Turn Setbacks into Setups
Culture Clash In The Workplace
April 26, 2019
Having the opportunity to live and work in a foreign country is one that can be both exciting and daunting. It’s hard enough being the new face in the office and even harder being the new face in an office where you’re also may not be entirely familiar with the culture.
Getting ahead of any potential problems cultural differences may bring and treating them as educational moments will help both parties feel comfortable in working with each other and will provide a comforting work environment.
Remember this will not likely be a completely seamless transition and it may take some time for everyone in the office to feel comfortable with each other. Exercise patience throughout the process and lead by example. Employees will take note of your leadership and also remember to be patient with each other as they adjust to their differences and develop ways to better work with each other in spite of their cultural dissimilarities.
It’s very easy to get caught up in the little nuances of culture and forget that foreigners may not necessarily be privy to those cultural quirks. Conversely, their cultural quirks may not make sense to their new coworkers either. Practice being more straight-forward and presenting your thoughts and ideas in a concise way that’s easy for anyone to digest. Avoid using too much slang. This is especially important if there are international members on the team that aren’t fluent in the native tongue of the office. The best way to avoid any potential mix-ups or misunderstandings is to be as thorough as possible and make sure the ask is clear.
Another way to avoid cultural clashes in the office space is to bring everyone together and make them aware of their differences while helping them understand how they can utilize those differences for good. Clashes often stem from misunderstandings and simply bringing people together in a meaningful and nonjudgmental way can help eliminate some of the prejudices that employees may carry against one another. Being welcoming to new hires is extremely important to new foreign employees as they will be looking at the general office vibe to determine how they fit in and how they should work with their colleagues.
Finally, be respectful and recognize that international employees may not always understand their coworkers and their coworkers may not always understand them. Create an environment cemented in respect for one another even when an employee is different. Working to mitigate cultural issues peacefully and respectfully will make foreign coworkers feel welcomed in the workspace and will allow for a peaceful transition for foreign workers into the office space.
Bringing in international employees is a great way to bring in new perspectives and ideas all while making a company more culturally sensitive. Embrace the change within the office and see how the company, as well as employees, thrive with the new energy. Most importantly, don’t forget that there will be cultural clashes, but anticipating and being prepared to take them on will make the transition process seamless and positive for everyone.