What Is Cultural Awareness?
Understanding what is cultural awareness is significant for an organization to enjoy a healthy, happy work environment. An organization's capacity to understand and respect cultural differences and engage successfully with individuals from different backgrounds is what cultural awareness is.
Cultural Awareness - A Brief Overview
According to the National Center for Cultural Competence, cultural awareness can be characterized in one of two ways. To begin with, cultural awareness entails identifying, comprehending, and observing the similarities and differences among other cultures.
Second, cultural awareness is a technique of seeing how a person's culture influences their conduct. To be successful in a varied corporate environment and to survive in an increasingly global world, it's critical to appreciate and understand other cultures.
It's simpler to foster an inclusive and productive atmosphere where everyone can work as a cohesive team when you're more culturally aware. Understanding various cultures is beneficial because it allows you to alter and adapt your interactions with people.
Ways to Foster Cultural Awareness in the Workplace
Cultural awareness should be a corporate goal in today's globalized society. It has been proven by studies in the domains of business, psychology, and sociology that it changes how teams work and interact and that it creates a more inclusive, productive atmosphere. Here are a few pointers on how to develop cultural awareness:
- Transparent Communication
If you're a manager, this is a vital point for you. Strive to create an environment where people feel secure and appreciated when they share their ideas and opinions. Having an open-door policy for anyone who feels insulted or misunderstood is also a good idea.
- Festivals and Special Occasions Should Be Celebrated
When you celebrate or commemorate other cultures' holidays and events, you assist your team to become more aware of other cultures' customs and sensitive to their differences.
Actively listen to your workers' stories about their backgrounds and ask questions to learn more about them. Wishing your workers well on their cultural or religious holidays demonstrates that you respect their uniqueness.
- Create Policies and Guidelines for Cultural Awareness
Creating and implementing diversity guidelines and policies is a crucial step in ensuring your employees are culturally aware. You may create clarity about how employees of various backgrounds should interact with one another by establishing standards about what is appropriate and ethical behavior in the workplace.
Examine local laws governing employment discrimination and incorporate them into your company's practices. Ascertain that everyone, from the executive team to front-line staff, understands what constitutes discrimination.
- Discard Your Preconceptions
Let's face it: we all have stereotypes about particular cultures, and each society has its prejudiced stereotypes about other cultures. It's a never-ending loop! This way, you won't have any preconceived notions about how people from other backgrounds should act or that someone from a particular religious group would reject your way of life.
It may be challenging, and you may feel as if you're treading on eggshells during unplanned and informal water-cooler conversation. You won't have to worry about stumbling with a little self-awareness and a 'think before I speak' method.
Simply put: Not everyone with Irish ancestry is drunk, and not everyone who is white is a white supremacist. The new Muslim hire is not a terrorist. The majority of Australians have never had their kid eaten by a dingo.
Why is Cultural Awareness Important?
Cultural awareness is important because it allows you to better understand people's histories and traditions, which may help you form deeper bonds with them.
Here are some of the reasons why cultural understanding is crucial:
- Diverse cultural viewpoints may spur innovation and creativity
Our culture has an impact on how we perceive the world. A diverse range of opinions, along with an international team's diverse personal and professional experience, may provide fresh insights that motivate colleagues to see the workplace—and the world—in new ways.
Diverse perspectives have been proved to foster creativity and promote innovation, allowing companies to solve challenges and satisfy consumer requirements in novel and interesting ways. L'Oréal, for example, credits its multicultural product development teams for much of its exceptional performance in new countries.
Out-of-the-box thinking may be sparked by several voices, viewpoints, and personalities bouncing off one another. Businesses can enjoy the greatest benefits of diversity in the workplace by providing a venue for the open exchange of ideas. Forbes recently published a research that concluded, “The best way to ensure the development of new ideas is through a diverse and inclusive workforce.”
- Local market knowledge and insight improve a company's competitiveness and profitability
When it comes to expanding into new markets, a multicultural staff may provide a significant competitive advantage. Adapting a product or service to flourish in a foreign market is common. Understanding local laws, rules, and customs, as well as the competitive environment, may assist a company in succeeding. Furthermore, local relationships, native language abilities, and cultural awareness may enormously improve international business development.
And, in the end, being more competitive means being more lucrative. Diversity Inc honors the top 50 most diverse firms each year and compares their performance to the market as a whole. According to recent McKinsey research, diversity is also beneficial to a company's financial line. Ethnically diverse businesses are 35 percent more likely to outperform the national industry median in terms of financial returns.
- A company can recruit and retain the top people by drawing from a culturally diversified talent pool
Two-thirds of job seekers said diversity was important to them when assessing firms and job offers, according to a Glassdoor poll. Demonstrating that your company is committed to building a multicultural and inclusive atmosphere will help you stand out in a competitive global employment market. Making diversity a priority in the hiring process can help you expand your pool of potential employees.
Hiring from a more varied talent pool not only makes your company more appealing to ambitious, internationally oriented people, but it also helps you retain them. Diversity in the workplace, including gender, religion, and ethnicity, has been found to promote employee retention and lower turnover costs.
- A business with a varied skill set can provide a wider and more adaptive range of goods and services
Companies gain from employing people with a broad variety of abilities that are sometimes unavailable when recruiting locally by pulling from a culturally diversified talent pool. By exploiting the talents and knowledge that their foreign workers bring to the table, globally-focused organizations may expand their service offerings.
A larger pool of abilities and a possibly more diversified offering of products and services might help your company gain a competitive edge via flexibility. The organizations that flourish in today's chaotic and uncertain global business climate are those that are quick and adaptive.
Adaptability entails more efficient and effective planning, development, and implementation. A corporation with cultural and cognitive diversity is more likely to notice a market gap. It will also have the worldwide (or market-specific) knowledge and expertise to assist a new or modified product in adapting to changing customer behavior—and succeeding.
Employees' well-being and general satisfaction can benefit greatly from cultural understanding. Employee happiness, for starters, contributes to a pleasant work environment. At work, a diverse workforce that collaborates effectively and respects one another is more likely to create stronger bonds. Employees are also more likely to be satisfied with their work.