Cultural Competency doesn’t mean that you have to automatically understand the way other people feel. What it does mean, however, is that you should proactively seek to understand backgrounds that look different from yours.
Essentially, cultural competency calls on your ability to appreciate and serve the sensibilities of different people to shift with the changes in society
In times when your knowledge falls short, cultural competency also means being open to critique. When someone tells you that a term, phrase, or treatment is offensive to them, listen and change.
In addition to cultural competence, equity – or, the act of fostering fairness for each individual – is critical. Issues of equity can pop up in several settings in the workplace but some of the most common ones include:
Compensation – Are employees paid according to skill and experience exclusively?
Benefits – This includes things like health benefits as well as other workplace perks like company outings and social get-togethers.
Promotion Potential and Realization – Do promotions happen more frequently for people within a single demographic of your organization?
Interactions – This could include the way you speak with different members of your team and how you interact with them on a day-to-day basis.
Representation – An array of different factors goes into the demographics of your office. In general, it’s important to inspect how closely your demographics align with the city around you and the industry you’re in.
In addition to the altruistic component, cultural competency has a wide range of benefits for businesses. From legal concerns (many groups have laws protecting them) to employment and social issues, not keeping up with the times is (rightfully) bad for business.
By and large, companies want their employees to feel welcome and happy in their job. This is the best way to do that.
Next week, we’ll cover ways to improve your cultural competency.
Don’t want to wait until then?
Reach out to connect with me. and I’ll be happy to discuss ways that I can help you improve openness in the workplace!