30 Jun 5 Ways to Support the Growth of a Multicultural Workplace
Excerpts from an interview with Amol Karnick and Dr. Karim S. Karim
Although KA Imaging’s inclusive workplace may not have been created through purposeful policies, multiculturalism is celebrated, and diversity is valued. This may be due to the backgrounds and experiences of the founders themselves. In conversation with CEO and President Amol Karnick and CTO Dr. Karim S. Karim, some ideas emerged for the future that we want to share.
Here are KA Imaging’s top 5 ways to support the growth of a multicultural workplace:
1. Focus less on “Canadian experience”.
One thing many places look for when hiring is “Canadian experience”, specifically the work candidates have done in Canada only. Amol Karnick said this is one of the ways immigrants are excluded from the work force and not considered for positions they would be more than qualified for in other countries.
“We try to hire the best people and it doesn’t matter where they are from, or in what countries they have worked, as long as their experience is relevant for the position,” he said.
Often, the value people bring to a company is through their diverse experience and skills.
“Innovation comes from around the world, and that innovation is the key to driving the company forward. The different ideas, ways of approaching things and solutions to problems are exactly how multiculturalism has helped us grow,” said Karnick.
2. Make diversity a priority.
Dr. Karim S. Karim also stressed the relationship between innovation and diversity, and thinks it should be a priority for everyone.
“Innovation thrives on diversity, and it is important. Sometimes, if you bring in people from different cultures, different backgrounds, you inject that type of diversity (into the company) and that’s what helps you flourish,” he said. “You want to have diversity because that’s the way you start questioning things, and then you ask yourself, how could things be better?”
3. Look beyond English-language skills.
It is important to understand that not all innovation and work in Canada needs to depend on English-language skills (or French). In fact, both Karnick and Karim agree that the various languages spoken by KA Imaging employees help drive their vision of bringing innovative X-ray everywhere.
“Just because I may not speak English perfectly, doesn’t mean I am less intelligent or less capable,” said Karim as an example.
4. Look outside your own network.
Karnick does not fault other companies who are less diverse due to their networks and history.
“When I grew up, my network was primarily Indian people, our family and friends. Sometimes it is about the networks and the people you are used to being with,” he said.
“That being said”, injected Karim, “there is an onus on leadership to ensure they get the best staff. If you rely on your own personal network, at some point, you are going to run out of candidates. You may end up getting the second-best candidates. The companies that don’t have the same diversity may not have the same growth rate as those that do.”
5. Accept different views; ways of thinking and working.
Karnick credits his team and their diverse ideas for much of the company’s success.
“Our management team is made up mainly of immigrants. I think everyone in different parts of the world work hard, but the different points of view allow us to move the product forward in different ways, because we have different people adding value,” said Karnick.
“Regardless of your background, you are appreciated,” said Karim. “We know that diversity gives us strength, it gives us an advantage, and different viewpoints. It helps us see things that might not be so visible if we all thought or acted in a similar manner.”