Today we all live in an increasingly culturally diverse world. Each year thousands, if not millions, of people leave their homes to work abroad and almost every company no matter where you live, will employ people from other countries or cultures.
Sadly, not everyone has the skills in interacting with people from other cultures. In a company, bad interaction between cultures leads to loss of productivity and can have a very bad impact on company morale.
Let’s have a look at different types of cross-cultural training that exists to make sure that we can all get along in the work place:
Diversity training is not a new idea. Diversity trainers use their expertise in:
preparing organizations for increases in racial, ethnic, cultural, and gender diversity,
preparing employees for international work,
safeguarding against harassment and unfair employment lawsuits,
taking advantage of employee diversity to increase productivity,
conducting cultural audits,
managing sexual attraction in the workplace,
developing competencies needed to exploit the international marketplace.
Diversity training has existed for quite a while in some form or another, although different labels were used to refer to it. Perhaps the most globally shared label is cross-cultural training.
Race relations training and multicultural education are common labels used in the United States. As the labels suggest, diversity training aims to combat racism, sexism, exclusion, and ethnocentrism.
Diversity training aims to give individuals and companies a competitive edge in an increasingly global community. Diversity courses provide people with the skills they need to get the most out of interactions with people of a different race, gender, or nationality.
Multicultural training focuses on educating people to understand and appreciate cultural differences. Diversity training focuses on building community rather than pointing out how people are different.
Appreciation of differences is important, but it is not considered the highest priority competency. The abilities to make others comfortable and included are most important, no matter how much you know about their culture.
Cross-cultural training focuses on educating people to manage themselves in other countries or as a minority in another cultural group. Diversity training provides knowledge and skills to manage cultural differences that exist in one’s own country and in others.
Diversity also includes gender, sexual preference, religion, and other types of diversity that are not central in cross-cultural training.
Race relations training focuses on educating people to understand and appreciate racial differences, and helping different races get along. Race refers to skin color differences in the United States while Europeans tend to include nationality in their definition. American race relations trainers often assume that White American privilege is a central problem in addressing racism.
Diversity training includes race relations while addresses the general problem of dealing with people who are different. Institutional barriers are considered without placing blame on individuals.