It seems that mainstream society cares about cultural sensitivity now more than ever. The average millennial votes with their money every day and looks to support corporations that embody their ideals. In the age of increased public ownership of corporate entities, cultural sensitivity is important to maintain a positive reputation.
However, modern industries and corporations come from a long tradition of rewarding privilege. For instance, even modern medicine tends to be a man’s world, though its supposedly an industry built on helping all people. But with the tide beginning to turn on a major scale, cultural awareness is becoming crucial to survival as a business.
The standard ways of conducting business in the past suppressed the marginalized, and now these methods are less accepted. Cultural sensitivity and embracing diversity are crucial to a business’s longevity. Potential stakeholders, especially those who are younger, are more likely to latch onto a business when they support the same ideals. However, for a business to truly benefit from cultural sensitivity, it must do so with sincerity. This can be done through policy, leadership, and building a sensitive work environment.
Enacting Culturally Aware Policy
The melding of different cultural values sparks innovation, and it is vital for Europe’s international market competitiveness. Culturally aware workplace environments are able to propel their ideas to a much wider audience with the Digital Single Market.
Of course, the Digital Single Market has not been without its legal complications — but when the bugs are worked out, businesses will be able to operate on a continental level, rather than a national one. In theory, if a company’s purpose and mindset are ethical, then its popularity will grow, parallelling this technological shift.
However, the policy is still not enough without authentic action within an organization. As the old saying goes, “what goes in, must come out.” If an organization continues to maintain practices that neglect marginalized communities, then it could damage its own reputation.
Hiring Emotionally Intelligent Leaders
A crucial part of a business’s ability to embrace cultural sensitivity is its capacity for empathy. In the past, corporations had an attitude of “business is business.” This left leaders calloused to the personal needs of their employees.
But what we’ve found is that cultural intelligence and emotional intelligence go hand in hand. They both require leaders that listen to employees and work to make people feel welcome. These leaders are in control of their own emotions and can navigate a diverse work environment.
Employers should, therefore, be mindful of qualities that make someone emotionally intelligent. There are a number of resume points that could indicate this, including:
- A history of altruism
- An ENFJ Myers–Briggs Type Indicator result
- Leadership experience
- Being socially active
A leader with these qualities is more likely to help employees thrive on an individual basis. This will, in turn, contribute to organizational success and a similar attitude on a larger level.
Building a Safe Culture and Future
In order to build a company that is culturally aware, it’s important to utilize the resources that are available. If done correctly, this will result in a business environment that makes people feel comfortable. Potential stakeholders will likely take notice and want to get involved.
Working to ensure that employees and leaders have access to mental health resources is a way to create a safe environment for all. It fosters trust for an organization and encourages people to treat each other better. For instance, some companies choose to offer yoga or meditation classes to staff — the latter of which is known to reduce stress and increase emotional IQ. Others go as far as to provide on-site counseling or hiring officials that can implement programs that raise mental health awareness.
In the future, technological transformations may contribute to cultural awareness as well. As new generations enter the workforce, they will have been raised with greater interconnectedness than the generations before them. Because of this, they will know each other on a more personal level and be able to build safer work environments. Stakeholders will find this invaluable. The importance of emotional intelligence cannot be understated, and changes in policy and leadership may be necessary to ensure that these objectives are carried out.