Why Is Cultural Awareness Important?

Why Is Cultural Awareness Important?

The Facts

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Every business strives to expand its business to the world, thanks to the advent of technology. The digitization era has shattered all the physical barriers and made us more connected than ever. 

However, despite this remarkable accessibility, many businesses fail to hold their ground firm on foreign soil. The reason? They fail to speculate on: Why is cultural awareness important in making their mark?

The Necessity of Cultural Awareness

Cultural awareness helps us recognize, understand and accept the interpersonal differences in values, beliefs, and customs. It helps develop cultural competence as we interact with others without judgment & thus provide space for successful personal and professional relationships.

Elements of Cultural Awareness

  • The definition of culture 
  • Awareness and importance of intra-cultural variation
  • How culture influences the identity and lifestyle
  • Becoming aware of unconscious biases due to one's cultural influence and reactions associated.
  • Effective interaction with people from diverse backgrounds

8 Reasons Why is Cultural Awareness Important in Your Workplace

As of the 2044 U.S. Census, more than half of America's population would comprise people of color. Therefore, it reminds us of the need of the hour to incorporate diversity and inclusion in the workplace. One of the factors to promote diversity and equity is cultural literacy.

  1. Effective Communication Skills

Cultural literacy and awareness allow the employees to interact confidently with diverse backgrounds.

It allows everyone to share their ideas and opinions as they feel safe and comfortable in their work environment.

  1. Reduced Cultural Conflicts
  • Cultural awareness allows room for empathy as employees feel personally connected with diverse cultures and the challenges they face.
  • It discourages blind judgments on others' behaviors and lifestyles.
  1. Quality Targeted Marketing to reach Global Audience

An organization with a diverse workforce and cultural awareness as its top priority can target different cultures and establish a strong bond.

  1. Nurturing Work Environment
  • Effective communication with a positive work environment allows the employees to grow and take on new opportunities.
  • Cultural awareness allows everyone to feel respected, heard, and valued for their skills.
  1. Increases Cultural Self Awareness
  • Cultural awareness plays a significant role in helping us to become more aware and connected with our culture.
  • It allows us to introspect the cultural influence on our belief system, values, and outlook of life.
  1. Makes Way for Creativity & Innovation
  • Everyone from a different culture houses different outlooks and perceptions of life and its processes.
  • It allows more different ideas and opinions to the table, which gives a wide range of perspectives and thus more creativity.
  1. Attract & Retain Best Talents
  • Everyone looks for a safe and supportive workplace to thrive. An inclusive environment allows you to grow holistically while taking your working skills to the next level.
  • It thus attracts talents from diverse pools to join your organization while increasing job satisfaction.
  1. Higher Profitability & Productivity

Cultural literacy and awareness make way for new positive beliefs, practices, processes, and cultures that increase the adaptability and spontaneity of the workforce in a novel situation.

8 Benefits of Cultural Awareness Training in the Business Setting

  1. Higher team success and coordination.
  2. It equips employees with active listening skills, empathy, and understanding of other cultures.
  3. Increases job satisfaction.
  4. Equips the employees with valuable skills and experiences to grow holistically.
  5. Helps to develop a quality marketing strategy
  6. Improve cognitive flexibility of the employees.
  7. It allows the leaders to educate the coming generations on the importance of cultural awareness.
  8. It allows the supervisors to be more accessible and sensitive to their employees.

3 Everyday Life Challenges to Cultural Literacy

We got to know how & why cultural awareness is important. A 2013 FBI report found the occurrence of 6,000 hate crimes of which 60% were racial-targeted crimes while 20% were against sexual orientation and other 17% based on religions.

Here are the top 5 challenges that pose to cultural awareness

  1. Limited knowledge about other cultures leads to negative stereotypes.
  2. Language barrier
  3. The difference in non-verbal cues

3 Organizational Challenges that Accompanies Diversity

  1. Clash in perspectives or opinions.
  2. Susceptibility to misunderstandings and miscommunication among employees like with nonverbal cues.
  3. Employees from polite cultures like the Japanese feel uncomfortable voicing their opinions against the higher-ups.

7 Ways to Increase Cultural Awareness in the Organization

  1. Simple & Concise Communication

Ensure the communication is precise yet simple, to make sure non-native employees can comprehend it easily.

  1. Promote Cultural Sensitivity 

It is crucial to exercise cultural-appropriate manners like saying 'thank you' and 'please' when interacting with different cultures.

  1. Develop Active Listening
  • All employees should develop active listening skills to understand others and make them feel heard.
  • Listen to foreign colleagues and customers to discover their underlying values and beliefs.
  1. Celebrate Cultural Differences
  • Acknowledging and celebrating cultural differences increases cultural literacy and also tolerance for diversity.
  • Allow room for cultural and religious observances by providing half-day offs or holidays.
  1. Impart Training to increase Cultural Literacy
  • A well-researched training will help the employees to gain insight into other cultures.
  • Cultural awareness training will also allow employees to learn to adjust their behaviors and use appropriate language and gestures.
  1. Group Projects

Group projects are one of the best ways to foster team development and cooperation among diverse employees.

  1.  Inclusive Work Policies.

Ensure the work policies align with the organization's goals of diversity and inclusivity.

Numerous times, the organization aspires to expand its reach to a global level by incorporating cultural awareness but fails. It is due to the failure to acknowledge the cultural aspects of the target audiences and adapt themselves to them. 

7 Things to Do to Become Internationally Successful

  1. Adapt your Business Model to the Target Market

So many times, companies roll out their business as per their global business model into an international market. It is the worst step to take as without acknowledging and studying the local culture, you can't understand consumer demands and thus fail to appeal to them.

  1. Go Glocal
  • Glocal derives its existence from the words global and local.
  • It is crucial to tweak your brand messaging and marketing strategy in line with the local culture of your audience with global standards.
  1. Analyze Local Businesses & their Management Practices

Local business can give your insight into the skills for negotiation, expected pace, and risk management practices that are quite usual.

  1. Identify & Acknowledge Sub-cultural Differences
  • Identify and remove intra-national barriers from reaching the entire cultural makeup of the target country.
  • It can include sections with a different language, socioeconomic status, etc.
  1. Research and Immerse in the target Culture

Consumers can connect with the products only when your products glimmer of a connection.

  1. Study Cultural Etiquette & Customs

Culture binds people together. Adapting your business practices and customs w.r.t the cultural etiquette and values helps you establish a strong connection with the target audience.

  1. Comply with the Local Compliance Policies.

It is crucial to abide by the local labor laws, employment laws, and taxation to avoid compliance risk.

In the Nutshell

If cultural diversity is the route to global experience, creativity, and brand empowerment, cultural awareness is the vehicle. When you acknowledge why cultural awareness is important, it opens the door to different ideas and perceptions. 

So, make your business global-ready by educating them through cultural awareness training and leading the way.

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