How to Create a Cultural Experience in Your Office
The workplace attracts people from various walks of life. They come with varying opinions, approaches to thinking, and most importantly, differing cultures. Moreover, diversity can take many forms, ranging from culture to nationality, educational background, sexuality, gender, race, among others. Correspondingly, companies often deal with clients and stakeholders from all over the world.
Such diversity can create conflict, especially if employees don’t know how to co-exist. On the contrary, multiculturalism is also the source of a limitless pool of ideas, talents, viewpoints, and opinions.
The benefits of diversity in the workplace are compelling in the globalized business environment where employees are from different countries. Appreciating diversity makes the workplace more exciting and enriches the environment for everyone.
With such benefits, your company must devise ways to create a cultural experience. Consequently, here are strategies you can implement to promote diversity in the workplace.
You should make a point of teaching employees about the different traditional approaches and traditions. While at it, it would help to discuss global events and international politics. Allow employees enough time to learn from each other about their countries and backgrounds.
During training sessions to create a cultural experience, topics to discuss with the learners include:
- Business etiquette across local and global cultures
- Negotiation practices among different cultures
- Corporate etiquette in various cultures
- Cross-cultural communication that avoids harassing or offending other employees from different cultures
- Creating a marketing campaign for different parts of the world.
Eventually, everyone in the workplace should be in a better position to manage language barriers, brush off misinterpretations, and practice cultural sensitivity. Most importantly, they’ll learn how to avoid stereotyping and create a cultural experience that is genuinely enriching.
Additionally, it would help to have a cultural sensitivity expert come to the workplace for a cultural sensitivity seminar. The experience can make employees understand first-hand how to respect cultural diversity in a global economy. Ultimately, cultural awareness creates a cultural experience that promotes the general well-being of the work environment.
If your company has several employees representing different countries, it’s crucial to create an infrastructure that celebrates their diversity. For example, you could put up a group or educational program that celebrates cultural differences in the workplace.
Further, let your employees have special days when they:
- Celebrate cultural differences
- Share local food from the local community and other cultures
- Get out of their comfort zone and learn a new language
- Learn to communicate in the local language
- Grow local and international language skills
- Immerse in art and literature from the world over.
Having a culturally diverse calendar will remind employees that diversity celebration matters. It also prepares them to get involved in the celebrations.
Similarly, you could think in the lines of using corporate digital signage displays to sensitize people about different cultures. For example, designate a day where you display greetings, types of food, clothing, and the general way of life of other people from various cultures.
Consequently, this will create cultural awareness about diverse cultures each day. Also, it’ll give employees a chance to participate in cultural exchange for a unique experience.
Social activities to promote diversity don’t have to be complex, expensive, or time-consuming. On the contrary, it could be as simple as organizing a session with employees, not related to work activities in any way. During this time, encourage employees to share about their diverse backgrounds.
Besides, they should use this time to socialize with the people they probably don’t interact with for cultural-based reasons. The meeting doesn’t have to be during work hours, but you can schedule it after work or over the weekends.
Likewise, as you strive to create a cultural experience, employees need some guidelines. These are especially crucial as employees try to explore their colleagues’ cultures. Thus, they should strive not to:
- Bring out their preconceived ideas about other cultures
- Isolate themselves from engaging with others
- Glue themselves to their phones because doing so only hinders their cultural immersion
- Have a bucket-list mentality that makes them avoid interaction with people from certain places.
The workplace must have a set of guidelines and policies around acceptable behavior. Such policies play a role in reducing cultural discrimination when creating a cultural experience. As such, the policies should clearly define what is acceptable and what isn’t.
Additionally, the policies should outline the consequences that employees, managers, and front-line employees who disregard the policies will face. Overall, everyone must understand what constitutes cultural discrimination, local customs, new culture, and native languages.
Embracing cultural diversity in the workplace is more than just managing language barriers. Instead, it delves deep into developing an interest in other cultures to create a cultural experience.
Undoubtedly, the workplace environment should allow people to practice their culture without discrimination. As people become more familiar with their colleague’s way of life, opinions, talents, and conduct, there will be fewer misinterpretations, stereotyping, and conflicts.