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  • Karim Bensaid

Embrace Cultural Diversity in Business!

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Today's business world is played out on a global stage, boosted by technology that gives companies of all sizes the freedom to recruit the best people, wherever they are. From the redesign of workplaces to the emergence of new management concepts, driven by Millennials, one word is often on everyone's lips and that is "cultural diversity". In this context, it is imperative to understand what the cultural mix looks like in companies and to review the importance of diversity and its benefits. In the second step, we will discuss the language aspect that can be a barrier to the inclusion of many employees in an organization.

How could cultural diversity be defined?

Cultural diversity is the representation of different cultural and ethnic groups in society. In the workplace, it is the inclusion of employees of different backgrounds, races, sexual orientations, and political views. The term cultural mix or diversity implies an inclusive environment, with representatives of different backgrounds coming together to work as a team.

More cultural diversity for more profitability

Cultural mix or inclusion should not remain wishful thinking or a talking point in the media. Extensive research has been conducted on its positive effects and the importance of business inclusion. It provides solid findings on the superior profitability of diverse companies compared to non-diverse ones.

Cultural mixing in the workplace allows companies to build teams of different talents who bring equally different perspectives, which increases innovation and raises revenues.

An undeniable contribution to business

Cultural mixing has been shown to boost creativity and stimulate innovation by increasing the ability to solve problems and meet customer needs in innovative and exciting ways. A diverse skill base allows an organisation to offer a wider and more adaptable range of products and services. For example, cosmetics giant L'Oréal owes much of its success, particularly in emerging markets, to its multicultural product development teams.

Tapping into a culturally diverse talent pool enables an organisation to attract and retain the best talent. According to a Glassdoor survey, two-thirds of job seekers indicate that diversity was important to them when evaluating companies and job opportunities. A company that employs people from all types of cultures and backgrounds will be seen as a good employer. This reputation among employees will enhance the company's reputation and attract more people to work there.

Diverse teams are more productive and successful: In fact, studies have shown that organizations with a culture of diversity and inclusion are both happier and more productive, partly due to greater employee engagement.

Breaking down language barriers to promote cohesion in business

In an increasingly diverse society, it is almost guaranteed that there will be some degree of cultural disparity in the workplace. This mismatch can cause certain dysfunctions such as:

  • The aversion of colleagues from certain cultures (especially Asian or South American) to having their voices heard.

  • The weight of negative cultural prejudices or stereotypes in integration within multicultural teams, making it difficult.

  • The impact of language barriers on communication within the company.

This last point can be problematic, especially when it comes to communicating clearly and accurately with those who do not speak the same language. As communication is crucial to the success of a business, it is important to have some techniques to use when things get a little difficult to communicate. These include:

  • Warn everyone when someone from a different culture arrives so that they treat them with respect

  • Speak more slowly than usual to help the colleague understand you without sounding demeaning or disrespectful.

  • Use visuals: Providing resources that everyone will understand allows for greater understanding and confidence for those who are not comfortable with the main language spoken in the office.

  • Create small groups to build confidence and active participation for those who are less comfortable speaking in groups.

  • Encourage conversations and activities outside the office. When employees are able to be more comfortable and familiar outside of the work environment, they will be better able to communicate effectively in the workplace.

  • Use the tools that today's technologies offer, such as apps and especially instant translation devices, which make it easier for colleagues from different cultures to communicate with each other and break down language barriers.

Ultimately, the crucial aspect of overcoming a language barrier in a work environment is to promote a culture of respect and interest. The situation will be more effective and productive when differences are acknowledged and accommodated. Being flexible and remaining calm and collected ensures a positive working environment.

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