The United States has long been called the melting pot of the world due to the large cultural diversity of our country. Living in a multicultural nation gives us the opportunity to learn from others and see things from different perspectives – but in some cases, it can also lead to prejudice.
The past year or so has brought the civil liberties movement to light more than ever for people who come from different cultures and backgrounds. A result of this is a stronger focus on cultural sensitivity in the workplace. If your organization has not recently performed cultural sensitivity training, there is no better time than now.
What is Cultural Sensitivity?
Having cultural sensitivity not only means being aware of other peoples’ cultures and backgrounds but respecting them and recognizing that their cultural norms are as valid as your own. Critical to cultural sensitivity is not insisting that your ways are better than anyone else’s.
People who excel at cultural sensitivity are easily able to work alongside others who have very different backgrounds and come from different places.
Why is Cultural Sensitivity Training Important?
Businesses are becoming more diverse all the time. In fact, many job applicants today state diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are critical factors when considering a job offer. Knowing that an organization values sensitivity in the workplace makes it a more desirable place to work.
Additionally, it can encourage team building, cooperation among team members, and a general feeling of camaraderie. When your team is able to work together better, your organization will see improved results.
Engaging your employees, from upper management down to part-time contractors, in cultural sensitivity training may also prevent lawsuits or Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) complaints of harassment and discrimination.
Training for Cultural Sensitivity in the Workplace
Bringing in an expert is a great place to start for training. You also want to make sure that upper management is well-versed in the topic before you start training the rest of your team. Buy-in from the top is critical for any initiative, but especially when discussing cultural differences.
Training should consist of a variety of topics, including:
- Intercultural communication
- Ways to celebrate diversity in the workplace
- Learning to curb behaviors that are considered insensitive or rude to other cultures
- Putting policies in place that make it possible to safely report discrimination
It is important to have follow up training and be sure to walk the talk for your employees. You may also want to consider company-sponsored cultural celebrations as well as providing paid time off for a wide variety of religious and cultural holidays.
Applied Development offers training for a variety of DEI topics, including cultural sensitivity in the workplace. We are also able to help create policies and procedures that make it easy to implement DEI initiatives for your organization.