Navigating Cultural Differences in the Workplace

Nowadays it is hard to find a workplace that would not reflect the multinational society in which we all live. Regardless of where you came from, the personal values that you’ve acquired from your culture are likely to differ.

The diversity of such environments can be both productive and a source of tension – on one hand, it can promote the development of novel ideas and innovation, but on the other hand, the diversity carries the risk of confusion or conflict if it is not properly dealt with. It is highly demanded developing the sense of interest and respect to cultural variations in order to have a community of people working in the same place to be more productive and be more alike.


This article explains how to see cultural differences, how to communicate in different cultures and how to create the open culture at the workplace, where people from different cultural backgrounds are respected.


The Role of Cultural Sensitivity

Cultural awareness is the key to a more successful cross-cultural communication. It consists in an understanding that due to different cultures people can have various points of view, practices, and kinds of communication. Cultural awareness will help you understand and respect the cultural differences and nuances, which is essential for dealing with misunderstanding and learning to work more effectively.


Building Cultural Competence

Cultural competence involves communication with people of different cultures in a keen way. It includes the acquisition, improvement, and shaping of your attitudes, abilities, and perspectives to allow you to successfully interact with people from all around the world. Some key elements of cultural competence include:

  1. Knowledge: Find out more cultures of the people present in your work environment. Discover what is dear to them in terms of values, thoughts, and traditions.
  2. Skills: Establish efficient communication abilities, for instance listening actively, empathy and readability your own communication style to diverse cultural situations.
  3. Attitudes: Formulate a sound and general perspective on the diversity of cultures in the world. Do not substitute the assumption or judgment that you have from your own cultural lens for others.


Effective Communication Strategies

Language is the vessel that carries communication, which is the keystone of overcoming cultural differences at work. Here are some effective strategies to improve cross-cultural communication:

  • Clarify: Don’t be shy stopping us for asking help if you’re clueless about a certain matter. Because cultural diversity causes misunderstandings, for that reason, it’s much better to ask questions and seek clarification than to assume.
  • Avoid idioms and jargon: The sound phonemes can be very difficult for non-native speakers to catch or understand because they are complicated. Speak in a clear, simple manner when communicating with those from different family backgrounds.
  • Be mindful of nonverbal cues: Different ethnics show differences in the nonverbal ways of communication. Maintain attentiveness to how you use gestures, what is considered eye contact, and about keeping personal space distances to avoid conclusions that may cause offense or misunderstandings.


Promoting Cultural Inclusion

Making a company inclusive as well as respecting the different cultural origins of each member of staff is a good way to make people feel like a part of the team and to facilitate coordination between employees. Here are some strategies to promote cultural inclusion:

  1. Celebrate diversity: Coordinate events or activities that subsidize the populates who come from different cultures in the workplace. This possibility, on the other hand, can enhance workforce diversity and each one to-be appreciating co-worker’s cultures.
  2. Encourage open dialogue: Provide employee venues to let everybody share their background stories and unique mindsets. This can shape the culture of the participative process and can make it more welcoming.
  3. Provide cultural training: Provide training sessions or workshops so as to enable the employees to gain knowledge about cultural differences and foster their cultural capability.


Cultural diversity embracing and inclusion promotion allow workers to consider a place where employees value, respect, and appreciate individual uniqueness.

Cultural boundaries convergence asks for consistent input and dedication, but the results of a team which has successfully eliminated ethnic barriers and become a ‘melting pot’ of communal creative collaboration is well worth the efforts.

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