Creating an environment where everyone feels like they belong at work is essential to workplace productivity. However, this is often difficult for employees with diverse backgrounds and experiences to achieve if the work environment is not culturally sensitive. Whether it’s dealing with international clients or working with co-workers from a different generation, fostering diversity requires a high level of cultural sensitivity. Failure to maintain this level of sensitivity can lead to miscommunication, misunderstandings, lack of collaboration and a negative impact on your company’s reputation. Cultural sensitivity is defined as “the ability to understand and appreciate other cultures.”
Essentially, it’s the ability to acknowledge that differences exist among people without making those differences better or worse or implying that one culture is superior to another. Cultural sensitivity is an important skill set to develop, especially in the workplace because it allows you to connect with people from different cultural backgrounds and build significant relationships. It’s also necessary in the classroom, where teachers should take the time to learn about their students’ background and what makes them unique. This can help them better engage with their students and create a bond that makes them feel appreciated. In addition to this, teachers should make sure that they don’t use stereotypes or offensive language when referencing other cultures. This is particularly important in a multicultural classroom, where students may be more likely to have experienced discrimination or oppression from other cultures in their lives.
If students see that their teachers have not understood them or that their ideas are being ignored, they will likely not be receptive to future conversations and will continue to shut themselves off. As a result, it is important for companies to provide their employees with the tools they need to be culturally sensitive in order to promote a positive culture of inclusion. This can be done through training programs, workshops or even just encouraging employees to ask questions about their co-workers’ backgrounds. Achieving a level of cultural sensitivity takes time and effort. In the long run, it can lead to a more productive and fulfilling workplace for all employees.
By eliminating barriers to communication and encouraging an open dialogue, businesses can improve their processes, products and overall business outcomes. If you’re interested in learning more about how to foster a culture of inclusion in your workplace, our team at Cross Cultures is here to help! We offer a variety of workshops and training programs that can teach you the best practices for building bridges between culturally diverse groups. To get started, contact us today. We look forward to speaking with you! Copyright 2019 Cross Cultures, Inc. All Rights Reserved.