Diversity & Cultural Competence at Work

How you think about and behave toward people from different age, sexual orientation, physical ability, economic, religion, ethnic and other groups affects your job and how well you work with others.

Workers who do not respect people who are different from them, or do not treat all customers and coworkers politely are not likely to advance in their careers.

All employees in all types of jobs need cultural competence. Diversity and inclusion is not only an issue for People of Color or other underrepresented individuals.

Cultural competence is the awareness of one’s own cultural identities, your thoughts about diversity and inclusion, and your willingness to about and get to know people from other cultures and communities.

Cultural competency includes challenging yourself to be anti-racist. It also includes:

  • identifying your intersectionality and respecting other’s identities;
  • exploring your own biases, fear and knowledge about people with religious and spiritual beliefs that differ from yours;
  • understanding of various mental and physical disabilities;
  • comfort with interacting with people of different age groups and of different body sizes;
  • awareness of your feelings about the multiple identities included in the lesbian, gay bisexual, transgender, queer, intersexed, agender, asexual, and ally community (LGBTQIA+);
  • and examining your thoughts and feelings about people in other marginalized and oppressed communities. 

Businesses have partners or customers all over the world. They want employees at all levels who understand how the global economy affects their jobs. Employers also want to work with people who represent and are comfortable with the various cultural groups in their local communities.

Cultural competency is needed for good teamwork. Teamwork is an Employability Skill that all types of workers need.



How to Increase Your Cultural Competence

  • Know your own cultural identities
  • Recognize your own stereotypes and biases
  • Build awareness of effects of biases on others
  • Learn about other demographic or cultural groups
  • Be aware of other’s views and experiences
  • Know differences in communication styles and manners
  • Identify a cultural mentor for a specific group you want to learn about