Best practice guidelines for developing cross-cultural competence in organizations

Cross-cultural competence or cross-cultural intelligence is the ability to effectively interact with other cultures. It is an essential requirement for anybody working in an international environment. Becoming cross-culturally competent is a process, which starts with developing cultural self-awareness, continues with learning about other cultures, and culminates in being able to build bridges between cultural differences. The following are best practice guidelines as to how organizations can develop their people's cross-cultural competence.

Best practice guidelines

1) Developing self-awareness and raising general awareness of different cultures

  • Complete assessments to measure employees' cultural awareness and orientation
  • The Global Mindset Inventory: An assessment of openness and general cross-cultural competence
  • Globesmart: A web-based assessment of cultural orientation
  • Globesmart Team Assessment: An online assessment of multicultural teams' effectiveness
  • Include information about national cultures as part of the new employee induction program

2) Creating exposure to different cultures

  • Send employees on short- and long-term international assignments
  • Send employees to international conferences and meetings
  • Assign emerging leaders to multinational teams
  • Organize cross-cultural team building events

3) Helping individuals learn about other cultures and creating best practices for building cultural bridges

  • Make expatriate relocation programs mandatory
  • Offer regular 'Working effectively across cultures' programs for all employees interacting with different nationalities
  • Offer 'Working effectively in multicultural virtual teams' programs 2-3 times a year, and rotate all employees working virtually through this program
  • Introduce cross-cultural coaching and mentoring
  • Gain access to a database of cultural information about different countries of the world
  • Let people know about free apps available on cultures

4) Creating support for embracing cross-cultural diversity and competence

  • Establish a social network of 'cultural ambassadors' in different parts of the organization
  • Arrange competitions, hand out 'cultural awards' for initiatives that help different cultures working together, then follow through and execute these initiatives

Potential quick wins for leveraging cultural diversity

Potential quick results may be achieved by identifying international projects, expatriates, and/or international virtual team leaders who seem to have challenges with getting things done across cultures. Individuals who have first-hand experience with cultural diversity's challenges are the most likely to be receptive to the concept of developing cross-cultural competence.

Written by Zsuzsanna Tungli, PhD.


0 #1 profile 2018-11-02 16:28
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