can get orders quicker. Bus Out Like Clockwork Instruct busboys to clear off plates as soon as customers finish their meals, but of course, in a way that won’t seem like you’re rushing them. Don’t wait for your customers to ask for the check. Have servers ask if they want the check already as soon as they are finishing up their dessert. Make sure pre-rolled silverware are on standby. This allows you to reset tables as quickly as possible, and therefore, maximize table turnover. Leverage More Technology for the Restaurant Consider using more tech solutions for your restaurant to not just simply stand out, but also become more efficient. Install seat charting software to track seating plans and reservations. Use a tablet-based menu system (such as Ziosk) and contactless payment solutions so that customers can order and pay even without the servers. And beyond the front-of-house, leveraging on agile, cloud-based workforce management solutions to track attendance and manage shift schedules, among other things. Peak hours should always be a welcome sight for your restaurant business. Following these tips will ensure that you’ll get the most out of your staff and business during these special times of the day.

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What is the Contingent Workforce and how can you leverage it in your business?

Phil caught up with the team at Sidekicker to learn more about how the contingent workforce is shaping successful workforces of the future. When we think of the contingent or temp workforce, we imagine the young Christmas casual or the temp that fills in at reception. These caricatures don’t inspire visions of influence and power and they certainly don’t appear as the kind of people that will have immense pull over the shape of the future. However, these workers are not only integral to keeping businesses moving but when they are empowered and treated right, they’re set to resculpt the entire employment landscape. What is the Contingent Workforce? Far more diverse than our initial imaginings of the temp receptionist, the contingent workforce is a subsection of the broader workforce that works flexibly. This includes casuals, contractors, and temps across a wide range of skill sets and capabilities. Contingent workers may choose to work for one business at a time or make up their working schedules across a variety of employers – but they are defined by their flexibility and impermanence. For businesses, these flexible workers solve a number of problems. From assisting in times of peak demand, covering for absent workers, lending external expertise, or allowing businesses safer, and simpler scalability, contingent workers allow businesses to improve productivity without the risk of additional permanent wages. How does the Contingent Workforce generate influence? Today, the contingent workforce makes up more than one-third of the entire AU/NZ workforce. This number is growing rapidly, and with it, the opportunity for businesses to benefit from the flexibility these workers bring. As the size and saturation of the contingent workforce grows – so too do the impacts they have on the way businesses and workers see employment. With 163,000 new contingent workers joining the workforce in recent years, and early results from 2017 showing considerable growth in both people looking for flexible opportunities, and businesses offering them – the size of this labour pool is only set to increase. Research shows that many senior HR Managers expect the contingent share of the workforce to grow to almost 50%. The bigger the size of the workforce and the more businesses that benefit, the more the impacts of bringing in contingent workers are amplified. In this way, the contingent workforce begins to exert greater influence over the working landscape. What does this power mean for the future? The impacts of this growing, flexible workforce are already beginning to manifest in a handful of ways. These considerations are integral to how flexible workers will be dealt with in future and what the landscape could look like. 1. Contingent workers are changing management styles. As more and more business engage contingent workers, they create situations where permanent and temporary staff must cooperate regularly to achieve business goals. This will force managers to reconsider the way they deal with their teams. How do you unite and motivate a team who aren’t always together? 2. Contingent workers are changing the way staff are engaged. The more the contingent workforce grows, the more it drives development of technology that supports it. As technology gets better, more and more connections between businesses and the appropriate flexible workers will happen digitally and simultaneously – making employee engagement simpler and allowing staffing managers to focus on other aspects of their role. 3. Contingent workers are changing the quality of the contingent workforce. With more businesses recognising the value in flexible engagements, the more they will engage the third party recruitment firms that know where to access them. Because it is in the best interests of these firms to present only the top-tier candidates, the overall pool of flexible workers will improve. The top-tier will build skills through constant engagement and the remaining talent will need to work to improve their performance to access opportunities. Growing at a rapid pace and picking up considerable influence, the contingent workforce is something businesses can no longer ignore. While recognising and leveraging their benefits in your business is a great first step – it’s important to understand how you will respond to the trends they are creating.   To learn more about how flexible workers are impacting the future of work, check out the Contingent Workforces eBook here.

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Julia Esguerra

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4 Tips to Maximize Table Turnover and Staff Productivity

The pressure is on to maximize table turnover and your entire staff’s productivity at your restaurant: on one end, you have no empty tables with more customers hanging out outside or by the bar, waiting to be served. On the other, your team is pushed to serve every dish and bus out every plate as […]

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What is the Contingent Workforce and how can you leverage it in your business?

Phil caught up with the team at Sidekicker to learn more about how the contingent workforce is shaping successful workforces of the future. When we think of the contingent or temp workforce, we imagine the young Christmas casual or the temp that fills in at reception. These caricatures don’t inspire visions of influence and power […]

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