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Becoming Culturally Competent

09 Jul


Diversity and inclusion involve more than just expanding and revamping your corporate culture; it’s about developing a continuous business strategy with cultural competence built in the foundation. Cultural competence is the combination of cultural knowledge (awareness of cultural characteristics, history, values, beliefs, and behaviors), awareness (openness to cultural change and perception), and sensitivity (acknowledgment of cultural differences but absent of judgment, i.e., one culture is superior to another) through business efficiencies.
The United States is forecasted to become a “majority-minority” by 2043, meaning that “[m]ore than 50 percent of the population will identify as belonging to an ethnic minority group or any group other than non-Hispanic white.”[1] Cultural competency is the key to developing a more robust organization by increasing respect, collaboration, engagement, trust, and productivity, as well as decreasing workplace conflicts, stigmatization, and retaliation.
Promoting Cultural and Global Education and Resources
To determine what your cultural incompetencies are, you should conduct a comprehensive cultural competence assessment of your business. Cultural competency assessments can address the needs and interests of your employees and develop a long-term strategy that may address company values and mission, policies and procedures, and overall structure and best practices. Collecting invaluable free resources and partnering with organizations can assist you in promoting cultural and global education within your organization. For example, a local cultural chamber of commerce, such as the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, may offer unique services to its clients, such as bilingual customer service, and long-standing relationships with Hispanic-owned businesses that may face unique challenges for which your organization can assist.
Surveying your staff and researching what kinds of organizations they hold memberships or volunteer with can provide valuable insights to your employees. For example, you might ask, “What are the cultural, language, racial, and ethnic groups within the area served by this organization?” Employee responses may vary, which can present an overview of problem areas or commonalities in the way your employees think or observe the workplace.

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Fostering Healthy Communications and Engagement
A great way to approach developing healthy communications and employee engagement is utilizing the ABCD surveying method. It observes the foundation of what, how, and why people think or act the way that they do.
“A” stands for attitude. Exploring the attitudes and values of employees can shed light on communication preferences, diverse backgrounds, perspectives of business efficiencies, and how people react in different situations.
“B” stands for beliefs. Beliefs can range from religious to political to individual moral compasses. Understanding different beliefs that exist in the workplace can help guide communications. Whether you’re trying to come up with a witty subject line for better engagement or preparing a presentation, be mindful of the varying degree of beliefs and carefully review any jokes, comments, or explanations to ensure there are no misconceptions or room for insensitivity.
“C” stands for context. Make sure that what you’re communicating is delivered through the proper channels, on an acceptable timeline, and in a way that speaks to your intended audience. For example, how you communicate with your employees versus how you communicate with your clients is going to be different.
“D” stands for decision-making. Understanding how your employees make decisions and how their thought or problem-solving process may differ can assist you in navigating proper decision-making strategies. For example, as the employer, you may value an in-depth explanation of why a business decision is made to support company transparency. However, an employee may see it as unnecessary and unprofessional to share business decision-making details.
Robin Paggi, Training Coordinator at Worklogic HR – a VensureHR partner, is hosting a “Becoming Culturally Competent” webinar discussing what cultural competence is, gaining awareness of an individual’s cultural worldview, determining an individual’s attitude toward cultural differences, increasing knowledge of different cultural practices and worldviews, and developing cross-cultural skills. If you have any questions regarding cultural competence or need assistance with culture-related issues in the workplace, please contact VensureHR. Our team of seasoned HR specialists can provide you with industry best practices, resources, and around-the-clock customer service to guarantee your business is equipped to develop and evolve with cultural competence.

Cultural Competence: An Important Skill Set for the 21st Century
Cultural Competence and Patient Safety – ABCD for Cultural Assessment
[1] Building Culturally Competent Organizations

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