In today’s diverse workplace, cultural difference training and people management performance are essential skills that every manager should possess. Multicultural work environments can either contribute to miscommunications and misunderstandings, or when properly understood, can be a competitive advantage to an organization. Not only is it important to be knowledgeable of your employees’ differences, but it is also important to understand how to motivate and manage a group. Employee performance is greatly dependent on motivation. Therefore in order to maintain a healthy, productive and profitable work environment, employees need to feel inspired and encouraged.
A person’s cultural background will impact how he or she behaves. At times, cultural differences will arise through subtle manifestations that are easy to miss and can often lead to misunderstandings and a decline in performance. It is important to learn about the cultural background and customs of each individual. However, in the process of learning about these differences, one should be aware of generalizations and treat each employee with respect. Rather than placing blame, managers should analyze situations with cultural awareness in mind, as certain circumstances can be interpreted differently. Once the issue is resolved, it is important to implement a process to prevent the mistake from happening again and make sure that all people involved are content with the outcome.
One common cultural barrier involves the female role in the workplace. In many cultures women are considered subordinate, or secondary to men. For example, women from various countries may not speak or make eye contact with their male counterparts. Those who are not aware of this cultural habit may find the lack of eye contact rude or disrespectful, when it really is just a differing of cultures. In addition to that, another common cultural barrier is personal space. For example, studies have shown that most Americans prefer to stand about five feet apart from others. However, those from countries such as Germany and Japan are more comfortable standing even further apart at a larger distance. Arabs and Latinos, however, tend to stand fewer feet apart. Understanding these differences will result in fewer miscommunications. When properly understood, cultural difference training can strengthen the group’s overall skills and competencies.
In addition to cultural difference training, it is also important to understand people management performance. A motivated workforce results in an efficient, productive and profitable organization. Motivation does not necessarily have to come from monetary compensation. A well-compensated employee is not always a happy employee. In order to motivate employees, managers must learn to recognize and acknowledge employees’ accomplishments. Take the time to coach your employees. Coaching allows your employees to grow and also communicates to them that you care. Discussing your employees’ career path is also essential because it allows employees to know what can potentially lie ahead for them. By building team spirit by scheduling offsite events, you can reinforce a positive work environment.
In today’s ever-growing multicultural workforce, managers need to understand their employees’ cultures. By doing so, they can better develop motivational tactics to maintain high productivity and employee satisfaction.