Promoting Cross-Cultural Communication of Opportunities within Your Department
Cross-Cultural Communication is the process of recognizing both differences and similarities among cultural groups in order to effectively engage within a given context. Practicing cross-cultural communication is an important way to avoid misunderstandings. A pinnacle part of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in the workplace is ensuring all members of the organization are aware of opportunities available, whether that be vacant positions, professional development training, mentorship, networking, or anything else that may be a path forward for an individual. Something important to remember is that not everyone communicates or responds to communications in the same way. Different generational preferences, cultural experiences, operational visibility, level of understanding due to language barriers, and more — all can play a factor in effectiveness of communication.
When opportunities arise in your department, it is important to ensure cross-cultural communication and use different methods of communication to ensure equitability and equal access. For example, if there is a vacant position in the department, be sure to communicate it to the entire department via email, post flyers about the vacancy for those who do not access computers on a regular basis, utilize departmental newsletters or other forms of formal communication, and talk about it during team meetings,1:1s, and impromptu conversation.
Things to remember when practicing in-person cross-cultural communication:
- Not everyone is well educated in professionalism—Professional etiquette is a learned skill and not everyone has access to this knowledge, be patient, practice active listening, coach or talk to an individual’s supervisor about coaching in professionalism.Lead by example and maintain professional etiquette and, as often as possible, in cultural context.
- Diversity fuels creativity—When a person feels they can be their whole selves at work they can bring new ideas that may call for departmental agility/flexibility.
- Be open to new ideas, learning, and understanding—Everyone’s cultural intelligence is at different levels for different groups, being open-minded allows people to feel seen and heard.
- Simplicity is powerful—Keeping things simple can increase the effectiveness of communication and decrease the likeliness of misunderstandings.
- Repeat what you have said back to ensure understanding—Repeating for clarity can help combat confusion and open up further dialogue if needed.