Cultural Sensitivity and Awareness in A Diverse Workplace

March 05, 2019 0 Comments

By Dr. Paul L. Gerhardt, PhD In a 21st century workplace, you will find people of every race, profession, gender, and identity. Therefore it is important to mind how you behave around such a global culture, to mind your speech and actions so that no person is intentionally or unintentionally hurt. Creating a culturally diverse workplace is important for a multitude of reasons. Firstly, the employer can bring into his office a wide range of thoughts and ideas which will lead to further innovation. People who grew up in entirely different backgrounds have different experiences and can thus communicate in new ways to perfect a simple idea; it is important to make them feel welcomed so that they can freely express their thoughts and opinions like the other workers. Cultural sensitivity is possessing the knowledge that there are many different cultures at a place, which vary upon race, nationality etc. and that there are also a variety of opinions and outlooks; being sensitive entails accepting these differences among people and working alongside them without the “my culture is better” mindset. There are many ways by which we can create a culturally sensitive and aware workplace. Some of these are outlined below: 1. Educate your workforce: This is the first and foremost step in increasing the cultural sensitivity of an organization. Your workforce should be taught cultural knowledge from all over the world as a part of their training in order to become more accepting. However, before that make yourself culturally knowledgeable. Go through books, stories, and the internet to find out information and encourage your employees to do the same too. Workshops can be held keeping this at their focus and people will gradually begin to realize its importance. 2. Promote discussion and teamwork: Encourage your employees to talk to each other and mingle. The workforce should get to know itself and familiarize with the people they are working with. Make it clear from the start that if anyone is facing any problems, they can come to you for help. When your employees realize that your doors are always open to solve cultural issues, they will express their opinions and issues will be resolved quicker. An organization runs upon teamwork. Therefore, switch around your workforce into different teams and give them the opportunity to work together and get acquainted with different cultured people for themselves. 3. Celebrate diversity with your workforce: What better way to encourage cultural sensitivity than celebrating different cultures themselves? Many events occur throughout the whole year: Muslims celebrate Eid, Christians Christmas, Hindus Holi and much more. Give people days off on their religious and cultural holidays. You can even plan a little office celebration yourself! For example, Holi is a celebration where people of the Hindu religion have an incredible time playing with powdered colors… why not plan something fun for the employees to celebrate it? A tiny basket of eggs at Easter, a simple email wishing everyone a merry Christmas or an Eid Mubarak – all of these actions will promote acceptance and cultural sensitivity in your workforce. The importance of cultural sensitivity in the workplace is profound and cannot be ignored. Leaders should take the necessary steps in order to promote it in themselves and their employees. Please like and share if you agree! Dr. Paul Gerhardt is a tenured professor of management. He is a diversity and leadership well-respected and trusted trainer who helps organizations get amazing returns on investment. Dr. Gerhardt is the author of several publications available on, including Diversity at Work, The Diversity King; Leadership Lucy and the new upcoming Leadership Handbook. Consider inviting Dr. Paul Gerhardt to do customized leadership or diversity training at your organization. Most organizations find that diversity and leadership training by the right trainer yields a significant instant return on investment. You can get your FREE COPY of the Leadership Handbook by clicking this link:


Some say he’s half man half fish, others say he’s more of a seventy/thirty split. Either way he’s a fishy bastard.