Training on cultural competence

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With the ever-changing demographics that have become visible globally, cultural competence has become an essential aspect in the creation and establishment of a conducive working environment, with this paper thus providing a scope on what cultural competency is, understanding cultural competency, reasons why organizations are embracing cultural competency, and benefits of adopting cultural competency.
What is cultural competency?
The meaning of cultural competency
Understanding cultural competency
Understanding what cultural competency is further
What one should do when in a culturally diverse group

Reasons why organizations are embracing cultural competency

Globalization

Talent shortage

Diverse and changing consumer needs

Advantages of adopting cultural competency to an organization

Access to a larger talent pool

Increased exposure

Conflict resolution

Enhanced business image

boosts and encourages inclusion

Challenges to the implementation of cultural competency in an organization

Communication challenges

Resistance to change

Challenges in implementation of diversity in the workplace policies

Strategies to help in the effective implementation of cultural competency

Recognition

Fairness and just treatment

Encourage interaction

Develop an understanding and acceptance of diversity in the organization

Communication

Training

Steps in successful implementation

Create a cultural competency steering committee

Screen, evaluate and plan for the future

Formulation of a vision and strategy

Carry out a cultural competency diversity audit

Defining the company’s goals

Implementation

Conclusion

Cultural Competence Training

“It is the Differences in us that Makes us Special’’

What is cultural competency?

As labor force demographics significantly change and the global markets slowly emerge, workplace diversity is moving closer to becoming a key global business requirement. Organizations are certain of gaining both tangible and intangible benefits if the business enterprise embraces and adopts diversity, with the benefits, both to the organization and the employees being immense. Cultural competence can be defined as the ability to understand, recognize and appreciate other people’s beliefs, ideals and ideologies on their way of life. Cultural competence enables employees and cross cultural groups in a work place setup to work efficiently and professionally. Ideally, human beings are competent enough to function on their own but most importantly relating well and being in peaceful coexistence within institutions and organizations where multi-cultural situations are now a governing factor is of significant importance.

Understanding cultural competency: What should I do when I meet someone who has different beliefs and values than me?

This is a question that many people who have not been exposed to diverse cultures are often faced with. However, a person should accept the other person, recognize and respect his or her differences. With cultural diversity, an organization is able to increase its productivity, attain and retain its employees and maintain synergy and team work among its workers, all of which become beneficial and valuable both to the organization and the employees.

Reasons why organizations are embracing cultural competency

Globalization

Globalization can be defined as a process where organizations and business enterprises start to operate on a global scale. In this case, workforce diversity is an important measure to organizations that are seeking to establish themselves and are looking forwarding to acquiring a competitive edge in the global markets (Diller, 2013). By adopting cultural competency, an organization is able to obtain very many benefits such as acquiring a skilled team of employees and increasing its productivity.

Talent shortage

A shortage in the skills and competencies of employees is one reason why organizations should hire employees from different cultures. Roekel (2014) explains that in an era where skills and talent shortage is rampant, organizations are realizing that they must attract, motivate, retain, and utilize their valuable workers efficiently if they have to succeed. The management of diversity can significantly reduce the attrition rates and decrease absenteeism in an organization. In order to get the best out of the employees, organizations should not be unjust while recruiting on any particular group based on gender, race or culture.

Diverse and changing consumer needs

Today, the needs and wants of consumers are very diverse and they are constantly changing. In recent years, organizations have recognized that they can best serve different consumer groups in diverse markets when they employ a more diverse work force (Roekel, 2014).

Advantages of adopting cultural competency to an organization

Access to a larger talent pool

The access to a wider talent pool when seeking recruitments is one of the chief advantages an organization is able to achieve for having an employment recruitment policy that values cultural diversity. It is these diverse professionals that are able to drive innovation in the organization, giving the business enterprise a competitive advantage over its competitors.

Increased exposure

A diverse workplace will be more exposed as the employees from the different cultures and backgrounds all have their diverse way of doing things which are undoubtedly beneficial to an organization. This is because the employees will be able to learn from each other and they eventually merge their ideas and insights, becoming a valuable asset to an organization.

Conflict resolution

Conflicts are inevitable in any work place set up. According to Fasset (2013), a work force that recognizes and accepts each other’s differences often finds useful similarities, particularly when there are common goals and objectives shared among themselves. Eventually, this reduces conflicts that may arise as a result of misunderstandings. Workplace diversity also sustains and upholds the quality of the employees’ relationships with their co-workers and their supervisors as well.

Enhanced business image

Cultural diversity and competency in the workplace is of significant importance to the organization because it eventually helps in creating a great and positive brand reputation for the company, leading to increased profit margins and opportunities for the workers. Ideally, the reputation of an organization will thrive when the business enterprise proves its dedication to embracing cultural diversity. Organizations known for their ethics, impartial employment practices and appreciation for diverse cultures are also largely able to pull a wide pool of proficient and skilled applicants to themselves (Fasset, 2013).

Lastly, cultural competency and diversity boosts and encourages inclusion, participation and the full contribution of all the employees to the goals of the enterprise. As a result, this boosts the morale of the employees since they feel their presence and contribution to the organization is being acknowledged and recognized.

Challenges to the implementation of cultural competency in an organization

While cultural competency has immense benefits, bringing in a completely diverse workplace presents its own challenges due to the different cultures merging together. Most employers are aware that diversity in the workplace is of key importance and for them to realize the benefits and to effectively manage culturally diverse teams; they need to be cognizant of the challenges. Some of these challenges include;

Communication challenges

Cultural barriers need to be overcome so as to effectively achieve cultural competency in an organization. Darawsheh & Chard (2015) explain that if effective communication is not achieved, the implementation of successful cultural competency becomes a challenge since ineffective communication of significant objectives leads to confusion, lack of teamwork and low morale among employees. This eventually leads to low productivity which in the end negatively affects the organization.

Resistance to change

The implementation and adoption of change is inevitable to any organization. However, with a culturally diverse team of employees, there will always be employees who will be on the forefront to resist the changes and refuse to accept the fact that the social and cultural conformation of their workplace is shifting. This unfortunately inhibits the growth and development of the organization.

Challenges in implementation of diversity in the workplace policies

This can be another overriding challenge to an organization that has embraced cultural competency and is trying to implement diversity policies in the work place. An organization should hence strive to build and device a personalized plan so as to maximize on the effects of diversity in the workplace.

Strategies to help in the effective implementation of cultural competency

Evidently, cultural competency in the workplace is important to running a successful organization since diverse groups are able to deliver better solutions to problems and also analyze situations more critically. As a result, an organization should always strive to put in strategies that promote cultural diversity and see to it that the implementation process is a success. Hence, an organization can promote cultural competency through;

Recognition

An organization and its management must be able to recognize that different people have different perceptions to the way of life and cultural differences are one of these differences. A business enterprise should hence celebrate the differences among its employees and encourage them to let their individualities show. This promotes peace among all the employees and despite their cultural differences; they all feel recognized and acknowledged.

Fairness and just treatment

Treating all the employees in a fair and just way also helps to effectively manage a culturally diverse team of employees as it also helps an organization to successfully manage the diversity in the workplace. For example, an organization should not schedule an important organizational meeting that happens to be on a religious public holiday as the employees who ascribe to that religious faith may feel offended and unrecognized which may breed hatred and resentment.

Encourage interaction

Incases when an organization has culturally diverse employees, it is of significant importance to encourage interaction among the employees. This way the employees are able to learn more about their colleagues and as a result a cordial working relationship is established.

Develop an understanding of diversity in the organization

Developing an understanding of each other’s culture makes all the employees from the different cultures feel recognized and appreciated, creating harmony and teamwork in a transformational team-building environment.

Communication

Communication is key and an organization should enhance communication to help in understanding the policies of the organization, especially those that talk of the organization’s diversity policies and rules (Koehl, 2016). Also, ensure that all the workers understand the company’s policies, procedures and other important information that pertains to embracing diversity. The organizational management should also work to overcome language and cultural barriers though communication.

Training

Training on cultural diversity assists an organization in allowing its workers to build and establish healthy working relationships, as well as decreasing work discrimination and discernment based on diverse orientations. Training also significantly turns employees into knowledgeable, satisfied and contented employees by decreasing non-work-related pressures (Koehl, 2016). Diversity training also enhances the quality of work put out by employees, in turn, increasing productivity

Steps in successful implementation

Create a cultural competency steering committee; since most business enterprises have a mono-cultural background, there is a risk that the analysis of the environment will be carried out in a constricting manner and the need to implement changes beheld in a narrow outlook. Diller (2013) asserts that in order to outrun these limitations, a diversity steering committee that consists of neutral and dedicated people with diverse backgrounds is of significant importance. The committee should strive to enhance and implement cultural competency in the organization.

Screen, evaluate and plan for the future; this should be carried out together with the top management of the organization in ensuring that cultural competency is achieved. An emphasis on the impacts, effects and benefits of embracing cultural diversity is evaluated at this point and this serves to prepare the organization for various alternatives. In the end, based on the evaluation carried out, plans to implement cultural competency are laid down and established.

Formulation of a vision and strategy; the next step should be to formulate a vision, mission and strategy from the scenario that the steering committee selects. Importantly, at this particular exercise, the committee should lay emphasis on the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for the organization originating from the scenario (Diller, 2013). In the end, the vision, mission and strategies can then be formulated on how cultural competency would be realized and achieved.

Carry out a cultural competency diversity audit; a diversity audit becomes a very useful tool in this case in helping to analyze the organization’s current situation. The cultural diversity audit can be carried out through questionnaires or interviews that will help to measure the employee’s attitude and perspectives towards adopting and embracing cultural diversity. According to Diller (2013), the results of the diversity audit should be taken up by the steering committee to present key findings that will help in the implementation process.

Defining the company’s goals; the steering committee should at this stage be able to clearly define the organization’s goals for the easier implementation of cultural diversity with the goals ensuring equal participation of all the organization’s departments and stakeholders.

Implementation; this becomes the final step where the steering committee plays a crucial role. At this stage, the committee oversees, steers and accompanies the various activities that have been discussed and makes sure that the implementation process is a success.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the global workplace is becoming increasingly diverse and it is only the organizations that will strive to adopt and embrace cultural competency that will remain relevant in the global markets. Cultural competence is becoming imperative and a significant factor in enabling organizations to remain effective as well as in helping them acquire a competitive advantage. Hence, it is through training and vigorous creation of awareness that organizations and employees will continue to see the need of this very key aspect that has become indispensable in the 21st century with the training designed to restructure attitudes, beliefs and practices in an organization.

References

Darawsheh, W., & Chard, G. (2015). The Challenge of Cultural Competency in the Multicultural 21st Century: A Conceptual Model to Guide Occupational Therapy Practice. The Open Journal of Occupational Therapy, 1-24.

Diller, J. V. (2013). Cultural Diversity: A Primer for the Human Services. Boston: Cengage Learning.

Fasset. (2013). Culture and Diversity in the Workplace. Training Manual, 1-54.

Koehl, C. (2016, October 14). Managing Diversity: 10 Steps To Multicultural Team Success. Retrieved November 08, 2017, from The Training Associates : https://trainingmag.com/managing-diversity-10-steps-multicultural-team-success

Roekel, D. V. (2014). Global Competence Is a 21st Century Imperative. National Education Association, 1-4.

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