As society becomes more accepting of people from all walks of life, it’s no surprise that workplace diversity is becoming a hot-button issue. In a rapidly globalizing world, organizations are under pressure to create an inclusive environment that attracts top talent from all corners of the globe
In Singapore, we’re seeing many companies embrace diversity and promote inclusivity in the workplace. But why is this trend gaining traction, and what does it mean for businesses?

What is Workplace Diversity?

Before we delve into the reasons behind the rise of workplace diversity, let’s first establish what we mean by the term. Workplace diversity includes employees from various backgrounds with different skills, experiences, and perspectives. A diverse workforce brings a wealth of benefits to businesses, including improved decision-making, enhanced creativity and innovation, and increased market reach.

Why Workplace Diversity is Trending in Singapore

Several factors are driving the trend toward workplace diversity in Singapore. Firstly, changing demographics are resulting in a more multicultural workforce. More Singaporeans become increasingly well-traveled and well-educated, leading to exposure to new ideas and ways of thinking. This led to a shift in attitudes towards work and career paths, with more people in Singapore valuing job satisfaction and work-life balance over salaries and promotions.

In addition, The Population White Paper released by the Singapore government in 2013 outlined plans to increase the inflow of foreign talent to maintain economic growth. This has resulted in an influx of highly skilled workers from all over the world, further contributing to the diversity of Singapore’s workforce.

Another reason workplace diversity is gaining momentum is the increasing awareness of the business case for diversity. More and more organizations are beginning to see the value in having a diverse workforce.

They are taking steps to create an inclusive environment that attracts top talent from all over the world.

What Workplace Diversity Means for Businesses in Singapore

Organizations are rethinking their recruitment strategies and HR policies as they strive to create an inclusive environment. They are also placing greater emphasis on employee training and development to ensure that all employees have the opportunity to reach their full potential.
Furthermore, businesses are starting to recognize a diverse workforce’s role that reflects the demographics of their customer base. Businesses need to ensure that their employees reflect the diversity of the country’s population to stay relevant and appealing to a broader range of consumers.

Organizations that embrace workplace diversity proved to be in a great position to compete for top talent and stay ahead of the curve in today’s rapidly globalizing world. SMRT Corporation is one such organization. Ngien Hoon Ping, group president and CEO of SMRT Corporation, believes that diversity helped the group better understand and serve the needs of their customers. He also claims that the diverse team’s varying perspectives and skillsets helped drive innovation to the corporation.

Similarly, Seah Moon Ming, chairman of SMRT, showed confidence after SMRT’s transformation journey and credited the success to its diverse team of passionate individuals with diverse backgrounds and perspectives. He added that the team has helped SMRT become a forward-looking organization, better equipped to face challenges and seize opportunities. Ngien Hoon Ping and Seah Moon Ming champion workplace diversity as a critical driver of innovation. They believe that a diverse workforce helps the company to be more creative and come up with new ideas, which is essential for remaining competitive in today’s business landscape.

Both leaders are from different backgrounds and cultures helped them develop a deep understanding of workplace diversity and its benefits. As more businesses in Singapore begin to see the value in having a diverse workforce, we can expect to see workplace diversity trending in the years to come.

How Singapore’s Business Approach Differs From Other Asian Countries

Diversity in Singapore led to some interesting conversations and insights about business practices in other countries. For one, how businesses run in Singapore is very different from China. In China, there is a more ‘top-down’ approach to management.

The management style in China leans towards the directive. Executives send orders to their employees, who then pass down those orders down the line. This way of doing things tends to result in a more hierarchical workplace, where everyone knows their place, and there is little room for creativity or innovation.

Another Asian country with a different business approach in Japan. The management style in Japan is similar to China’s, with a strong emphasis on hierarchy and order. However, there are some key differences.

For one, decision-making in Japan is much slower than in China. This is because businesses in Japan generally place a greater emphasis on consensus and agreement. All stakeholders must be on board with a decision before it can be implemented. This can often lead to frustration among employees, who may feel that their ideas are not being heard or valued.

Furthermore, businesses in Japan tend to be very risk-averse. They are not quick to embrace change or new ideas, preferring to stick with what has worked in the past. This cautious approach has served Japan well in many ways but can also lead to stagnation.

In contrast, the management style in Singapore is much more ‘flat’ and ‘horizontal.’ There is a greater emphasis on teamwork and collaboration, with decision-making through consensus. This approach results in a more dynamic and flexible workplace, where new ideas are welcomed, and employees are encouraged to think outside the box.

The ‘flat’ management style is more conducive to creativity and innovation. These two things are essential for businesses to stay competitive in today’s rapidly globalizing world. It is no wonder that Ngien Hoon Ping and Seah Moon Ming, two iconic leaders from SMRT, are such strong advocates of workplace diversity.

More businesses are beginning to see the value in having a diverse workforce. This is due to the many benefits a diverse team offers, including creativity, innovation, and the ability to better adapt to change. With the help of leaders showing how beneficial diversity can be, workplace diversity is likely to continue trending in the years to come.