Why Is Intercultural Communication Important in the Workplace?

by Stephanie Faris - Updated June 27, 2018
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The U.S. workplace has come a long way since the 1950s, when more than 60 percent of the workforce was white and male. Today’s office is generally filled with a diverse group of people, each with a unique background and set of life experiences. Whether it’s honoring everyone’s religious beliefs while celebrating holidays or learning to communicate in other languages, any forward-thinking business must consider inclusion as an important part of daily operations. In doing so, you’ll create a better work culture that attracts the best talent, while also impressing customers and broadening your horizons.

Setting the Right Culture

A positive company culture has been linked to everything from increased productivity to reduced turnover. By creating a diverse staff made up of employees who can easily communicate with each other, your entire business will benefit. But multicultural workplaces face ongoing challenges as workers who are unfamiliar with each other’s cultures try to work together. Businesses that invest in programs that help diverse teams better communicate with each other are likely to see that investment pay off.

Winning Top Talent

Recruiting has become a serious problem for many employers, who reveal that they are having difficulty finding skilled workers. The more specialized the worker needed, the more likely you are to spend weeks interviewing candidates, only to come up empty-handed. Creating a workspace where those from other cultures feel welcome makes it more likely you’ll attract other workers. Today’s candidates spend time researching a company before applying for a job, including looking up your leadership team and reading reviews on sites like Glassdoor. Failure to encourage intercultural communication will catch up with you eventually.

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Getting New Customers

Job candidates aren’t the only ones who pay close attention to your company culture. Many clients look at the people behind the organizations they work with, whether you’re B2B or you own a business that caters to the general buying public. Having a diverse team also means you’ll be able to expand your reach to audiences you might not have won otherwise. This is especially true if you have employees who speak multiple languages and can communicate with those customers.

Go Beyond Your Bubble

One of the biggest problems with the 1950s workforce was that nobody was around to speak for female and minority populations. Businesses that created products geared toward women and minorities had no minds on board to help with things like product development and marketing campaigns. Diverse teams keep you from operating in a bubble, where all of your ideas come only from people who share the same backgrounds and views on things. Intercultural communication helps open your work environment to a mix of ideas that can push your business to the next level.

About the Author

Stephanie Faris is a novelist and business writer whose work has appeared on numerous small business blogs, including Zappos, GoDaddy, 99Designs, and the Intuit Small Business Blog.

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