2020 has been a shocking year, and we are only half way through; the Covid-19 pandemic which has seen hundreds of thousands die worldwide has seemingly turned the world upside-down, but, more displacing even than this, was the death of George Floyd, on the 25th May, at the hands of a white police officer in Minneapolis, USA.
As a company that values cultural acceptance, both within the workplace and the community at large, we were appalled and saddened by the death of George Floyd.
Our ethos, as a training and translation organization is one of inclusion, diversity, acceptance, communication and understanding – we believe we are greater as whole, better able to work towards a common goal, united as the human race.
Our aim is to teach cultural awareness, acceptance and inclusion, so that together, we are more productive, creative, authentic, secure, and content in our lives.
In the workplace, cultural acceptance and awareness leads to increased efficiency, inspired ideas, improved trust, and high-functioning teams who are able to respect others and can understand (and overcome) their own bias.
Cultural acceptance in the workplace is vital and can be improved in the following ways:
• Educate your Team
Research has shown that for a businesses to operate successfully in a global setting they must be “sensitive to the cultural differences of its employees as well as its potential [partners, and] clients”.
The best way to ensure that employees are ‘sensitive’ to cultural difference and understand their own unconscious bias is through education and training.
For some firms this may take the form of a HR video shown on the first day and never repeated, but this is unlikely to give good results and will probably have been forgotten by the viewer at the end of the day.
Ideally, cultural awareness training should be a consistent, regular part of training, not a one-off after thought.
Training should enlighten employees, teaching them how to appreciate differences, listen openly to others, provide effective methods for improved communication, and give an understanding of cultures and how they impact our decision making, attitudes and work ethic.
• Provide Common Ground
As individuals we often find we change our opinion of people when we discover we have things in common with them.
An effective way for a firm to engage its employees in cultural acceptance is to provide a common ground where employees at every level, from every culture, can come together to create or assist in a specific project.
For instance, if there is a group in your local community who are organizing fundraising for a certain project, then encouraging employees to assist with this can create a sense of community and belonging.
If possible, inspire employees to start their own group or fundraising project to help with a cause that has a collective purpose such as, Black Lives Matter.
• Lead by Example
Effective leadership will motivate, educate, encourage and mentor their team to become more accepting and inclusive.
Those in managerial positions should be a priority for cultural awareness training as they can then propagate these concepts in others.
Leaders should understand how to assess non-verbal clues, provide conflict resolution tactics for improved cooperation and encourage an inclusive ethos within their team.
Many organizations are now grasping the importance of cultural acceptance within the workplace, and promoting a diverse and inclusive brand ethos, in a bid to align themselves with customers’ views and beliefs.
Should a company fail to sustain and support this affiliation, and their customers become aware of potential differences or counter-intuitive actions by the company, then the loss of business can become very real.
Customers are choosing to vote with wallets – they are making purchases based on a firm’s diversity policy and they won’t be fooled by catchy taglines and public-relations ploys but instead will choose to shop with firms that put people at the heart of their business, stamping out bias and prejudice.
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