Five Crucial Reasons Why Businesses Cannot Ignore Inter-Cultural Competence

06 November 2017

With the current skills shortage in New Zealand, many companies would not fill vacancies if they did not recruit workers from overseas. But the recruitment side is only one part of the equation. As companies become more multi-cultural by nature, intercultural competence becomes more and more important.

Why? Because without it businesses may be losing time and money! 

Intercultural competence is the ability to communicate effectively and appropriately with people of other cultures, and it is has become crucial for businesses to be interculturally competent, as organisations become more and more multi-cultural by nature. 

Five Crucial Reasons: 

1. Culturally Adjusted People are More Engaged. People are more engaged and happy in their jobs if they feel culturally adjusted, and this in turn makes them more productive. Studies show that productivity goes up 31% and stress reduces by 23%, if employees are engaged and happy in their jobs*. An atmosphere of miscommunication and misunderstanding through a lack of intercultural competence can therefore have a direct impact on your bottom line! 

2. It May Help you Seal the Deal. Negotiating deals will be less effective if you are inadvertently offending people through deeply held cultural norms. It is important in business not to impose your views on others from your own frame of reference, otherwise you may lose potential clients. 

3. It Challenges our own Assumptions. Intercultural competence opens up our minds from our own personal frame of reference and challenges our assumptions that may impede our ability to understand each other and work together. Intercultural competence therefore establishes a framework for effective communication amongst employees, builds a culture of trust, which can lead to better teamwork that focuses on results, rather than differences. 

4. Happy families, Happy Hires. Employees recruited from overseas are far more settled if they have received training in intercultural competence and so too are their families. The major reason why international hires break contract is because the family has not settled well into their new host culture. Repeating the recruitment process sooner than expected can be a very expensive exercise for businesses. It is therefore essential that intercultural competency training is offered to international recruits and their families. 

5. The World is a Better Place! Ok, this might be perceived as a slight exaggeration, but think about it for a minute; many of the problems we see in the world right now are due to intercultural ignorance. By engaging in intercultural competency training, your company may just be doing its part in making the world a more open-minded and culturally tolerant world. Now that’s something to be proud of!

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