Cultural diversity in the workplace is a fact of life. In order for your employees and your company to not only survive but thrive in this global market, everyone must learn to work together. With so many ideologies and customs along with some conflicts, how do you keep the peace?
Cultural awareness leads to understanding:
You can start diversity training in the workplace by encouraging openness as we all know diversity drives ideas. Understanding each other is key to working together in a calm environment. Encourage employees to ask questions about where other people come from. This is an ideal opportunity for them to learn about food, art, holidays, and different ways of communicating in different cultures.
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Ways to get to know other cultures in a diverse workplace:
Background and interests:
You can learn a lot about other cultures by asking people about their origins and interests. At staff meetings or lunches, ask staff to take turns giving presentations about life in another country, location, or ethnic group. You can share photos along with ethnic foods and recipes. In this way, employees become acquainted with various customs as well as similarities and differences in lifestyles.
Asking employees about their travel experiences is a great way to discover differences and similarities with foreign cultures. For example, people might tell you that they have trouble understanding language, are driving on the wrong side of the road, or are trying new foods.
Get employees to follow a conversational style. Even if they speak the same language, different cultures may use different words to describe the same thing. There are also dozens of expressions that are unique to different cultures and/or have different meanings. It is also common for cultures to borrow phrases or expressions from other cultures.