Over the last generation we have seen most workplaces change from a uniform, monoculture domain to a multicultural sphere where it is possible to interact with colleagues from every corner of the world in just one afternoon.
While this change has bought fabulous new insights, different work practices, and varied knowledge to our workplaces, it also comes with potential issues.
Working in a culturally diverse workplace requires dealing with different perspectives from your own – some of which you may not be familiar, or comfortable, with initially. It may also require you to overcome your own biases (even those you may be unaware of to begin with).
Developing a ‘cultural intelligence’ which allows you work positively alongside people from different cultures will ensure a sense of understanding, compassion and sensitivity which promotes co-operation within the workplace so that solutions can be reached and cultural gaps can be bridged.
Benefits of Cultural Intelligence
Cultural intelligence plays a vital role in facilitating a good working environment for all those concerned and ensures co-operation within a positive corporate culture, no matter with which nationality, culture, or religion employees are linked.
The following benefits can be gained from cultural intelligence:
• Improved working relationships which appreciate cultural differences for the values they provide
• Increased productivity due to creative relationships which find solutions, not problems
• Effective communication where all parties feel valued and heard
• Corporate brand investment is maximised and improved
• International understanding and knowledge is improved which benefits employees, customers and the company
• Companies can gain a competitive edge over competition
How to Improve Cultural Intelligence within the Workplace
Cultural intelligence has become an essential tool for both the workplace and everyday life. Promoting compassion and understanding between different cultures will improve quality of life, make you more resilient to change, and give you a new perspective.
If you are aiming to improve the level of cultural intelligence in your workplace then one of the quickest and most simple ways to do this is by offering cultural intelligence training.
Cultural intelligence training can help employees learn how to manage their own stress levels, understand their biases, and adopt new behaviours, all of which improve the overall working environment.
The following points highlight some of the ways in which cultural intelligence can be improved within the workplace:
• Educate your team – this is without a doubt the most important step in creating a multicultural team with a high cultural intelligence level. Cultural Intelligence courses can teach key aspects of cultural intelligence and methods for improving cultural intelligence so that you learn how to work within a multicultural workplace. Team members will learn how to work alongside those from different cultures and how to appreciate the differences.
• Understand personal biases – we all have biases, some are conscious and we are aware of them, knowing how to deal with and overcome them, while others are more subconsciously. When this bias (and stereotyping) impacts in a negative way on those we work with it can interfere with our ability to perform our job, cause additional stress, alienate colleagues and create challenging behaviour. There are training courses available that can help you to understand your personal biases and teach you how to overcome them to enable you to thrive within a multicultural team.
• Find a common purpose – working together for a common purpose, and achieving the objective, often gives people a sense of community. Finding a local charity your firm can help through fundraising efforts, sponsoring a local sports team and supporting home games, or setting team tasks (such as lunch break challenges, quiz nights and so on) will help to build team spirit and give your workforce a shared purpose.
Cultural intelligence is a vital skill for today’s multicultural workplaces so the better educated and knowledgeable your workforce is regarding cultural awareness and understanding, the better it will be for your company.
Take advice from a professional cultural awareness trainer if you require additional education for your team and invest in the future of your business.
Ask the experts at Creative Word Training if you would like to know more about the cultural intelligence training or cultural awareness training we offer.