What Is Cultural Competency and Why Does Your Workplace Need It?

March 16, 2021
Shutterstock
Shutterstock

Diversity in the workplace is important. But what’s equally if not even more important is ensuring all that employees, regardless of their culture, race, religion or gender, feel included, supported and valued. 

So how do today’s businesses successfully achieve the above? At professional services company AlphaSights, it starts with unconscious bias training for employees early in their tenure. Additionally, employees are encouraged to join one of their employee resource groups to help promote and celebrate cultural diversity across the firm. 

When there is a tangible lack of judgment, peer relationships thrive and the business benefits. 

“This mindset translates into the daily work our teams do because it allows us to hear different perspectives and generate new ideas to make our firm more successful as a whole,” DEI Recruiting Manager Erum Chaudhry said. 

 

Erum Chaudhry
DEI Recruiting Manager

What’s one step your team has taken to help employees improve their cultural competency?

Cultural competence is ingrained in daily life at AlphaSights. Our leaders encourage us to be active listeners, have empathetic and adaptable mindsets, and be open to different perspectives to create a safe space for dialogue and encourage discussion. These skills help us communicate and collaborate successfully within our teams and also with clients externally.

Conversations around diversity, equity and inclusion begin early in your tenure at AlphaSights with unconscious bias trainings. We always encourage employees to examine how they can contribute to building a highly inclusive culture at our firm.

By fostering an inclusive culture, our employees are able to bring their true, authentic selves to work each day.”

 

How does your company promote or celebrate cultural diversity in the workplace?

We have a variety of ERGs that promote and celebrate cultural diversity across the firm. The Asian Knowledge Inclusion Network (AKIN) provides a space for AS employees with similar cultural backgrounds and their allies to come together in workshops, roundtables, social mixers and other programming to celebrate their heritage. They’ve organized Diwali Celebrations, Boba Fridays and Filipino American History Month pop-ups. 

Pride is another ERG that cultivates a community for employees who identify as LGBTQIA+ and their allies. They’ve organized a Pride Day parade brunch, celebrated National Coming Out Day by distributing Pride flags to the New York office, and hosted panel discussions with LGBTQIA+ business executives.

 

How does cultural competence show up in the ways your employees communicate and relate with one another?

By fostering an inclusive culture, our employees are able to bring their true, authentic selves to work each day. Individuals are able to freely talk about their backgrounds and express opinions without feeling judged. Instead, they feel support and interest from their peers. Whether we’re in the office or now on a Zoom meeting, we frequently chat about weekend plans that might involve celebrating a traditional holiday or trying a new international cuisine. This mindset translates into the daily work our teams do because it allows us to hear different perspectives and generate new ideas to make our firm more successful as a whole.

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