I think it’s fair enough to say that all of us know that language and cultural diversity are a crucial part of businesses nowadays. If you think about it, languages and culture have in fact always been around the corporate world, however, with the expansion of globalisation, cultural diversity in the workplace has grown to be a progressively prominent trend in organisations. So, what exactly do we mean by cultural diversity in businesses?
Cultural Diversity in a Nutshell
Well, when we talk cultural diversity, we are probably talking about a number of employees coming from different countries around the world, but more specifically from varied cultural backgrounds. The question is, how do companies benefit from cultural diversity? By having a variety of employees belonging to different cultures, companies take advantage of the fact that they will have diverse ways of thinking and in effect analyse situations from a number of different perspectives. Having cultural diversity within your business will facilitate and give you the opportunity to do business with companies around the world, as well as grow internationally!
Believe it or not, cultural competence is one of the most important skills for effective work performance in the 21st century. In 2015 stats published by McKinsey & Company showed that there is a 35% likelihood of financial outperformance resulting from a culturally diverse workforce.
But, cultural diversity can’t always be taken for granted – it’s not something which develops naturally in companies. For it to work, companies need to be prepared! So how can organisations prepare themselves for cultural diversity?
There isn’t a set rule or a specific method that will prepare organisations; it will always depend on the number of different cultures, as well as the cultures involved. Companies with a large number of Asian employees will work and need to adapt differently from a company with a large number of American employees. Because every culture is different! There are four simple key points that should be taken into consideration when preparing and engaging with cultural diversity.
- Communication: Providing accurate and prompt information is crucial for effective work and team performance within businesses, especially when different cultures are involved. Emphasise the cultures are involved within the team, make your workers familiar with each other, and most importantly make sure they understand the different cultures within the business.
- Team-building: In some cultures, for example in the US, workers are known to be more individualistic. Therefore, effective cross-cultural team-building is essential to benefit from the advantages of cultural diversity. Make your employees feel part of a community!
- Keep an open mind and embrace the difference: All cultures have their unique ways of being. This will generally result in people approaching work in different ways, some of which will work better than others in different situations, but this is the beauty of embracing people from various backgrounds and cultures. We can always learn form others.
- Cultural Coaching: Business leaders who take the time to recognise the importance of cultural training and take the time to make employees feel appreciated benefit from a multicultural organisation, and the possibility to share and exchange ideas based on mutual respect, awareness and credibility. It ensures that employees learn to be culturally mindful and progressively adaptable when communicating with people from different backgrounds. Who would cross-cultural coaching be beneficial to in a company?
IS CROSS-CULTURAL COACHING REALLY USEFUL TO A COMPANY?
Yes, cross-cultural coaching can help businesses benefit from multi-cultural environments. However, this assumes that they have picked a capable and efficient cross-cultural coach. Below I have identified the three main characteristics of good cross-cultural coaching.
THE COURSE MUST…
- be able to explain the practical as well as the theoretical aspects of the training. It’s all very well saying the XXXX people are very ‘low context’ but…
a) what does that mean and more importantly
b) how could you modify your approach when dealing with XXXX people?
- help you realise it takes 2 to tango – it’s not just the others that might be different; you might be too! We’re all part of this big melting pot we call the world.
- Engage, involve and ultimately teach you. If you can’t see the point, they’ve not done their job.
Our multicultural language training as well as cross-cultural coaching team is here to help you and your business enhance your cultural awareness as well as mastering the art of learning a foreign language. So, give one of our account managers here at Dialogue a call and they will make a number of suggestions depending on numbers, budget and time-frame. Once that has been discussed, our experts will do the rest, and before you know it, your business will have just the right amount of foreign language training and cross-cultural coaching.