How to be a Global Citizen: 7 Ways to Embrace Cultural Diversity in the Workplace
How to be a global citizen is clearly a topic that I’m passionate about and naturally so.
Being a Third Culture Adult and someone who straddles the East and the West with ease, being a global citizen is integral to what I believe in and live every single day.
With the shrinking of the physical world, thanks to technology and the Internet, the landscape of the modern workplace is changing faster than we can imagine.
And this landscape will continue to evolve over the years. As a business owner, entrepreneur or working professional, it is vital that you embrace cultural diversity in the workplace.
By acknowledging and appreciating differences in culture, one can increase innovation and productivity, spark creative thinking, promote employee and team member well-being and help to save both time and money.
So, where does one start with being more culturally diverse in the workplace?
Here are 7 ways to be a global citizen by embracing diversity at work:
- Foster and reward openness:
Encourage employees, team members, coworkers to express ideas and opinions without fear of retribution.
- Stand up to discrimination:
You’ll see it. That’s a fact. Discrimination does exist. As a global citizen, it is your responsibility and duty to stand up to it. Help fellow workers appreciate the differences that everyone brings to the table and how that helps your business do better on the whole.
- Focus on strengths, rather than similarities:
Many of us have gotten into the habit of staying in our comfort zones, even when it comes to people. We look for similarities because, let’s face it, they’re more comfortable. Instead, I challenge you as a global citizen, to focus on strengths rather than similarities. Think of the creative thinking that happens when differences come together and fuse to create greatness.
- Sensitize employees and team members:
Global workplaces are a reality and in the future, being culturally diverse will not be an option but the very essence of a business. Make sure you’re prepared by sensitizing employees, co-workers and fellow team members.
Start by setting an example yourself and examine your own sense of inclusion. Do you make assumptions about others based on their ethnicity? Do you respond positively to certain communication styles and negatively to others?
Introspecting on our own attitude towards cultural diversity will help you not only talk the talk but actually walk it too.
- Make cultural learning a part of who of you are:
Regardless of whether your workplace has a formal cultural diversity policy, as a global citizen, it will be in your best interest to step up and soak in all the learning you can about various cultures.
Feel overwhelmed? Start with the cultures you see and interact with the most at your workplace. That’ll help you engage better with co-workers and team members and make working together a productive and profitable experience.
- Act with fairness rather than with sameness:
Cultural diversity is not about making blanket decisions that include everyone under the same umbrella. It is about respecting and acknowledging differences and treating them fairly.
For instance, western Christians and Eastern Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas on different days. Fridays are a day of prayer for Muslims. Scheduling events on these days and treating everyone “uniformly” will only hurt sentiments and lead to friction.
- Diversity management training:
Managing diversity, at times, requires bringing on an expert. Someone who can help the entire team, as a whole, to understand and appreciate the cultural differences and learn how to work together as a cohesive whole.
Regular workshops, seminars and trainings on cultural diversity, team work and integration can make this easier for everyone.
If you have questions about embracing cultural diversity in the workplace and would like to chat with me about it, join me on Facebook or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org