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How to Support Cultural and Linguistic Diversity at Work 

How to Support Cultural and Linguistic Diversity at Work 

To create a global company culture at your workplace, you must support inclusiveness and cultural and linguistic diversity. It is not only good from a business point of view, but by helping your company to understand colleagues, customers, and clients from around the world, you are helping create an engaging and enriching work environment.

Support Cultural and Linguistic Diversity

Regardless of the size of your organization, in today's globalized business environment, there are several benefits of supporting cultural and linguistic diversity in the workplace. Diversity can be found in many forms, from nationality to culture, gender, race, sexuality, educational background, etc. And in this article, we will investigate some simple strategies that can be implemented to support linguistic and cultural diversity at work.  

Boost Your Cultural Competency 

One of the most valuable workplace skills is cross-cultural communication. Technology has made the world much smaller; hence, you are more likely to interact with people from different cultural backgrounds. Therefore, the role of cross-cultural communication, especially in the workplace, has increased many folds. By developing a better understanding of various cultures and perspectives, your communication may improve, leading to fewer misunderstandings.  

You must also make it a habit to learn about various cultures, traditions, and approaches to work. Additionally, keep yourself updated about international politics and global events. If you have colleagues from multiple countries and backgrounds, try and familiarize yourself with them. You must also be open to travel opportunities, especially visiting an overseas office or meeting foreign teams. This will not only make you sensitive towards other cultures, but you will also gain a better sense of cultural appreciation.  

Embrace Different Perspectives 

We may often encounter a problem that needs a different approach. Hence, you must always be open to new perspectives. If you have colleagues from different cultures and backgrounds, then they can provide valuable insight that they have gained through diverse life experiences. Because of their different approach to any business issue, they may reveal a solution you had never considered.  

If different perspectives are embraced at your workplace, then it will eventually lead to productive business relationships. Irrespective of your position, always seek different ideas, advice, and expertise from your colleagues. It will not only improve communication but also create an inclusive company culture. Such a culture will help your company retain diverse talents and make your workplace attractive for job seekers with a global mindset.  

Treat Others the Way They Want to be Treated 

Usually, we say that you must treat others how you want to be treated. However, this does not apply in any diverse workplace environment. Instead, treating others as they want to be treated is better. You must always be sensitive and considerate of others’ boundaries and expectations. Maybe you are comfortable with something that conflicts with someone else’s values. You must also take into account commonplace interactions that comprise cultural nuances. For example, handshakes are perceived differently across cultures.  

Another way to improve cultural awareness is by asking if you are in doubt and apologizing if you have accidentally caused any offense. This will make you come across as sensitive, and you may be appreciated for your efforts by your colleagues. If you respect cultural and personal boundaries and instill this habit among your colleagues, it will result in a more productive and welcoming workplace.  

Read Also: How to Set Boundaries at Work: 5 Tips to Follow  

Observe and Learn from Other Cultures 

Another way of supporting cultural and linguistic diversity at your workplace is by creating a calendar that accounts for the significant holidays across different cultures. You can also encourage your colleagues to take part and celebrate other traditions. One of the most fun and easiest ways of team building is sharing food and music and celebrating traditional events like Eid or Thanksgiving.

If you cannot organize large-scale celebrations, then at least try to respect that culture by declaring it as a Religious or cultural holiday. You can also encourage small gestures like good wishes through e-mail, especially to colleagues far from their homes. Apart from the major holidays, you must also consider their cultural and religious practices. For example, if one of your colleagues is fasting, you must avoid scheduling group lunches during that period.  

Contribute to Workplace Diversity 

Lastly, you must not underestimate the cultural value you can add to the workplace. Irrespective of your background, your perspective, experiences, and culture can enrich those around you. Therefore, you must encourage others to contribute to the company culture. By simply sharing a traditional treat from home, you can initiate a conversation that would inspire others to share.  

If you want to promote diversity in your workplace, embrace it and work towards building and understanding. Try to get to know your colleagues on a more personal level. Suppose you can look past their cultural and linguistic backgrounds. In that case, it can help you find common ground, appreciate the differences, and promote a more inclusive and welcoming workplace environment.  

The Editorial Team

The Editorial Team

Hi there, we're the editorial team at WomELLE. We offer resources for business and career success, promote early education and development, and create a supportive environment for women. Our magazine, "WomLEAD," is here to help you thrive both professionally and personally.

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