The only constant thing is the world is change and differences. Two people will never be the same, regardless of their backgrounds. Cultural differences are defined as the variety of experiences and perspectives. These variations are brought on by differences in race, culture, age, gender, religion, abilities, sexual orientation, heritage and different identities.
When we talk about cultural differences in the workplace, people tend to mostly think about racial differences. For about the last twenty years the focus in South Africa was put on giving different races a fair chance. The way in which people started to think when talking about diversity started to shift away from other differences and focused on racial diversity.
What the owner of a business today should focus on is to shift away from focusing solely on the difference in race. They should focus on some of the, sometimes overlooked, issues that can cause conflict in the workplace. With the cultural differences that South Africa has, it is important to recognize all the differences. Always remember that when you incorporate different people in your business, your chances of having clients from different backgrounds will also increase.
Managing cultural differences means that you are accepting and acknowledging people’s differences within the workplace. As soon as you see these differences as an advantage to your business, it automatically serves as a prevention of discrimination. As the leader of a group of people you should always work towards the goal to pass that quality over to the people that work for you.
As mentioned earlier, there are major advantages to having a diverse people in your business. Some clients might look at a business that does not have, or barely have diversity. They might decide on another business just because they have more cultural differences. Some clients might find some products or services also more appealing if they see someone with the same background as them, working for the supplying company.
Advantages of diversity
People with different backgrounds can supply a greater variety of solutions to problems. They can also bring new and initiative ideas to the table. Diversity also allows for easier adapting to customer demands and fluctuating markets. Different people also have a collection of diverse experiences and skills, like languages and cultural understanding. This will allow the company to deliver their products or services on a global basis.
With a larger pool of ideas, there is a better chance to find a more suitable and effective solution for business strategies and problems. This will also lead to a higher level of customer satisfaction. When a company encourages diversity in the workplace, all the employees will feel more comfortable and accepted in their career. This will lead to higher productivity, meaning higher profits.
Challenges with diversity
In the beginning communication might be a problem. A communication gap can result in confusion that might lead to conflict when there is not yet a mutual understanding established. Some employees might also be resistant towards cultural differences. This can lead to some brilliant ideas going to waste and to slower growth in the business.
These challenges can also be overcome. Employees that are resistant to cultural differences in the workplace should be included in the activities of the workplace. These people should also have a say when diversity plans and policies are drawn up. Research can also be done to deal with the gap in communication. It is always good to know what different cultures find offensive.
When cultural differences are managed well enough, it can be one of the best things that could have happened to your businesses. Remember that each person, including you, wants to be treated well. Be thoughtful towards other people and they will be thoughtful towards you.
If you are just starting out and want a company where you can create cultural differences, let us help you.