Workplace is becoming a melting pot for various cultures from all over the world. With an increase in cultural integration, it has become necessary that your workplace adheres to cultural sensitivity and inclusion.
The current breakdown of American population has seen a change.According to theU.S. Census Bureau, Asian and mixed race population grew by 3%, whereas non-Hispanic white population saw a decrease of 163,300 people.
So, what exactly is culture?
It’s a combination of morals, traditions, customs and values. People or societieswho share heritage and have experienced learning through common belief system make up a culture. There are two broad categories of culture: low-context and high context culture.
Low-context culture gives credit to the spoken word, they seem to be more straightforward, logical, and action oriented.
Employees belonging to a low-context culture tend to take alinear approachand use time effectively. A manger raised in such culture will seek logic behind problems and handle them in a straightforward manner. Western Europe and North America are a great example of low-context culture.
People born and raised in this culture have a different approach to life they use time generously, are insightful and intuitive in nature, and like to compete. They are not straightforward in nature and will apply spiral logic to problems.
They factor context, body language, and spoken word to understand communication. Middle Eastern countries and Hispanic population are a good example of high context culture.
These two cultures are poles apart; but with the advancement in technology, transfer of cultures has increased. Multiple benefits can be gained from this exchange of culture,but sometimes miscommunication, prejudice, and cultural barrier remain unavoidable in workplace.
Cultural diversity promotes inclusion and creativity. Organizations that employ people from different culture have access to knowledge across the world. This promotes ‘thinking outside the box’, and enables employees to take a wider approach to problem solving.
Organizations that operate internationally can benefit from a diverse workforce, as this increases their capacity to provide goods and services to foreign markets.
For example, hiring multicultural workforce at an advertisement agency will allow them to approach clients all over the world. As managers belonging to different cultures will know the best communication strategy for different regions. Hence, a diverse workforce will provide your company with a competitive edge.
With changing workforce dynamics,employer looksfor good interpersonal skills and well-rounded candidates who have had exposure to different cultures. Every culture has something new to offer. Adopting and learning new things from different cultures makes workplace multi-faceted and inclusive to new things and people. Apart from increasing employee’s tolerance, it also makes an organization open to change.
Communication barriers are inevitable as people belonging from different cultures have different ways of communication. For example, some employees may be aggressive and loud when sharing ideas; whereas some might be passive and avoid eye contact.
Society and media has attached specific characteristic to different ethnicity. This generalization and stereotyping has a poorimpact on workplace environment. This makes employees judgmental of other cultures and hampers inclusion.
Each culture follows different sets of beliefs and values. If other employees are not sensitive toward different customs and values,interaction and communication becomes difficult.
For example, some cultures consider it necessary to make small talks, whereas other might get straight to business.
Moreover, emotional display may differ from culture to culture. Some employees may be more expressive than others. This leaves a room of confusion when communicating.
DFRI provides comprehensive employee relations, outsourcing, an workplace conflict resolution strategies for businesses and individuals.