In the globalized community where different cultures come together, cultural sensitivity has become more important as it fosters a culture of inclusivity in the workplace. This inclusivity has paved the way for many businesses to grow and become more resilient.
Thanks to the growing numbers of offshore teams and remote workers, organizations have become more culturally diverse, exposing them to people from different walks of life or on the other side of the world. Cultural inclusivity is becoming one of the most important practices many companies employ. If you’re one of them, here are some ways how to handle cultural differences in the workplace.
7 Methods to Address Cultural Differences with Offshore Staff
1. Be mindful of different cultural communication styles
Body language, hand movements, and facial expressions are important aspects of a conversation. Different cultures have different communication styles—some may use indirect or nonverbal cues when conversing, while others are more direct with verbal cues. This could lead to several misunderstandings if you’re unaware of the nuances in interpreting these communication styles.
For example, gestures may have different meanings depending on the culture. One sign can mean “okay” in one culture but disrespectful in another. Avoid accidentally offending someone from your offshore team by brushing up on the differences and rope in your colleagues to do the same.
2. Learn a few key phrases in their language
Communicating with your team outside of your borders is difficult enough, but adding the language barrier can make it seem impossible. To overcome this problem, learn a few key phrases in their language. Although learning an entirely new language is nice, it may not be practical when you’re dealing with a very culturally diverse offshore team.
Knowing and using common greeting phrases in their language can go a long way in making them feel appreciated and welcomed. Once you’ve deepened your relationship with them, you can politely ask them for other common phrases or interesting words. This can also show that you genuinely want to know more about them instead of them adjusting to your needs.
3. Avoid harmful stereotypes
When dealing with a multi-cultural team, be careful with the language you use because it may be insensitive or discriminatory. Online communication tends to leave much to interpretation that can lead to misunderstanding. Therefore, watch out for words that can come off as stereotypical.
More than that, stereotypes may lead you to believe that your offshore colleagues think the way they do due to their cultural background. To avoid this, get to know them as individuals instead of basing them on their cultural upbringing.
4. Draft a solid anti-discrimination policy
Creating a comprehensive anti-discrimination policy can protect your team members from being harassed. This is especially important when managing an offshore team as they may feel even more excluded from the rest who are onsite.
Your policy should include what constitutes a discriminatory offense, the punishment, and the procedure if someone experiences these offenses. You also need to establish different complaint channels to ensure victims are not afraid to file a complaint. This needs to be clearly stated, properly disseminated, and strictly enforced to create a safe space for your multi-cultural team in the workplace.
5. Organize a cross-cultural training session
One of the best ways to create an inclusive environment and spread awareness is to hold mandatory cross-cultural training sessions. These training sessions can help your team understand one another’s differences and navigate through them. By doing so, you’re encouraging them to put common principles above their differences.
Your training sessions should highlight discriminatory and prejudiced words and actions, so employees know what not to say or do. Many may not be aware of microaggressions that may be mild to them but offensive to those on the receiving end. This can help avoid stereotypes and become active listeners instead of just looking at their own perspectives.
6. Engage them with team-building exercises
Another way to make your offshore team feel included is to have events that celebrate cultural differences in the workplace. For instance, you can hold a show-and-tell of common practices in their culture, creating a workplace that appreciates different cultures as they learn more about the other.
When doing team-building exercises, make sure that it’s something that everyone, even those who are not onsite, can participate in and enjoy.
7. Don’t forget about empathy
Whether you’re dealing with a culturally diverse workplace or not, it’s always best to practice empathy. The differences in cultures may affect how they do their work, so you need patience and understanding.
Working from an offsite location on the other side of the world comes with even more factors that can affect their daily work routine. Thus, you’ll have to extend a bit more consideration. Remember, they are humans like you, even if they have a different cultural background. They need to be understood and feel like part of the community.
Workplace Culture of Culture Inclusivity
Globalization has paved the way for different cultures to come together, and companies with their offshore teams are proof of this. Thus, it has become crucial for organizations to create an inclusive workplace where everyone is treated equally and respectfully.
By having a culturally diverse and inclusive workplace, you’re encouraging your team to come together and generate unique ideas to help your business succeed. Work with a like Manila Recruitment to help you start an offshore team. Contact us today to know more!