WORKING IN A MULTICULTURAL ENVIRONMENT: WHY IT MATTERS
It’s hard to think of a non-multicultural work environment today, especially if you live in a metropolitan city. The mixture of different cultures, races, and religious practices is something we are all getting used to. Although some less progressive, conservative, or racist people out there might not be happy about it, immigration, globalization, and social mobility are favoring cultural enrichment in our Western societies.
In the fast-changing world we live in, multiculturalism is something we should appreciate. The more we try our best to deeply comprehend and embrace it, the more benefits will come from it. If we care about building a peaceful and including society, brilliant minds of the future need to get one thing straight: diversity is richness. Learning from others’ diversity is something that can potentially enable anyone to become a leader.
Your work place is a great place to start appreciating multiculturalism and practicing tolerance. Here are a few reasons why working in a multicultural environment is beneficial for you, your community, and your future prospects.
1. Different Perspectives
No matter what kind of field you work in, there is a high probability you will have to collaborate with your colleagues and share information, work on a team project, or come together with them to create new strategies. Everyone’s opinion counts and is somehow biased. Opinions derive from a complex mixture of a person’s skills, background, education, and perspective on an issue. A non-Western perspective might be fundamental to give additional character, creativity, and broad-mindedness to your team and your project.
Thinking out of the box is a key element that can help you and your co-workers create a more a progressive and dynamic working environment. In a multicultural environment, it is more likely that people will have more to contribute in terms of perspective, ideas, and viewpoints. You will find out how intellectual diversity can positively impact the outcome of your efforts.
2. Practice Tolerance
Although our society might seem politically correct on the surface, there is a lot of repressed hatred and mistrust towards those whose ethnicity, culture, religion, and traditions are different. As a white young woman living in a predominantly white country where diversity is only now expanding and taking up space, I do realize how hard it can be, sometimes, to connect and socialize with people who come from different cultural backgrounds.
Breaking the ice might be hard in the beginning but believe me when I say multicultural interactions and possible friendships are worth trying to engage in conversations! Working in a multicultural environment can facilitate the process of breaking the ice and creating new bonds. It’s the perfect place to start being more tolerant, and to practice tolerance on a daily basis. The more tolerant you become, the more confident you will feel towards alternative paths within your career and job aspirations.
3. Enlarge the Array of Your Customers/Clients/Audience
If your working environment is multicultural, it means that the company or institution you work for can potentially reach out to a greater amount of people. Cultural diversity in a company allows different clients and consumers to feel more comfortable, taken care of, and represented. Communication can be delicate when it comes to providing services or goods in a multicultural society. If the employers of a company are prepared to meet the needs of culturally diverse clients, the company itself might gain more legitimacy and success.
If your working environment is not multicultural enough... Start talking about the benefits of cultural diversity within the business world! Work hard to create a more ethical, representative, culturally inclusive working environment. It not only helps promoting cultural integration for all (something our society REALLY needs); it also allows you as an individual, employee, and future leader to open your mind and build a more comprehensive society.