Cultural awareness training is also known as intercultural, cross-cultural, and cultural competency training, equipping students and employees with the knowledge and skills they need to comprehend, work with, and thrive in cultures different from their own. It is essential for effective communication with international colleagues and clients, as well as for the development of strong commercial and personal ties.
Cultural values and attitudes, cross-cultural communication styles, intercultural management abilities, dealing with language challenges, and intercultural business strategies are some of the topics that are covered in cultural awareness training.
Cultural awareness training can help to create a more respectful and inclusive workplace culture in five ways:
- Increasing Cultural Awareness
Cultural awareness and proficiency are crucial for fostering a sense of belonging in the workplace and strengthening interactions amongst coworkers, customers, partners, and others.
Training lays the groundwork for understanding and appreciating diverse viewpoints and backgrounds, as well as developing empathy, or the ability to recognize and relate to the thoughts, emotions, and experiences of others.
- Focusing on Behaviors
Having a cheerful attitude and behaving responsibly go a long way toward connecting successfully with people both within and outside the workplace. However, what constitutes acceptable or inappropriate behavior varies from person to person.
Cultural awareness training ensures that employees are aware of the company’s code of conduct, regulations, and practices in order to avoid discrimination, harassment, bullying, and other forms of misconduct.
Employees’ assumptions about diversity and inclusion should be challenged, and a multidimensional perspective should be encouraged. It encompasses talents, age, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, veteran status, and diversity of thought, opinions, and communication styles, among other characteristics, in addition to race and gender.
- Making Better Decisions
When people make favorable or unfavorable judgments about others based on stereotypes or preconceived ideas, this is known as unconscious or implicit bias. While everyone has unconscious biases, they can cause problems and lead to biased judgments when they manifest in the job.
When a qualified candidate is passed over for a job or an employee is passed over for a promotion due to their accent or age rather than their qualifications and experience. Individuals learn why bias occurs, how to spot prevalent workplace prejudices, and how to control their personal biases and reduce their impact on workplace decisions and interactions through training.
- Improving Communication Skills
Employees’ capacity to interact effectively with different groups both internally and internationally can be hampered by a lack of cultural awareness, which can alienate or offend clients, partners, and colleagues from different areas, countries, and cultures.
Cultural training increases understanding of the complexities of cross-cultural communication, as well as the significance of words, actions, gestures, and body language in establishing connections with various people and groups.
Some other advantages of Cultural Awareness Training are:
- Businesses that invest in cultural awareness training for their staff get several benefits
- Build pleasant, harmonious, and productive teams through strengthening employee ties
- Attract and retain the best international talent
- To develop your international product and service offering, you must first understand customers from a variety of cultures
- Make stronger, longer-lasting connections with overseas partners
- Improve the quality of your international customer service
- Overtake your rivals in overseas markets
- Employees who have spent extended amounts of time working abroad should be better reintegrated
- Improve your chances of getting a job in an overseas assignment or in a leadership position
Importance of Cultural Awareness Training
Given below are some of the reasons why cultural awareness training is important.
- It helps you in comprehending and appreciating your own culture.
- It reduces the negative effects of cultural myopia.
- It allows you to empathize with the individuals you work with and prevents you from passing snap judgments on others’ actions.
- It lowers workplace blunders, lost time, and needless errors; it enhances communication and collaboration among coworkers, and it encourages workplace creativity and innovation.
Cultural Awareness in the Workplace: What You Can Do?
You and your staff will be able to open more doors for your company if you and your employees have the training, skills, and knowledge to work effectively with a broad set of people. So, here are some ways in which you can implement cultural awareness at your company to foster cultural literacy and understanding.
- Get Global Citizenship Training
To begin, you should improve your employees’ cultural awareness. You might arrange training sessions to educate them on various cultural traditions. These seminars should be structured so that your staff may learn how to function in an increasingly varied global business and culture. Formal training in a business setting will cover the topics you need to know about business. Communication, business etiquette, negotiation skills, and marketing abilities will all be covered.
- Use Effective Communication Skills to Bridge the Cultural Divide
When dealing with people from different cultures, good communication skills are essential. Your ability to communicate verbally and nonverbally with others can make or break a deal. Although it is best if your employees know the language of the country with which you do business, they may still communicate effectively if they have a thorough understanding of the culture and work with a professional translation.
If you have international customers or employees who don’t speak English well, advise your other employees to keep it simple, use short phrases, and avoid humor and colloquialism. You can also have your English-speaking staff, whether via email, phone, webcam, or face-to-face, ask foreigners to explain what they’re telling them or asking for. This will avoid any misconceptions or errors.
- Use Proper Etiquette
It’s always a good idea to have decent manners, no matter where you are in the world. Saying “please” and “thank you” is a significant and crucial element of business discussion in several nations. It reflects your politeness, respect, and compassion, and it will surely open doors for you and your business. Furthermore, informality is frowned upon in some countries. You should also instruct your personnel not to use a foreign customer’s first name when making initial contact and let the customer take the lead.
- Participate in Traditional Festivals and Food Celebrations
Celebrating diversity can help with cultural literacy, knowledge, and acceptance. Start by mentioning other cultures’ holidays and festivals in your company’s email or news bulletin, and then commemorate them at work as needed. This will demonstrate to your staff that you understand and respect their cultures. You could also hold a staff dinner or an international food day with the theme of cultural awareness and ask your employees to bring a traditional dish from their home country. You can increase your staff’s sensitivity to cultural differences by exposing them to other traditions.
- Pay Attention to Cultural Differences
Telling your employees to pay attention to variations in a foreign customer’s culture might also help them be more culturally sensitive. This way, they’ll be aware that bringing up or discussing politics or religion could get them into trouble.
You should also advise your personnel that they should conduct some research on their local customs and etiquette before working with a foreign consumer. Because certain cultures dislike discussing costs upfront, your staff will need to tailor how they discuss their project estimate. In other countries, the ‘hard sell’ is also a turn-off.
If you want to gain more knowledge about cultural awareness training, Impactly can help you with it.