What is cultural competence?
“Cultural competence” brings together the concepts of diversity, equity, and inclusion — and adds operational effectiveness.
A culturally competent organization has the capacity to bring into its system many different behaviors, attitudes, and policies and work effectively in cross-cultural settings, producing beneficial outcomes.
Cultural Competence Outcomes That Benefit the Workplace
- Better team and organizational performance—Culturally competent communication is critical in all aspects of service delivery. It can break down barriers, improve access to services and support better health outcomes for clients and employees.
- Tangible results for your investment. Cultural competency is a deep dive for organizations. It is being committed to best practices, not just awareness.
- Flexible systems and skills. The practices and systems you put in place work across various identity factors and cultural differences. Cultural competency is about leveraging differences in a healthy way.
- More harmonious teams. Cultural competency reduces the “Us versus Them” mindset that seeps into the typical DEI training. We all have something we bring to the table. DEI is for everyone.
- Enhanced communication and leadership capacity. Culturally competent teams not only have better attitudes, but they have better people skills. Culturally competent communication strategies allow them to communicate effectively across differences and get the most from each teammate.
Why do attitudes matter in leading diverse teams?
Our values and beliefs reflect how receptive we are to opposing viewpoints. Whether or not we belong to an underrepresented group, the more strongly held opinions we have, the more likely we will become upset when we encounter cultural differences. Systemic inequalities are caused partly by the different levels of exposure to oppression and prejudice.
Why do workplace skills matter in leading diverse teams?
Without the ability to manage differences well, one can be aware of cultural differences, have a wealth of knowledge about them, and even have a positive attitude about them. We must acquire and hone practical workplace skills to prevent prejudice and the negative impact of implicit bias.
Looking to implement DEI initiatives at work? Interested in ensuring your teams have a cultural competent work environment. Here is a list of resources to get you on the right path.
Join the Waypoint Community: A Place for Navigating DEI in the Workplace.
The journey to cultural competency is a long one. This online community is a stopping place for practitioners and those who want to enhance their skills. It is a waypoint for those seeking real change through the DEI process.
A waypoint is an intermediate point or place on a route or line of travel, a stopping point or point at which the course is changed.
Watch “The Value of Promoting Cultural Competency in the Workplace”
Buy DEI Deconstructed
Lily Zheng’s book DEI Deconstructed: Your No-Nonsense Guide to Doing the Work and Doing It Right is an excellent resource for organizations finding their way through cultural competence.