What is your cultural IQ?

A rising number of business leaders are concerned about a disconnect between the culture of the workplace and the diverse cultural backgrounds of employees. Unfortunately, this disconnect can lead to a lack of synergy and even contempt when employees feel without a voice in the company.

At best, complicated intersections of multiple cultures coupled with an absence of real dialogue about diverse backgrounds results in walking on-egg-shells around cultural issues or insensitive lunchroom banter that can erode company culture. At worst, it can cost your company in high turnover and missed revenue opportunities, for example:

‘She was constantly belittling me in front of other employees, mocking my accent, and questioning my motivations…. Many of the employees, including other managers, had left the company or transferred to a different store because of the new manager’s lack of understanding on how to treat employees from various cultural backgrounds… the more I heard about her treatment of others, the more I felt she needed help in being a good manager and relating to other employees.’

For more information on Sam’s story:
http://nchra.site-ym.com/blogpost/1236132/213236/HR-Management-and-Cultural-Diversity-in-the-Workplace

In a study of women of color in science done at UC Hastings College of Law, 100% of the sixty women scientists interviewed reported gender and racial bias. Nearly half of the Black and Latina scientists reported they had been mistaken for administrative or custodial staff, and the majority of Black, Latina, and Asian-American women stated they felt compelled to provide more proof to co-workers that they were as competent as their male peers.

For more information on this study:

http://fortune.com/2014/10/02/women-leave-tech-culture/

The law suit alleges that the company’s employees and founders created a hostile work environment in which sexual harassment, gender discrimination, and retaliation occurred on a regular basis….The former Director claims that the office environment was a “boy’s club” that employees expressly referred to as a “boy’s club.”

For more information on this lawsuit:

http://gizmodo.com/lawsuit-vr-company-had-a-kink-room-pressured-female-e-1795243868

Lacking sensitivity about cultural intersections in areas of management, PR, company culture and HR can lead to blunders that cause stagnation and alienation within the workplace and structural collapse of otherwise well thought out business ventures.

In our rapidly globalized business world cultural differences have become accentuated and unfortunately in many situations the workplace climate is entrenched in monocultural practices. The question is, will the belief that ‘our way is the right way’ halt the evolution of increasingly diverse workplaces or will company culture adapt to the diverse intersections of their employees? 

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