India is known for its cultural diversity. In fact every few kilometers in India, one will find different food & cuisines, different traits & set of people, different dress code, different festivals, different environment, different languages & culture, a different location like plains, mountains, beaches, forests, etc.
Similarly in today’s digital age and global work environment, one cannot ignore working in a diverse culture across India and Globe. There is so much cross connection across the world due to technological developments.
Having a diverse culture at workplaces has its own advantages and disadvantages but moreover managing such diverse culture at workplaces is all the way more challenging and cannot be ignored.
In fact, one of the best approach to handle this diversity is to accept the differences and amplify the common traits as human to fast track this management of cultural diversity.
Here are some sure shot globally proven ways to manage a diverse culture at workplaces:
- Accept The Fact That A Diverse Culture Exists
- Sensitizing The Workforce With Adequate Training On Cross Culture Diversity
- Create Opportunities To Have Meals & Drinks Together
- Encourage Cross-Cultural Travel For Experiences
- Enhancing Cross-Cultural Team Spirit By Indulging In Sports Activities
- Encourage Cross Culture Team For Any Project
- Encourage A Cross-Culture Buddy Support System
- Ensure To Learn The Basics Of Other Language
- Celebrate Local Festivals Together
1 Accept The Fact That A Diverse Culture Exists
The true management of cultural diversity starts with the company itself by way of it's policies, behavior and it's core culture. If the company wants to really take advantage of a diversity of culture in its workforce, then it must recognise this fact by way of:
- Written policies and procedures to handle cultural diversity
- Proper code of conduct to handle the cultural diversity
- Recruitments should consider this fact
- Holidays & internal festivals related policies should consider local cultural requirements
- Different time zones related policies
2 Sensitizing The Workforce With Adequate Training On Cross Culture Diversity
There are times people are not aware of the other side of culture as they are never exposed to this. If a company has a diverse range of employees, they must train to sensitize the workforce with cross cultural training. Such training can consider and cover various aspects of other cultures to ensure the people at least could understand the other side of stories.
Some of the items which may be covered are:
- Introduction to the social and family structure of both sides
- Introduction to the sensitive matters including religion and spiritual behavior of both cultures
- Introduction to popular series including events, location, foods, etc
- Understanding on best ways to interact
3 Create Opportunities To Have Meal & Drinks Together
In India, there is a popular saying that "the family who eats together stays together".
There is another popular saying that "a lot can happen over coffee".
Having food together at lunch break or evening drinks & dinner creates lots of personal interaction on a regular basis which ultimately enhances bonding over a period of time.
This also enhances the interaction on a regular basis which helps in bridging the cultural gaps very effectively. Such regular interaction can happen over:
- Tea breaks
- Lunch breaks
- Evening dinner and drinks gathering
4 Encourage Cross Cultural Travel For Experiences
Another best way to bridge the cultural diversity is to encourage travel together to cross-culture experience at the root level to really understand the other side of the story.
When a team travels to a cross-cultural location, there are various experiences and not limited to :
- Different terrain with extreme climate etc
- Adjustment for food with different cuisines
- The experience of local daily life
Some of the best life experiences happen over travel. Such experiences are really a booster to bridge cultural diversity and enhance communication and understanding.
5 Enhancing Cross Cultural Team Spirit By Indulging In Sports Activities
Sports enhances both Team Spirit and Performance at both the individual level and group level.
With cross-cultural teams, the workplaces can encourage both indoor and outdoor sports activities that can be utilized by the workforce at their own suitable schedule.
Some of the popular sports for indoor/outdoor may include
- Local popular sports
Occasionally sports-related competitions can be held to make the activity more interesting and fun.
Such measures really enhance the team spirit and reduce the gap due to cultural diversity.
6 Encourage Cross Culture Team For Any Project
A company with a diverse workforce should encourage cross-cultural team formation for any project. This will enhance the future leadership pipeline
Also, the regular feedback on the project will be much more diverse while executing.
The workforce should be judged more on the basis of work experience rather than biased on the basis of cultural background.
Corona pandemic has worldwide disrupted the way organisations used to work.
Remote working has actually reduced the impact of cultural diversity in a digital world automatically as compared to the physical world where this was more sensitive.
7 Encourage A Cross Culture Buddy Support System
Some of the best companies around the world have a buddy system in place to support the new employee in the organization for ease of mixing in the organization.
Such a buddy system should be enhanced to take care of the cross-culture buddy system to really understand and support the issues related to cross-cultural communication and other related issues.
8 Ensure To Learn The Basics Of Other Language
Workplaces should encourage the teaching and learning of cross-culture language basics to boost some basic communication with cross-cultural teams.
This really boost understanding and the performance of the team along with these bridges the gap due to cultural diversity
9 Celebrate Local Festivals Together
Festivals brings festivity and celebrations. They are the best way to understand the other culture if celebrated together.
Workplaces should encourage such celebrations to bridge the gap due to cultural diversity.
The globally cross-cultural team is the future and hence workplaces need to be prepared for such cultural diversity in order to both hire and motivate the future workforce.
Thanks for being here till this point. Please do share your views on this and also share if you have any other ideas working at your place to bridge the cultural diversity gap.