Applying "Bhinneka Tunggal Ika" for Strengthening Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Indonesian Workplaces

Wednesday, 07 June 2023

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), as a matter of fact, is not a foreign concept to Indonesia.

It aligns with the national motto, "Bhinneka Tunggal Ika" (Unity in Diversity), where this principle recognizes the country's vibrant diversity while emphasizing the unity that has bound its people since many centuries ago.

However, putting this principle into practice in the workplace can present challenges.

This article provides practical strategies that can be implemented to foster DEI in Indonesian workplaces, focusing on ethnicity, religion, race, inter-group, gender, age, and disability, while leaving out discussions around LGBTQ+ issues.

"Do you know how to implement DEI at your workplace?"

It's a simple question with complicated answers, and to help you deal with it, here are seven practical ways you can start the implementation journey of DEI at your company:

1. Implement comprehensive anti-discrimination policies: Develop clear policies that prohibit discrimination based on ethnicity, religion, race, gender, age, or disability. These policies should be communicated to all employees and enforced consistently.

2. Provide DEI training: Regular training (both formal and informal) can help employees recognize and address unconscious biases. Please include hiring managers who are critical in building a diverse workforce.

3. Leverage data-driven strategies: Analyze hiring and promotion data to identify patterns of bias. Once identified, corrective measures can be put in place.

4. Create a diverse hiring panel: A diverse panel can ensure a variety of perspectives during the recruitment and selection process, helping to mitigate biases and select the best candidate for the job.

5. Offer flexible work arrangements: Flexibility in work arrangements can make your workplace more inclusive, particularly for people with disabilities or those with family-related responsibilities.

6. Foster an inclusive company culture: Cultivate an environment where all employees feel valued and respected, regardless of their background. This could include celebrating cultural events, encouraging diverse teams, and promoting two-way open dialogue between leaders and their team members.

7. Seek regular feedback: Solicit employee feedback on DEI initiatives to ensure they are effective and responsive to their needs. This could be done through surveys, suggestion boxes, or regular town hall meetings.

While DEI in Indonesia does not revolve around LGBTQ+ issues, it is still fundamentally about fostering a workplace that respects and values its employees' diverse backgrounds and experiences, in line with the principles of "Bhinneka Tunggal Ika."

By implementing these strategies, Indonesian workplaces can become more diverse, equitable, and inclusive, reflecting the country's rich cultural heritage while benefiting from the various perspectives and ideas that drive innovation and competitive advantage.

Embracing DEI is not just about adhering to principles or regulations; it's about harnessing the full potential of your workforce in today's globalized world while avoiding the mistakes of hiring the wrong persons because of unconscious bias or deliberate discrimination.