Your Organization Can’t Afford Cultural Insensitivity

Inaction speaks loudly.

Man in business suit sitting outside at a picnic table with his hands on his forehead. Intercultural training can prevent cultural insensitivity in the workplace.

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Six in 10 U.S. employees say they will not work for or have left an organization that fails to speak out against racial injustice.

60% of U.S. respondents to a poll by the Edelman Trust Barometer say that brands should take a stand on racial injustice.

In short, companies that don’t prioritize cultural inclusivity will lose out on qualified employees and potential customers. Is that a risk you’re willing to take? 

If you answered “no,” then you’re not alone. According to the same study by Edelman Trust, 62% of CEOs reported that they are uncomfortable discussing race and racial issues with people of other races because they’re worried that they’ll accidentally say something racist. It’s time to change that. 

With the decrease in people relocating for jobs due to the increase in remote work – only 1.6% of people moved for work this year compared to nearly 7.8% in 2018 – hiring for and managing a remote and global workforce is now the norm. Assuming hiring managers, HR leaders, and even executives will only hire American, English-speaking candidates is outdated and shortsighted. Assuming that your ideal customers and prospects are American and English-speaking is also obsolete because of eradicating business borders. 

If you find yourself in the camp of “I’m not dealing with this because I don’t want to say the wrong thing,” you’re in the right place. Here’s how you can bring racial and cultural diversity to your organization in a respectful, educational, and even fun way. 

1)    You must offer language learning to your entire organization, not just the C-Suite. Language tutoring tailored to business outcomes means your team can speak to anyone about anything, whether a sales call, onboarding new employees, or even marketing to potential customers. Addressing that your workforce, clients, and prospects probably don’t speak English as their first language means being able to fix the problem through language lessons, either by 1-1 or group tutoring with a teacher who could be anywhere in the world. 
2)    Prioritize cultural intelligence. The first step to doing better is knowing better; to do that, everyone in your organization must have access to intercultural training. Global LT offers language and cultural experiences that not only reinforce language learning but introduce cultural norms in places outside of the US. Taught by native speakers in the target language of the organization’s choosing, employees who participate in cultural experiences get a real-world sense of how other cultures handle business problems, speak during meetings, or even draft an email. Faux pas becomes a thing of the past when everyone is equipped with proper training. 
3)    Lean on data to make human capital management decisions. Imagine how much more equitable the hiring and promotional process would be if leaders had insight into what languages their workforce and prospective customers speak. Knowing who can be pulled into multinational conversations means giving everyone a level playing field during hiring decisions. 

In today’s world, punting the language and culture training conversation to only human resources is unacceptable. It’s not just an L&D problem. Meaningful change must come from the top down, and CEOs and leaders worldwide must take action to show their workforce that they’re dedicated to language and cultural learning, as well as their clients and prospects. The world is watching. 

Let's chat if you’re ready to take the first step in bridging the cultural gap at your organization. We’d love to show you how easy it is to enroll your workforce in language classes. 

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