By Capt. Vinay Singh Chauhan, Marine HR Manager
Cultural Diversity is the existence of a variety of cultural groups with various different characteristics such as religion, language, ethnicity, age, values, beliefs, geographic location, and such, within a society.
We, as a global ship management company, believe in unity in diversity and this is what makes our workforce impeccable. Thome Group has diverse nationalities of crew predominantly Filipinos, followed by Indians, Chinese, Croatians, Latvians, Sri Lankans, Bangladeshis, Russians, Ukrainians, and more.
Ashore staff is comprised of multiple nationalities as well such as Indians, Croatians, Filipino, Singaporeans, and more. We celebrate all festivals onboard with the same enthusiasm, like Christmas Day, Diwali, Easter Sunday, Eid, and such. There is tremendous respect for religious values amongst all team members across the group.
We get to learn from each other about our traditions and share historical achievements and events with each other. This helps give everyone a different perspective and understanding when learning about the culture, traditions, and beliefs of different races or creeds. We pay particular attention to the finer details depending on the occasion. For instance, new vessels with Indonesian crew were sent out an informative message about the ongoing Ramadan season.
Diversity brings in new ideas and experiences where people can learn from each other.
Bringing in different ideas and perspectives leads to better problem-solving while working in diverse teams invites open dialogue and promotes creativity. Different nationalities and cultures working together in a harmonious way can lead to more innovation and better decision making as everyone’s point of view is shared and reviewed. Acceptance and tolerance lead to higher employee engagement and reduced staff turnover as people are aware that their views matter and are not ignored or brushed under the carpet.
Similarly, increased diversity means no overreliance on a particular nationality for planning reliefs. It is also an advantage when trading worldwide as different cultures can assist in knowing how to handle different behaviours and situations when docking at global ports. It can also lead to more timely and optimal solutions which gives greater client satisfaction.
The benefits of cultural diversity include inspiring each other, which can result in better understanding and productivity, creating a multi-national pool of talent that helps with the generation and exchange of innovative ideas. Cultural sensitivity also helps one respect, demonstrate, and appreciate other forms of culture leading to a cultural exchange that allows people to discuss universal issues that can have a huge global impact.
However, without commitment, cultural diversity can lead to misunderstandings between different groups of people and give rise to awkwardness which can cause an imbalance. So, it’s important to continue carrying out training and briefings for all employees periodically to emphasise its significance.
Cultural diversity establishes a better understanding between people and helps to strengthen society including the maritime world.
The World Day of Cultural Diversity is on the 21st of May as declared by the UN General Assembly so let’s help celebrate it and support diversity.