Dealing with Cultural Differences in the Workplace

Dealing with Cultural Differences in the WorkplaceIn today’s globalized world, dealing with cultural differences in the workplace has become very important. Multicultural teams are now an important element in organizations, because these facilitate businesses with a global presence to service their clients in an efficient way. However, this trend has given rise to cultural differences which can influence life of people. Organisations must be conscious that involving people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds is a long process.

Tips on Dealing with Cultural Differences in the Workplace

Valuing Differences in the Workplace: You have to recognize that individuals have differences. It may be physical, generational or cultural, and you cannot ignore these. Encourage the employees to show their individualities. For instance, do not delay to ask an individual from another culture regarding their etiquette practices – this information can be beneficial for the business.

Training: Prior to recruiting diverse people, it is important to train employees in cultural awareness and provide continuous cross-cultural training. Cultural awareness and cross-cultural training helps in  preventing misunderstandings among customers and employees from different cultures. While performing training, you must make the training relevant and useful. Request employees to share their experiences, stories and point of view.

Culturally Sensitive Practices: Recognize cultural holidays and practices and then attempt to cultivate an understanding of religious observances.

Team building: A few cultures like the U.S. are individualistic, and people wish to go it alone. Various other cultures value collaboration within or among other teams. Team building problems can become much more challenging when members are from a mix of different cultural types. Successful cross-cultural team-building is important to taking advantage of the potential benefits of cultural differences in the workplace.

Be Fair: Behaving fairly allows you to effectively cope with cultural differences in the workplace. Don’t treat everyone exactly the same. Treat employees fairly and respect the cultural differences. For instance, do not plan a compulsory meeting which falls on a religious holiday – it shows insensitivity and could lead to bitterness in employees.

Time: Cultures vary in the way they view time. Differences range from the perception of overtime, or perhaps the exact meaning of a due date. Diverse perceptions of time can result in misunderstanding and problem in the workplace, particularly with scheduling and output deadlines.  Perceptions of time emphasize the significance of cultural differences in the workplace, and how it can influence day to day work.

Stereotyping: You should refrain from stereotyping cultural groups, because it promotes adverse relationships between team members. As an alternative businesses should motivate their staff to support cultural differences and should build programs or different work practices to stimulate positivity.

Communication: Whenever you discover diversity issues at work, talk about them with the staff members in a nonconfrontational way. As an example, inspire workers to cooperate with others of different cultures or generations. Initiating these kinds of interactions promotes your staff members to understand more about communication styles, talents and goals.

Overcome Language Barriers: Language is usually a barrier to both the employee and the organisation, but it can be easily overcome. Training and coaching an employee helps to overcome cultural differences. For example, working with somebody who has minimal English language expertise even offers an excellent opportunity to improve your knowledge of basic English skills and grammar that most of us forget, in addition to learning more about another culture.

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