The world has fast become a global village, with increased interactions among people from different cultural backgrounds. Every day, opportunities for these interactions present themselves right from our schools to our workplaces.
In these times, more than ever, there is a need to inspire and embrace cultural tolerance and awareness. Embracing cultural diversity goes beyond recognizing and tolerating cultural differences though – it calls for respect of diversity, and a commitment to communicate and foster reciprocal relationships with people from all cultures.
Work with A Clean Slate
Forget the broad-brush opinions and stereotypes you may have heard all your life. Instead, do your research by studying material on the practices of other cultures, and even better, interact with someone from a different culture and with time, you will get to know what they are all about.
A Win for Everyone
There are many benefits to embracing cultural awareness in a workplace setting. Just how important a concept this is on an individual and corporate level cannot be emphasized enough
Benefits of Inclusion
For starters, there will be no biases against anyone, and merit will reign supreme at all times. When a member of the team presents an idea, it will be assessed purely on its merits, without any prejudice or bias against the cultural background of the one presenting it. Great ideas that will catapult your company to a higher level can come from anyone, and everyone deserves a chance.
Cultural competence will also inform the development and enforcement of inclusive company policies. With everyone included and feeling like part of the team, you can expect a boost in productivity thanks to the sense of harmony and belonging.
Similarly, embracing cultural awareness makes communication all the more easier, and with it, promoting cohesion. Communication and a team spirit is critical to the success of any business. You are all working towards the same goal, and without these crucial elements, dropping the ball is very likely, and you will only derail your progress.
People from different cultural backgrounds communicate differently, and understanding these differences is the only way to avoid miscommunication and the discord that comes with it. If, for example, you understand that a co-worker considers a particular gesture offensive, you will be sure not to use it, even if it is “normal” in your own culture.
So much conflict and discord can stem from cultural intolerance. Insensitive words, actions and actions that you may seem so small and insignificant can have detrimental effects on workplace relationships.
When there are rifts among workers, it is not unexpected that there may be a decline in morale and productivity. Embracing cultural awareness in the first place will make it possible to avoid these conflicts instead of having to spend time and other resources resolving them.
Expanding Your Reach
As a business, the more the number of customers you can serve and even add to your list of loyal clientele, the better for your bottom line. A diverse workforce and a healthy embracing of cultural differences provides an excellent reference standard or frame when it comes to developing strategies to reach potential clients from different cultural backgrounds. You will be in the know about how to tailor your marketing strategies for various groups, which, in itself, greatly boosts your chances of succeeding at leads conversion.
A Concluding Note
Today’s environment is a multi-cultural one that has no room for the culturally-insensitive. From personal research, to conducting trainings and workshops, no effort should be spared in trying to improve cultural literacy and competence, lest you miss out on all the benefits highlighted.