Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Cultural Competence

Welcome to Diversity Executive magazine’s Cultural Competency blog, where we will provide cutting-edge ideas, strategies and practices that will enhance your ability to transform your organization to a culturally competent one. As a community, we will need to share our challenges and best practices, so please ask questions and share ideas. This first entry lays out the business case for cultural competence as a key strategic issue for diversity and inclusion executives.

The geographically dispersed and culturally diverse workforce and marketplace is the new reality, requiring cultural competence for success. Today’s global businesses and organizations need culturally competent members and an environment that promotes mutual respect, global inclusiveness and creative collaboration to derive the most from their talent.

Cultural competence is a critical ingredient necessary for all functions and throughout all departments. Diversity and inclusion executives now have a great opportunity to align the strategic importance of their work with the increasing focus on global cultural competence.

Today’s diversity leaders must become advocates of cultural competence and build alliances with all leaders across the organization who support associates, vendors, markets and clients from diverse cultures. Ideally, the office of diversity and inclusion should be seen as the center of excellence for cultural competence in the organization. For example, in recognition of Lunar New Year, how did your organization recognize this holiday in communications to associates and others, and across the organization?

Please share your ideas about what you and your organization are doing to make cultural competence a strategic part of you D&I initiative. Also please send in your definition of cultural competence, sometimes also referred to as cultural intelligence. Our next blog entry will clarify what cultural competence is and provide some best practices.