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  • Writer's pictureMarie Tseng

Unlock the Power of Diversity: Building Cultural Competencies to Foster Inclusive Workplaces

Work with anyone, understand cultural diversity, and achieve high-quality relationships

Multiple research studies have shown that having a diverse workforce contributes to the performance, profitability, and competitiveness of an organisation. Inclusive organisations are also perceived as progressive places for people to work at and tend to attract better talent, as well as develop a positive work culture where everyone feels seen and heard.

Even though diversity and inclusion have become a priority for many organisations, creating a shift of mindset at every level of the organisation and developing people to become inclusive leaders are still works in progress.

Contrary to what most people think, cultural diversity is not exclusively about having different people around. At its very core, it is an art that surrounds understanding and allowing people the diverse means of expressing themselves while recognizing the constraints that different people have due to their distinct sets of beliefs, expressions, and values.

Understanding cultural diversity in a team and having clarity on team members preferred behaviours are the first steps in building trust and an inclusive culture.

The Cultural Impact Scan© can help:

  • Learn about your individual preferences

  • Understand the context in which you operate

  • Have an overview of the collective preferences of your team

  • Be aware of the individual preferences within the team

  • Decide on the optimal behaviour in a specific context to achieve a particular task

What we do

1. Research current social structures and trends in cultural dimensions

Different age groups, ethnicities, gender, as well as different functions and departments within a company all have different cultures. Instead of guessing how people prefer to work and collaborate, we use data-driven techniques to identify key themes and differences between groups.

Sample spectrum chart for an entity. (Results may vary across different entities).

2. Customized solutions for organizations interested in building inclusive communities and result-driven teams.

Research and trends are not the only things we do. Our end objective is to use the knowledge we have to help people build cultural competency and create an inclusive and productive work environment.

Every community has different values and work cultures. There is no single way of building an inclusive workforce so we provide solutions tailored to each of our clients.

3. Development tool for individuals- Expand your repertoire of behaviours to perform across cultures

“I am afraid of making a faux pas and offending people from different cultures.”

“I’m afraid I’m going to embarrass myself in public.”

“I’m afraid of saying the wrong things to my client, my colleagues, and my boss.”

These fears are valid and are frequent in every cross-cultural business interaction. Developing cultural competency starts with self-awareness: where is my zone of comfort and how do I adopt new behaviours to be effective in different contexts. The Cultural Impact Scan© (CIS) will provide you with insights into your own preferred behaviours, as well as help you understand how people behave on the opposite end of the cultural spectrum.

Myths about culture:

1. I don’t need to care about other people’s culture, it doesn't affect me!

Even if you don’t think it affects you, chances are it already has. Most of the conflicts we have today are caused by simple misunderstandings or wrong assumptions about other people —many problems could be solved easily by a meaningful and compassionate conversation.

Being aware of our innate unconscious biases discounts our immediate judgments, helps us open up more and gives us the confidence to engage in tough but necessary conversations to manage conflicts and bridge invisible gaps.

2. There is little value in cultural inclusivity. Hanging out with people like me works just fine.

Staying within one’s social comfort zone generally works until it doesn’t. Eventually, people and communities change. Half of the people you are ever going to meet have yet to be born. It is only a matter of time before you will start encountering stark differences in other people’s cultures and values against the one you started out with.

Every generation has something to complain about. Plenty of parents do not understand their children despite how socially successful they are with their peers.

Acquiring cultural literacy and cultural competencies is key to building strong relationships across different groups and communities as well as being part of the solution to resolve conflicts and tensions in organizations and society at large.

3. I’ve worked with all sorts of people before. I know the patterns of the people.

Generalization works better if the community subset is larger (ethnicity, gender, nation). However, in the context of smaller groups like companies and social clubs, predictions about other people based on past experience become less valuable.

Understanding the context while genuinely listening to each individual within that context is key to working effectively with people from different backgrounds

4. We are already a diverse organization, so there is nothing left to be done.

Having different groups of people in one place is not the same as having a group of people working effectively and inclusively with one another.

In fact, as organizations become more diverse, the number of conflicts based on differences is going to increase simply from the diversity of perspectives that people bring to work.

Research has shown that organizations that recognize the complexity of cultural diversity and address the potential challenges it triggers outperform organizations that do not.

How to debunk those myths?

Contact us to explore how to create my cultural awareness with the Cultural Impact Scan© and build cultural literacy through our programs to foster an inclusive culture in your organisation.

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